Guest Editor’s Profile – Donna Hainstock

Donna Hainstock

Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANADA

In terms of your things, what does your space (studio/office/living area) look like? please describe.
The space in which I do creative work has shifted from a formalized creative work setting to our home since taking the opportunity to be full-time with our two children. That continuing experience has truly changed the way I look at our old house, some days for the better, others not so much. Regardless, spending so much time at home has lead me to appreciate that a home is simply what you make it. Our home has been a place for sharing, learning, laughing, and loving. As our family has grown, so too our space has evolved to meet our growing needs, although not always with total fluidity or ease. In my efforts to keep the space organized (and not loose my mind), our basement contains plenty of white, uniform boxes with tidy little labels, containing the stuff that could easily be forgotten or done without. Parallel to these set of organized boxes, sits a large stack of equally outwardly tidy boxes, simply labelled “to organize”. This basement system of many boxes could act as an analogy for my desiring a system to retain items of good design, form, and function, conflicted by simultaneously desiring to not be consumed myself by material things. While the basement is a storage space, it’s also one of assembly and mechanics with my projects’ physical construction typically taking place at our old timber tool bench or atop the ridiculously large, semi-obsolete drafting table. Overall, I suppose I like my upstairs office and shared living space to be tidy and clean, an environment in which I am inspired and can hatch a creative plan, while the basement is where things get sorted and hammered out.

Where do you normally get your things?
I’ve recently fallen victim to the lure of Kijiji and the acquisition of a teak bedroom set, but typically would rather wander flea markets, antique stores, yard sales, and thrift stores over retail stores and over-blown outlets. At this point in my life I feel like the things that hold the most meaning, the things I want to really hold onto, are often those that have been given to me from others. Less and less I relish the things I’ve purchased myself, and hold on most dearly to items that hold a relational symbolism.

What is your prize possession/”thing”/collectible/tool?
My prized possession is my baby blankie and embodies the regard to which the things in my life, and often focusing on their origins have shaped me. As a child my blankie was quite beloved. My parents brought me home from the hospital in my blankie and I have many fond childhood memories with it, including wrapping up my first and very tolerant, cat Whiskers. As cliche as this sounds, my blankie is a keep-sake of security and the warmth of direct, family love.

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