Celebrate Canada150 by adding some local flavour to your decor. Toronto artist Peggy McEwen takes pop imagery and bright colours and turns her designs into "comfortable art" for her company, Design by Persnickety. Each pillow has a front and back design, giving you two looks in one pillow. Many of her designs are her take on Canadiana and Toronto, the city she loves. We love finding great design close to home featuring "our home and native land", and we think you will too.
Q: What inspires you in designing your pillows?
A: Sometimes I'll see something that inspires me and I'll think, "Oohh, that would make a great pillow!" Other times I'm given suggestions by people (something they'd like to see) and I start designing my take on it. I love pop culture and retro imagery, and you'll see that coming through in my work. Most times, I design purely for me – I'll think of something that makes me laugh or just something I think is cool, if others like it...bonus!
Q: What's your background?
A: I graduated from the Classical Animation Program at Sheridan College in 1984. After that I worked at Nelvana Animation Studio here in Toronto, then moved to Sydney, Australia, in 1989 to work for Disney Animation Studio. After the animation career, I was able to sell my paintings and sculpture in a few galleries, teach art lessons to kids, start a pop art business, and now design pillows!
Q: How did you start designing your pillows?
A: I have reinvented myself so many times over the past few years. In the late 90's, when computers took over, my animation career quickly became obsolete. In retrospect, I'm glad that happened. It made me concentrate on my other artistic abilities. I loved my "Popart" business, where I created custom portraits with a Pop Art look, but it didn't reach enough people to be successful. Then I started putting my artwork on adhesive murals...I thought it was a great idea, but people didn't really get it. Then it hit me: combine art with something practical, like pillows...everybody loves pillows!
Q: Have you done any custom pillows?
A: Last year I designed a series of four pillows for TIFF to celebrate 40 years of the Toronto Film Festival. Those designs were then altered for Entertainment Tonight Canada and used in their TIFF lounge while interviewing Festival celebrities. I have also been commissioned to design custom pillows for several Toronto stores. It's always challenging, fun, and exciting to see something you've created being enjoyed by others.