From Here To There

An exploration of the tangibility of home. By focusing on stories of immigration, this book uses needle and thread to question how identity and home are intertwined.

Role

Research, Book Design

Tools Used

Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop

Timeline

6 weeks (February - March 2020)

Summary

From Here to There explores the concept of home and its connection to identity and tangibility. Through needle and thread, the book questions how immigration shapes ideas about home. Using old photographs, each page answers a question about home and aims to add a tangible essence to the idea of home.

To Begin

"Where are you really from?” 

Culturally Chinese and legally Canadian, my identity has always been an amalgamation of two worlds. How does belonging to a home shape your understanding of yourself? Is home and identity merely based on the genetic make-up or spaces where one resides How does the intangible shape the concept of home?

A home is a home because it blurs the line between the self and the surroundings, and challenges the line we try to draw between who we are and where we are. — Pico Iyer

Solution

Home is ephemeral, it's a concept that is constantly evolving. Our identities are a compilation of our personal experiences and are always subject to change.

The front of the publication.

Designed to open like french doors, this publication welcomes the reader to unfold each page and explore the concept of home through my parent's immigration stories. This publication poses questions about how identity and homes can be intertwined and investigates the intangible qualities of home. The publication features a coptic-bound spine with hand-embroidered pages. This needlework references the traditional activities at "home". By allowing readers to feel and interact with the stitches on the page, it adds a tangible feeling to an intangible topic.

Image may contain: handwriting
A closer look at the coptic bound spine.

The book was written in both English and Cantonese, the language that is mainly spoken in Hong Kong, where my parents immigrated from. As language is another intangible factor that determines one's home, it felt appropriate to include the Chinese text.


Is Toronto Home?
Is Hong Kong still home?


Each hand-sewn page references a question asked earlier. The replies shaped the colour choices that were made in the embroidery. For example, yellow meant innocence, red was excitement, and pink was nostalgia.

Image may contain: person, drawing and cartoon
Each page folds open. A legend is available at the back of every page and each stitch is visible at the back to add a tactile and sincere feeling to the book.
A gif of every page in the book.

Conclusion

Home is a work in progress. 

Languages can be taught or forgotten, emotional connections can be forged or severed, and physical spaces can be built or destroyed. As our perception of home changes, our identities and sense of self changes as well. 

These homes are merely stitches in the tapestry of our lives. 

Other projects: 
Let's Work Together