Craft Futures

Craft Futures will connect a group of artists from the Textile Museum of Canada’s WILD exhibition with OCAD University students and recent graduates to participate in one-on-one conversations and on-campus studio visits, offering an platform for direct engagement, relationship building, mentorship and focused conversation.

Craft Futures

Image of brightly coloured crocheted person lying against chair
Wednesday, January 22, 2020 - 6:00pm to Thursday, January 23, 2020 - 6:00pm

Craft Futures Word and grid logo

Craft Futures will connect a group of artists from the Textile Museum of Canada’s Wild exhibition with OCAD University students and recent graduates to participate in one-on-one conversations and on-campus studio visits, offering an platform for direct engagement, relationship building, mentorship and focused conversation.

This two-day event will present opportunities for Carrie Allison, Omar Badrin and Emily Jan to share their practices, highlighting their unique approaches as critically engaged craft practitioners and investing in the next generation of the craft-based artists. A panel discussion moderated by Wild curator Farah Yusuf at the Textile Museum of Canada auditorium (55 Centre Ave.) kicks off the series on January 22. Each artist will have an opportunity to share their work, focusing on their respective uses of craft practices in beadwork, crochet, and felting to challenge thinking about culture, identity, and the environment. In the afternoon of the second day, the artists will be available for one-on-one conversations at the CEAD. In the evening, all three artists will present a free public talk at the OCAD U Rosalie Sharp Pavilion (115 McCaul St.), each sharing their journey as an emerging craft practitioner and how their practice developed during and after art school. They will consider topics such as studio residencies, grants and awards, advanced education, apprenticeships, collaboration, exhibition opportunities and other aspects of their professional practice.

This program is generously supported by the Jean A. Chalmers Fund for the Crafts.

Day 1
January 22, 2020
6:00 – 7:30 PM | Panel discusson 
Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Ave
$20; members $15, $10 students

Day 2
January 23, 2020
2:30 – 4:30 PM | One-on-one with artists | Registration required*
5:00 – 6:00 PM | Free Public talk | Open to all
OCAD University Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers (CEAD), Level 3, 115 McCaul St.
*Registration will open in January 2020 on the OCAD U Talent Network (under "Events & Advising", "Workshops & Advising") . Spots are reserved for current OCAD U students and recent grads (up to 5 years out).



Carrie Allison is an Indigenous mixed-race visual artist born and raised in unceded and unsurrendered Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver, BC). Using beadwork, Allison reclaims and reconnects with her maternal Cree and Metis ancestry. Her work recreates and honours elements of her environment and culture, creating spaces to consider intergenerational cultural loss and acts of resilience. Residencies include Eyelevel's Y'Level in collaboration with the Museum of Natural History and NSCAD Community Residency. Allison was also the recipient of the 2018 Centre for Art Tapes Media Arts Scholarship and a 2017 SSH RC Graduate Scholarship.

Omar Badrin is an interdisciplinary artist who explores his identity through crocheting sculptural portraits with fishing twine and flagging tape. Badrin was born in Malaysia, but grew up in Newfoundland where he was a visual minority. The techniques and materials he uses to explore cultural identity refer to traditional crafts of Newfoundland. Badrin has received numerous grants from the Toronto, Ontario, and Canada Arts Councils and was the Medal and President Graduate Award Winner in the OCAD U Interdisciplinary Masters in Art Media and Design program (2015).

Emily Jan uses wool, reed, cloth, silicone and resin to craft hyper-realistic installations inhabited by handmade and found flora and fauna. The craftsmanship and detail in Jan's textile and sculptural installations helps tb inspire audiences to consider their relationship to nature in this age of mass extinctions and climate change. Jan is a 2017 Fiber Art Now Excellence in Fibers Awardee and a 2016 Fiberarts International Triennial People's Choice Award winner, and was an invited artist at the Artscape Gibraltar Point Residency.



115 McCaul St is located at the corner of Dundas St and McCaul St on the southeast side. All levels of the building can be accessed via elevator or stairs. The building is wheelchair accessible. There are electronic height adjustable tables on level 3. There are gendered washrooms on level 3 and gender-neutral private washrooms on levels 1 & 2.


Venue & Address: 
Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Ave OCAD U Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers, Level 3, 115 McCaul St

Omar Badrin (MFA '15) wins a 2017 Melissa Levin Emerging Artist Award

In My Skin, image courtesy of the artist
Saturday, April 21, 2018

Omar Badrin, alumnus from the Interdisciplinary Master's in Art, Media and Design and the 2015 IAMD GradEx Medal Winner was awarded one of three Melissa Levin Emerging Artist (MLEA) Award, administered by the Textile Museum of Canada. The MLEA Awards helps emerging artists conduct self-directed activities such as art production, apprenticeships, residencies or research. The award is in memory and honour of Melissa Levin (1958-2015), an artist, mentor and teacher whose career as a textile and costume designer was synonymous with exuberant love of colour and pattern.

Omar's first commercial solo-show, "Lul!", is on now at Birch Contemporary Gallery until April 21, 2018. For more details:

More about Omar:


Unmasking Omar Badrin

Omar Badrin
Omar work 1
Omar work 2
Omar Work 3

We caught up with artist and OCAD U alum Omar Badrin to chat about his work. He graduated from the Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design program in 2015 and was the program’s year-end medal winner.

Image of Omar Badrin

Can you tell us about Unmasking Otherness, your current show in Corner Brook, Newfoundland?

Unmasking Otherness is an exhibition that is showing at the Grenfell Campus Art Gallery until September 17. The show is made up of large, exaggerated, brightly colored crocheted masks that convey a sense of the grotesque and otherness. The masks vary in size and range from approximately five to fifteen feet in length. I wanted them to be large and take up as much space as possible, so it feels like they’re hovering over the viewer. They’re claiming the space rather than being off to the side.

On a personal note, it was important to me to exhibit this work in Newfoundland because I was raised there and go back frequently to visit family and friends. My artwork is biographical and reflects my upbringing as a visual minority in a province that, racially, remains quite homogenous. I’m hoping this show will contribute to the dialogue on the (slowly) increasing diversity in Newfoundland culture.

Image of Omar's work

In Due Time 2016, Industrial fishing twine, Mason’s line and flagging tape


How did your Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design help your practice?

Before joining the IAMD program, I felt that my art practice had become stunted. In fact, I had stopped pursuing art-making for five years before applying to OCAD U. When I moved to Toronto, I decided to get back into it and put together a portfolio with works that gave a sense of the direction and ideas I hoped to develop if accepted.

As a student at OCAD U, I was encouraged to experiment with other media, which really helped me get over my slump. During my first year, I started to explore the craft of net-making because of its connection to Newfoundland’s fishing tradition. However, it didn’t feel authentic to me, because I don’t have a direct relationship to the fishing industry. I opted for crotchet instead, because there were commonalities with net-making, and it I did feel a personal connection to it. For my independent summer study, I went to Port Union and learned crotchet from my mom. I hit it off with this medium and, conceptually, it was a better fit with my thesis topic.

Image of Omar's work 2

Sickly 2016,  Industrial fishing twine and Mason’s line


What do you love about crocheting and why is it an important medium for you?

Crochet is a way for me to think and reflect because the repetitive process of the medium lends itself to this. I have to say, though, that I don’t get personal enjoyment out of crochet. I use it because it allows me to convey the ideas I want to get at in my work. I grew up watching my grandmother and mother crochet, so I’m familiar with it, and it has deeper meaning for me. It’s a tradition that was passed down from my grandmother to my mother. However, I only started learning it two years ago, so it’s very new to me.

Image of Omar's work 3

Installation view of Unmasking Otherness, Grenfell Campus Art Gallery, Corner Brook, Newfoundland 


We’ve been seeing more artists and young people take up crocheting — is it becoming cool again?

I don’t know if it is becoming cool again. I think you have to be cool to answer that question and I’m not that person. I do like to see the bridge between ‘craft’ and ‘fine art,’ but that’s a discussion for another time. My personal feeling is that artists have to use the media that they feel most comfortable using for a given project. They [the media] should fit the conceptual framework and enhance the work. For now, crochet is something that interests me and it fits the ideas I’m presently exploring. However, I might give it up for something else in the future.

Check out more of Omar’s work.

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