It is with great joy that we introduce you to Leigh Wright, the founder and creator of Vignettes, a month long design festival that has the goal of connecting Edmonton’s vibrant and vast design community to collaborate and expose them to new opportunities. Vignettes isn’t just a design show, it’s a platform for community. As Leigh works with woodworkers, interior designers, contractors and visual artists - the one common thread among them all is the love for good, quality design. We appreciate Leigh’s attention to detail and are so excited that he is a Healthy Bedroom Advocate.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and Vignettes.
I am a regular guy from Edmonton with a beautiful wife whom I love. She is my partner-in-crime with Vignettes. We have a son named Jude who takes up the majority of our time and makes us run around like crazy. Other than that, I love being an Edmontonian, supporting local and getting into the local art and design while getting to know people in our city. I find Edmonton to be a big city, but a small community and it seems like everyone is connected in some way, shape, or form. That's where Vingettes comes in; it is a design show where we collaborate, a platform for artists and designers, woodworkers and contractors to come together, meet each other and work together to make interactive spaces.
What does it mean to you to be a collaborative member of the Edmonton design community?
It means the world to me. The coolest thing about my job is getting to meet so many unique individuals. We usually meet 60 individual artists. To form and build relationships with that community, to help promote that community and then use them in my own designs and our own designs and spaces that we create has been a blessing, I couldn't even say how much I love it. Every artist, when you given an opportunity, takes the space or object and transforms it into something that yourself wouldn't have been able to create. The creative process, ideas bouncing off of creatives, is unbelievable.
Attention to detail is something that creates such magic in vignettes, why does craftsmanship still matter?
I think craftsmanship should matter in pieces where there is longevity. There is a pandemic of being able to easily dispose of pieces and furniture, clothing, etc. When something is crafted, personalized, tailored or created for you specifically, it becomes a collectors item and you don't want to get rid of that piece. You will want to pass it on. It does come with a cost, but the cost is all in the quality. Buying something that is quality made is always going to last you a lot longer.
With that same attention to detail, how can necessary things in your home still inspire you, even for example a mattress?
When you see or interact with a piece on a daily basis, it does invigorate or excite you to create. We are at the point in our lives where we are looking to add little pieces to our collection as we grow with life. That makes me feel like I’m supporting a great cause while also adding to my own collection of quality.
Form or function?
*laughs* Both! Right now, with our little guy, we are in function mode. Our bar is turning into a barn for toys and not booze. I think both form and function are equally important. As we redesign our space and make renovation plans for our loft, we are focusing a lot on function as we are a small family living in a 1,000 square foot downtown loft.
Can you share about the feeling found in making something by hand or creating something by hand?
There's no other feeling like that, when you get immersed in your work to the point that it's not work, you are just being and doing. You're living in the moment when your creating and that's what life is all about - those moments when you are completely immersed. I create a lot with my wife who is my best friend so when we get to collaborate and create cool things together it's really fun.
You spend so much time with makers, builders and creators - what does it mean to them to support those industries?
For us to support them it means the world. We really wanted to connect the design community in Edmonton because there's so much to tell and show. I really hope that they see it as a great opportunity to do the same. That they collaborate and meet other individuals or utilize the platform to advance themselves in the public or within their own industry to take the next step in their career; that they see it as a significant marketing piece.
How has creating long-lasting well-built things designs in your work changed the way you look at all the things you bring into your home?
I’m constantly appreciating quality and bringing in quality pieces. knowing that they will have a lifespan longer than a couple years and they aren't easily disposed of.
Does material matter when making something?
Yes. Absolutely. Learning about where our materials are coming from, how they are produced and what their impact is on the world is important to know. That paradigm shift is entering all areas of our life now, from clothing to food to design.
With such a busy schedule how do you spend your downtime?
Haha sleeping! Usually, our downtime is sitting here with our computers out or playing with Jude, we love taking him places - going out to parks, wherever we can take Jude on adventures.
What is the difference for you when you get a good night's rest?
It's tough right now because we have a little guy, but when we can get a good four or five hours of sleep we feel like brand new people. Sleep is so important in how we function, our moods and how we interact with each other in our daily lives. Being a parent and getting good sleep isn't the greatest pairing but when you get it, it's amazing.
What is the best part of waking up well-rested?
Exactly that. Feeling well-rested.
Why did you want to be a HB advocate?
I love what they are doing. I think it's really cool and I don't know any other small businesses doing what they do. When I first met them I was amazed by their product lines and how mattresses are created. Their ‘beducation’ is so interesting; knowledge is power in any business your in. As a designer, you have to know about every little piece whether it's flooring, tile, or lighting etc. You need an understanding of how it's made and where it comes from. So, meeting local producers and having them show you and educate you is simply amazing.
Do you think it's surprising that Edmonton makes mattresses? That you can buy a mattress made here?
Yeah, I was floored, I didn't know that. I don't know any other places where you can buy a local, healthy mattress. Supporting local is a lifestyle, and if your looking at that lifestyle, it's a no brainer. Your bedroom is your sanctuary and what you put there really matters as you spend most of your life with that piece. It's an important decision.
I can't sleep without... my wife!
My first thought when i wake up is... Did I sleep enough?
Live Awakened means...Have I got a good night's sleep?