Designer Profile: Angela McGrath - Toronto
Hi Angela! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Angela McGrath, I am a curious visual creator with a background in visual arts and fashion design. I'm a restless nomad moving every few years or so, but the one place that will always have my heart is Canada's west coast. I love playing with color and texture and feel most at home when I'm using my hands to create and my obsession with composition, photography, and simple lines fuel my work.
What is your background (i.e. education, previous jobs, experiences that led you to create)?
My interest in art and fashion started at a young age and grew naturally from colored pencils to my mother teaching me how to use a sewing machine. This progression eventually led me to attend Parsons The New School for Design in New York City for Fashion Design; however, after a year I realized that taking a direct path into fashion wasn’t for me. After leaving Parsons, I enrolled in the Visual Arts program at Emily Carr University in Vancouver BC. There I studied printmaking aka the “old school” methods of visual design. Combining these educational experiences provided me with new ways to communicate and create, which have directly influenced the work I make today.
What led you to begin epoché?
In 2014 I found myself with a BFA in one hand and a lump of uncertainty in the other. I felt torn between wanting to return to the practicality of fashion design while still wanting to evolve my artistic practice. Instead of deciding on one or the other, I became determined to merge the two fields; this became the catalyst for the creation of epoché.
You mention your designs being influenced by modern architecture and the principle Bauhaus methodologies; what about these design aspects inspire you as a maker?
While my interest in modern architecture has influenced epoché's newest collection aesthetically, the methodologies behind the Bauhaus movement have been core to my work. In general, I find that work produced by women, which isn't strictly fine art or product design, has a tendency to be labelled as "crafty." The term "crafty" is problematic for me as it is often associated with work of an unprofessional nature and represents a hobby career. The Bauhaus movement approached the term "crafty" differently by merging the craft tradition with modern technology and courses in aesthetic principles, which gave all three fields equal importance. This approach allowed for the creation of artistically designed products/objects that used color, lines, geometry, materials, and textures to create work; this was radical for its time and remains a constant source of inspiration for me.
What makes you passionate about what you do?
My passion for taking something from concept to tangible object is what drives my work and keeps me interested in creating.
As a small business owner, do you have any rituals or routines that help you manage your time or feel more fulfilled?
One routine that is a crucial part in setting me up for a successful day is getting in a workout first thing in the morning. I find that it helps to clear my head and clarifies what tasks I need to focus on for my day ahead.
What creative women do you find inspiring?
Two women that are at the top of my list are Lily and Hopie Stockman, the sister team behind Block Shop. I have been a long time admirer of Block Shop not only for the beautiful products but also for the way they have built their business with an emphasis on community. Whenever I'm feeling discouraged, I visit Block Shop's website for a hit of inspiration. It always helps refocus me on my goals and encourages me to keep working towards the kind of business I want to be, and the kind of work I want to make.
What are some of your favourite places in Toronto?
All my favourite places in Toronto revolve around food...
- Bellwoods Brewery — one of my favourite places to grab a beer, and is usually one of the first places I take any out of town guests.
- Forno Cultura (King street location) — the best place in the city for lunch with a beautiful open concept. I love watching the bakers make all the loaves of bread and pastries!
- Fat Pasha — a Middle Eastern restaurant with a seemingly simple menu, but so good!
- Bang Bang Ice Cream — I have a major sweet tooth, so this place is a must for me. My favourite is the ice cream sandwich made with London fog ice cream and an oatmeal cookie.