Origins & Oolong

By Kyla Reda

“Who am I?”

It’s a question that has plagued each and every one of us at some point in our lives. A question that has inspired a steady stream of self-help literature and funded countless flights across the globe for people in search of that something that will either provide the answer, or at least point them in the right direction. In our case, it’s a question that has mixed the paints on an artist’s palette, dimmed the exposure in a photographer’s shot, and threaded the embroiderer’s needle through its canvas.

Ottawa Design Club

Photography: Rémi Thériault from House of Common

But have you ever noticed how every exploration of identity always brings us back to one place? That’s because the place we started out is integral to who we will become.

But the concept of origins doesn’t have to have a universally understood meaning. In fact, an origin point means something different to everyone. For some, your origin might be your large family, or the cultural celebrations you grew up with. For others, it might be the moment you realized your body feels like home in a different type of outfit, or when you first chose to embrace the traits that make you different.

This fourth zine is a collection of people’s explorations into their origins, where they delve deep into their cultures, traditions, and experiences in search of those defining moments that made them who they are. The images and text for each artist give us a glimpse into each of their unique stories, and how their origins contributed to their blossoming identities. It is authentic, honest, and liberating.

Ottawa Design Club

Photography: Rémi Thériault from House of Common

Editing this zine made me consider my own origins in a way I never had before. It made me wonder whether there were parts of my life that contributed to my identity without me even realizing it. The truth I took from the stories in this zine is that your origin is the first contribution to the making of you. It’s the foundation of the things that are most important to you now. For me, I think my origin can be traced back to the first library card I ever had in my name, and the home-cooked meals my Nonna always made.

While the Ottawa Design Club outlined the theme for this zine, it is the artists who are truly defining what it means to have an origin. This zine lays down the first pieces of a colourful puzzle, but it is a puzzle without edges. Now it’s your turn. We invite you to open up your zine and find the little sachet of tea that’s waiting for you inside. Take a minute to steep it how you like, and while you wait, allow yourself to relax, open your mind, and become a bit vulnerable. We hope that as you read about our origin stories between sips, your mind will wander off to somewhere deep inside of you—to the place it all began. The next piece of the puzzle is now in your hands, and we can’t wait to see where you place it.

Kyla Reda

Ottawa Design Club

Photography: Rémi Thériault from House of Common

[ thaŋk-yü ] exclamation

Origin: The words “thank you” come from the word “think”. The Old English noun “thank” dates between c.450 – c.1100 and was defined as a “thought”.

This new issue presented a lot of new challenges and we thank everyone who stood by our side to make this a reality. We truly appreciate your collaboration. In fact, we feel very inspired by it!

A huge thank you to Tim Singleton and Shiva Moin for helping us with the curation of Zine 0004. Our curation meeting was such a blast! Thank you to Rémi Thériault for the photographic magic and zine support. Thank you to our editors Kyla Reda, Dave Weatherall and Kristina Brazeau for going over our words. Thank you to House of Common,, Canvaspop, and Awesome Ottawa for supporting this ever-growing creative community.

Thank you to all of you, dear readers. This zine is our gift to you. We hope you’ll share it, talk about it and love it just as much as we do!

The Ottawa Design Club Team

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