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Festival of Trees medallions

Sheridan Visual Merchandising installation shines bright at Mississauga Festival of Trees

Dec 17, 2021

Festival of Trees - TreeSix students from Sheridan’s Visual Merchandising Arts program are showcasing their creativity at the Mississauga Festival of Trees this December with a unique installation.  

Hosted by non-profit CreativeHub 1352, the multi-day festival features a variety of original artwork, including contemporary trees and woodpile sculptures. Light displays, performances, and community activities are also part of the inaugural event. 

Sheridan’s contribution, the Diversi(tree) installation, is a tree that reflects the diverse cultural identities of the Visual Merchandising Arts students and their instructors. The roots were created from the names of countries that are significant to the group, and decorative medallions hanging from its branches each represent a student or teacher by featuring their initials and a personalized design. 

The body of the tree is made of knitted clothing, which is reflective of “yarn-bombing” – a form of street art that uses knitted yarn to decorate public spaces instead of traditional paint or chalk. These garments will be carefully removed from the sculpture and donated to a charity once the festival is over. 

“Due to campus access restrictions, this group of students has had limited opportunities for hands-on learning so, when I heard about this opportunity, I thought it would be a great experience for them,” says Louise Franklin, Visual Merchandising Arts Coordinator and Professor at Sheridan. “Faculty coached the participating students in what is possible from a design perspective and taught them the skills required to build a stable and safe tree armature.” 

Festival of Trees - studentsThe six second-year Sheridan students - Stan Huang, Tracy Liang, Haley Schmalenerg, Linh Vu, Shawn Zhao and Wen Zhang - worked with their faculty advisors to design and construct the tree at the Hazel McCallion Campus woodshop, guided by technologist Scott Rogers. Through the process, the students gained first-hand experience in using power tools and producing files for the CNC router (a computer-controlled cutting machine). 

“It took our team two weeks to figure out how to build the tree and we changed the structure a couple of times to make it easier to build,” says Liang, one of the students involved in the project. “Building the tree gave me a unique perspective and skillset in crafting and engineering, which I feel is a critical skill for Visual Merchandising.” 

The Mississauga Festival of Trees is open until December 19th. For more information on tickets and upcoming events, you can visit the event homepage here. 

Written by Harriet Murray.

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