Space: Meera Sethi

May 1st, 2009

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Who are you?
My name is Meera Sethi and I run misc, a studio specializing in design and branding for nonprofits. I am also a visual artist and photographer in my spare time.

My artwork is graphic, geometric and often very colourful. I combine Indian, Arab and African patterns and histories, North American musical and pop culture references, and abstracted life drawings to discuss ideas of style, identity and belonging. You can check out my blog for recent art.

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This is work in progress from my “Farangi Rang Barangi” series.

Inspiration for home?
My home is inspired by a “third world” eclecticism and a strong sense of colour that comes from my Indian Punjabi background. I have had the opportunity to travel frequently between India and Canada and have picked up inspiration from the vibrancy and minimalism of each country respectively. As an artist, I am also inspired by loft living and the chance to have greater creative control over a large open space.

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Most Cherished item/ Favorite Piece?
By far, my favourite item in my place are these two paper mache masks I bought from a craftsman in the Royal Fort in Jodhpur (Rajasthan, India). At almost two feet in height, they are massive and I carried them all the way back as cabin luggage! I love the bold and iconic faces on these masks. They represent a typical rural Rajasthani man and woman.

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Best Deal?
The best deal I ever got was a 6 ft. x 11 ft. Moroccan kilim that I bought for $200 on Queen Street. It has these gorgeous rich pinks, reds and oranges and an eye-popping geometric design. I bought it from a store where the owners’ wife sold it to me for much less then what the owner had priced it at. The owner wasn’t in that day and I happily walked away with a steal!

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Biggest Splurge?
My biggest splurge has been a fuchsia Saarinen armchair, a recent purchase from Atomic in Toronto. I wasn’t looking for a chair and certainly hadn’t budgeted for it, but seeing the electric magenta pop in the sun drenched Atomic window, I was instantly sold! Lawrence from Atomic chose a fantastic fabric to cover this original 71 series Saarinen.

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Most Gratifying DIY?
The most gratifying DIY was my free four-seater Victorian couch that a friend found on Craigslist. The original fabric was a worn out beige velvet (yuck!) that I later recovered in Dutch wax fabric with a Ghanian print from the African Textiles Centre in Toronto. Well, I didn’t recover it myself, but I spent hours and hours sourcing just the right fabric.

What would you do differently?
I would love to add on a private balcony with a gas BBQ hookup and a photo studio. Then this place would be perfect! But I’m not complaining.

Plans for future?
To design my own live/work loft in Toronto and dream of eventually living on the coast of India in a humble home designed by Studio Mumbai Architects.

Anything to add?
I have an Open Studio Show and Sale of my artwork happening in my place soon. For details, please email me at misc@meerasethi.com.

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The books are part of my collection of images from non-Western design traditions. The turtle is from a trip to Mexico.

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All the artwork you see in this photo is my work.

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The sculpture is a really old gift from a friend.

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The yellow table and chairs are a vintage find from a Queen West antique store.

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I love these old IKEA candle stands.

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The side table is from a vintage store where the Drake General Store now stands.

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The Eames chair with original green upholstery is a find from Craigslist.

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With all the colour around me, I prefer to sleep in a minimal space where my eyes can have a rest! The chandelier is from this guy on Queen West who sells his antique wares on the sidewalk (near Come As You Are). It was an electrical chandelier that I converted into a candle chandelier.

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Floating lotuses are very Indian!

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This is a photograph of my first mother in her early 20s. People keep asking which Bollywood screen scarlet she is!

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My post was made for pans!

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Love all the colour, Meera!  The combination of pieces from your travels, home country and vintage Toronto finds make this loft space uniquely your own. Thanks so much for sharing!

Photos by Juli Daoust

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