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Five Minutes With Claire Madill Of Vancouver’s “Heyday Design”


Claire Madill graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design in 2007 with a Bachelor of Fine Art (Visual Art) and established a ceramics studio from which to launch heyday design soon after. Through her work, Claire explores the nostalgia we feel towards objects and questions what we consider valuable in a particular time and place. Discarded and forgotten vintage wares are translated into fine porcelain objects that you can use and wear, endorsing a new perspective on an object’s purpose and aesthetic. heyday design currently loves vintage Canadian canning jars and the patterns found on the bottom of vintage glass dishes to illustrate this.

Claire lives in Mount Pleasant, works in Strathcona and pretty much bikes everywhere. Claire will be at Gotcraft! on May 2.  Meet her and see her work after the jump…


  • large_gem_jar
  • self_portrait_with_vintage_cubic_dish
  • beaver_jar_b
  • cubic_brooch_for_the_queen
  • small_imperial_crown_jars
  • black_porcelain_cubic_earrings

Three things about your neighbourhood that make you want to live there : It’s so pleasant in…Mount Pleasant: accessibility to both Main Street and The Drive (and downtown…and Gastown/Chinatown — perfect!); the new Mount Pleasant Community Centre and Ken Lum’s ‘East Van’ cross (love it); and I get a great workout just to-ing and fro-ing to my studio everyday (down the hill, up the hill, past the East Van cross, down the hill…).

Where do you enjoy shopping in Vancouver? As I’m always on the lookout for material I can use in the studio, I love hitting the basement of the Salvation Army on 12th near Kingsway — it’s like a magical rummage sale.

• (for food) Budgies Burritos (ohhh, johnny-o!), the Red Sea Cafe, Sushi-Yama, The Reef.
• (for clothing) Front & Vompany, and, truth is I’m a master at finding great clothes at Value Village (most recent find: vintage purple cashmere dress from Harrods for less than $20).
• (for jewelry) Dream Apparel…and participating in craft fairs means that I get to meet other really talented makers and we often trade with each other — jewelery is my favourite. I’m so lucky!

Is there a local designer that you admire? There are too many to pick just one! I admire my friends Jessica de Haas (Funk Shui), Laura McKibbon (Cul de Sac) and Brendalyn Avender (avenderHaus/bpa Metalcraft) – they all successfully run their own businesses, create amazing work, and are making it happen for themselves.

What inspires you? Finding a new vintage pattern that I can transform into some new earrings or a series of brooches — I can’t wait to mix up the plaster and get it going! (and I never thought I’d feel that way about plaster).

Tell us about your favourite space to work: Anywhere I can look out a window towards some greenery, see the sun shining even if I’m not outside enjoying it. I really, really love working in my studio space — I have it set up in a really functional way for making my work, I have a good stereo and can play it as loud as I want.

What sort of music do you listen to when you are working? I have a list of favourite CiTR shows that I’m super into — and now that I have an MP3 player, I bring the podcasts to the studio and get a garage/indie/jazz education everyday! The Jazz Show, the Barn Burner, Third Time’s The Charm, Shake a Tail Feather, Duncan’s Donuts…all so good. And, of course, a hefty dose of CBC 1, 2 and Espace Musique on Radio-Canada (great jazz in the afternoon and they don’t even stop for the 6 o’clock news).

What is your favourite heydey design creation right now? Definitely my newest black cubic earrings — they’re two different sized cubes stacked one on another with asymmetrical glaze details that really make the black pop. I’ve been wearing them everyday since I made them a few months ago.

Why is Vancouver a good city for indie design? Due to the small size of most of our apartments and the expense of things generally, Vancouverites need to have quality over quantity; plus I think people are getting into the ‘buy local’ in lots of ways — perfect for fostering independent design in the city.

Describe your favourite part of a typical heydey design day: Late in the day when I take a tea break and either make a long distance phone call to my family in Ontario or head down the hall to Laura McKibbon or Heather Dahl’s studio to talk shop…or just sit and watch the crows fly by.

If you were to choose one of your creations to send to the Queen, which one would you choose? I would send her a small cubic brooch with a little platinum lustre on it — classy yet modern — something she could wear to tea with Mick Jagger.

If you were going to recommend a Vancouver artist/designer/musician/personality for Scout to interview, who would it be? Laura McKibbon — she has her pulse on both the global and local design scene and always has an opinion to share!


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