Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia

July 18, 2020 - January 3, 2021

Book tickets

Earle A. Morrison and Robin Bush for Earle A. Morrison Ltd., Victoria, BC

Airfoam Lounge Chair (#141), 1951

steel rod, plywood, walnut, upholstery

Collection of Allan Collier

Featuring over 300 works, Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia examines the furniture, ceramics, textiles, fashion and jewellery that defined West Coast modern living in the mid-twentieth century. In the three decades following the Second World War, thousands of people immigrated to British Columbia seeking the benefits of its resource-based economy, mild climate, natural amenities and inventive spirit. This optimistic post-war environment fostered the development of exceptional design and craft practices, deeply influenced by the tenets of modernism: simplicity, fine craftsmanship and functional design for everyday use. The most comprehensive view of mid-century craft and design from this region assembled to date, the exhibition reveals how local histories, immigration patterns and materials impacted interpretations of modernism in British Columbia, while also recognizing this cultural movement’s inherent ties to colonial expansion.


Barbara Baanders / Hans-Christian Behm / Niels Bendtsen / Idar Bergseth / Paul Binkert / B.C. Binning / Alice Bradbury / Elaine Bully / Cyril G. Burch Ltd. / Robin Bush / Sharon Butler / Robert Calvert / Mollie Carter / Toni Cavelti / Mary Chang / Madeleine Chisholm / Jean Clarke / Stan Clarke / Betty Clazie / John Clazie / Columbia Furniture / Peter Cotton / Crane Furniture Ltd. / Doug Cranmer / Judith Cranmer / Crown Ceramics / Florence Daniels / Robert Davidson / Olea Davis / Walter Dexter / Reginald Dixon / Axel Ebring / Vee Elder / Gathie Falk / Lynda (Powell) Gammon / Hilde Gerson / Herta Gerz / Sophie Locke Gibson / Penny Gouldstone / Helga Grove / Jan Grove / Kathleen Hamilton / Marjory Hamilton / Hammond Furniture / Frances Hatfield / Francisca Hayman / Michael Henry / Mano Herendy / Marjorie Hill / Gillian Hodge / Fred Hollingsworth / Phyllis Hollingsworth / Hollywood Furniture Manufacturing / Honey Hooser / Henry Hunt / Avery Huyghe / Tam Irving / Island Weavers / Nellie Jacobson / Charmian Johnson / Thomas Kakinuma / Zoltan Kiss / Helmut Krutz / Ann Kujundzic / Zeljko Kujundzic / Heinz Laffin / David Lambert / Edwin Larden / Glenn Lewis / Desmond Loan / Adeline Lorenzetto / Janet MacLeod / A.P. Madsen Ltd / Sasha Makovkin / Rex Mason / Ruth Mathers / Heather Maxey / Rodney Maxwell-Muir / Marian McCrea McClain / Duncan S. McNab / Ruth Meechan / Santo Mignosa / Earle A. Morrison / Mouldcraft Plywoods / Ellen Neel / Zonda Nellis / Anne Ngan / Wayne Ngan / Leonard Osborne / Pacific Veneer / Mary Peters / Dexter Pettigrew / Setsuko Piroche / Vera Ramsay / Ravine Pottery / John Reeve / Bill Reid / Rose Marie Reid / Cliff Robinson / Hilda Ross / Evelyn Roth / Carole Sabiston / J. Scali Woodworking / Adolph Schwenk / Louise Schwenk / Doris Shadbolt / Marion Smith / Spider Loom Ties / Ethel Squier / Joanna Staniszkis / Alfred Staples / Ian Steele / Gordon Stewart / Karl Stittgen / Strahan and Sturhan / Ron Thom / Willy Van Yperen / Julia “Madame” Visgak / Jean Marie Weakland / Robert Weghsteen / Gertrude Weir / Lore Maria Wiener / Martha Wiens / Monica Williams / Chuck Yip

Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Daina Augaitis, Interim Director, Allan Collier, Guest Curator, and Stephanie Rebick, Associate Curator

  • Axel Ebring

    Pitcher, c. 1940s

    ceramic (earthenware)

    Collection of John David Lawrence

    Photo: Ian Lefebvre, Vancouver Art Gallery

  • Helmut Krutz

    Couch, c. 1970

    steel, plywood, upholstery, teak

    Collection of Allan Collier

    Photo: Ian Lefebvre, Vancouver Art Gallery

  • Idar Bergseth

    Brooch, c. mid-1960s

    sterling silver, 18-carat yellow gold, Japanese Akoya pearls

    Courtesy of the Artist

    Photo: Ian Lefebvre, Vancouver Art Gallery

Lead Sponsor:
Supporting Sponsors:

Generously supported by:

Phil Lind

Additional support from:

The Poseley Family

Media Partner:



Modern in the Making: Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia

Exhibition Catalogue

Featuring an introduction by co-curator Daina Augaitis, an in-depth historical overview by collector and co-curator Allan Collier that maps a trajectory of design practice in the region, two commissioned essays by noted scholars Michelle McGeough and Michael J. Prokopow, and artist biographies, this heavily illustrated publication is the first to document the evolution of modern ceramics, weaving, furniture design, fashion and jewellery produced between 1945 and 1975 in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Okanagan and beyond.


Edited by Stephanie Rebick
Forward and Introduction by Daina Augaitis
Essays by Michelle McGeough, Michael J. Prokopow, Allan Collier, Jenn Jackson, and Stephanie Rebick


254 pages
7.75 x 10.75 inches
229 colour and black and white illustrations
Vancouver Art Gallery and Figure1 Publishing, 2020


Available at the Gallery Store.