post by Cara Howlett
Dear Human is a husband and wife ceramic company based in Vancouver, Canada. Correy Baldwin, UPPERCASE's copy editor, interviewed the duo made of Jasna Sokolovic and Noel O'Connell for Issue #21's Dynamic Duo section.
Dear Human displayed their project Patchworked in Canada, a project using tiles shipped from Portugal, at the Toronto Design Offisite Festival in January. After the festival ended, Jasna and Noel applied magnets to the tiles and took them to the streets of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver encouraging passersby to find unanticipated beauty in the urban landscape, inviting a moment of pause and response.
We asked Correy about his experience of finding a tile in Montreal.
I found the tiles quite late on a Sunday evening. I was walking home after a night of playing music with friends in their living room on the other end of town—a pretty classic Montreal evening. So when I got home I had a banjo in one hand and a Portuguese tile in the other.
I had already been in touch with Jasna and Noel from Dear Human, so I knew the tiles were around and had been keeping my eye out for them. I’d actually gone out hunting for them specifically a few days earlier, but hadn’t seen any. That night I found them quite accidentally, which seemed more appropriate somehow.
I only took one of the tiles, and left the other one for someone else to find. At first I kept it at my workspace, but in the end I did probably the most ordinary thing possible and stuck it to my fridge. Jasna and Noel had put magnets on the back of the tiles, so the fridge seemed an obvious place to put it. It’s still there. Maybe this summer I’ll place it on the metal railings of my balcony.
I interviewed Dear Human a few days after I found the tile. Noel wanted to know which one I’d found, and he recognized it as soon as I described the pattern on it. If I hadn’t already been in touch with them, I would have called the number on the back for sure.
A few blocks from where I found [my tile] there’s a small Portuguese square with a lot of beautiful Portuguese tiles around it. I knew they would have found it an irresistible spot, and sure enough, I found a number scattered around the square. I pulled a couple of them off and looked at them, then put them back. A couple of old men had been watching me, and as I left one of them went over and look at them, too. So if Dear Human got a phone call from a confused old man, it’s my fault.
The project was inviting us to be more aware of our surroundings, to pay more attention to the smaller details around us, and I think it did a great job. Long after I found a tile I kept looking a lot more closely at everything while walking around, even in other neighbourhoods.
And I wasn’t just looking for tiles. I was just looking.