Anna Lindsay MacDonald graduated in 2009 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an MFA Studio in Designed Objects. She earned her BFA in Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing from NSCAD University in 2004, and she had the honour of returning there as an instructor for two semesters in 2010/2011.
She has received awards such as Honourable Mention in Jewellery at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, and Best of Show at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, 2005. She was chosen as a finalist for the Love Lace award at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney Australia in 2011. Publications include, Design Lines, Canadian Art, Object Magazine, Metalsmith Magazine, The Love Lace Catalogue, Lark Books 500 Bracelets and Lark Books 500 Rings.
My work with maps began when I moved to Toronto after being accepted into a three year residency program at the Harbourfront Centre for the Arts (2004-2007). As I navigated the city I was struck by the grid-like quality of the Toronto streets, the intersections and interwoven connections. The imposing urban sprawl I reduced in size to a more legible scale, neighborhoods became bracelets and rings, adornment objects as well as informative objects. I wanted the wearer to engage with their neighborhoods, with transparent acrylic pieces wrapped around their hands and fingers like tattoos, their walking history etched into their skin. The gold and silver dotted paths or the walk to work became the adornment object.
Philosophical issues in cartography emerged, the fact that maps are subjective documents oftentimes used by corporations and polititians to convey ownership. I was made aware that the publication I was relying on could've been more a document of bureaucratic history than anything else. I therefore began to fabricate my own neighborhoods by incorporating lace patterning into the streetscapes, my own cartographic truth.
This was a significant turning point in my body of work, the realisation that the networks resemble knots and lace. I began to think of my work as a modern form of lace making. Hand cut from metal and vinyl I used elements of product design and contemporary jewellery design to transform the informative systems into decorative motifs. I found that the language and semiotics of cartography lent themselves well to wearable art. Beyond the streets weaving themselves together, the dotted lines became opportunities for patterning and ornamentation, and the fleur-de-lis historically used to point North, became another lace motif to employ.
Our inherent tendency toward mathematical balance in apparent in our urban streets as well as in our history of ornament. My work is an ongoing study of this relationship.