Handmade in Alberta
What does it mean to be a craftsman? While the life of the artist or designer may be glamorized or scorned, depending on who you talk to, the truth is that creatives are people just like you. They get up early to open their workshop. They work hard to perfect the objects and skills that they bring into this world. They take pride in what they do, and aspire to do better each day. Many of them work late into the night, and finish the day exhausted. They have hopes, dreams, and bills to pay.
Handmade in Alberta means more than assembled in a particular geographic location. It taps into a spirit that is unlike any other. Alberta is a land of great diversity, in both landscape and people. We are proud, strong, and hardworking. We are farmers, entrepreneurs, and oil patch workers. We are white collar and blue collar. We believe in a higher standard, for ourselves and our work.
From the designer:
What happened to the dreams of tomorrow? Once upon a time we believed that the future was a bright and happy place full of discovery and wonder. A future of jetpacks, flying cars, and rocket ships. We could build anything and go anywhere, and no matter what, it way always shiny. Now it seems, more and more frequently, that the only view of the future is one of cataclysm and ruin. All we can picture is destruction of the things we have now. You can have whatever kind of future you want, so long as it comes in a shade of grey or brown. If I believed that, would I be trying to make a living as a designer?
My aesthetic is one that blends time together; informed by the past, decidedly modern, with enthusiasm for what the future may hold. I've heard it called Hyper-modernism, I've heard it called Retro-futurism, but no matter what others call it, I like to call it optimism. I design with functionality in mind first and foremost. I choose my materials carefully, only selecting those will stand the test of time. For this reason, titanium is my metal for choice. Lightweight, stronger than steel, hypoallergenic, and able to be coloured, titanium is the perfect blend of utility and aesthetics. It's also considered by many to be a space-age metal, a title that I like for obvious reasons. I want to make objects that will last for many years to come, perhaps even through generations. Quality and honesty are very important to me. They are two of the core values I was raised on.
I come from a small farm in the prairies of rural Alberta. I've learned from my family that with hard work and patience, the future can be whatever you make it. Throughout history, designers and artists have often been the heralds of change. By living with one foot in reality, and the other in a dream, they have placed themselves in a unique position to influence the world around them. I became a designer so that I could literally make my future. I want things to be bright, amazing, and yes... shiny. I will do my part to bring my vision to life, one design at a time.
Don't just do. Do Better.
- Malcolm Stielow
Malcolm Stielow is a promising young designer, jeweller, and creative. His work is often characterized by innovation in design and truth in materials. This auspicious artist is certainly one to watch going into the future. After his graduation from the Alberta College of Art + Design, he struck out on his own to prove that craft, craftsmanship, and the idea of the "designer original" are not dead concepts of a bygone era. Today, he works out of a modest shop on the family farm near Josephburg, Alberta