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Artist Spot: Jennifer Rong


Jennifer Rong of Rong Designs will be leading our “Wood You Be My Valentine” workshop this Thursday, February 13 and is an active member of the Toronto Tool Library.

How did you get involved in design?
I have a background in graphic design and got into furniture design and woodworking partly through my previous job and through DIY projects of my own. I’ve always been the hands on creative type but didn’t discover my love for woodworking until the last few years.

Do you have a specialization?
I specialize in creating one of a kind, handmade, upcycled pieces ranging from furniture to housewares and even jewelry, made from reclaimed wood and found/repurposed materials with an emphasis on aesthetics, function and sustainable production. I also adopt a ‘nose to tail’ approach: everything is used, nothing is wasted.

What projects have you done recently?
I recently exhibited a new collection of pieces at Come Up to My Room, Gladstone Hotel’s annual alternative design event. This collection includes one of my current favourites, a swivel chair sculpture from a decaying stump. You can find some photos of the exhibit here.

How did you hear about the Toronto Tool Library?
Late last summer, I was looking into doing more workshops and stumbled upon the Toronto Tool Library coincidentally.

Why did you decide to get involved with TTL?
I got involved as I wanted to teach workshops and potentially work and use the new makerspace (which was still under construction at the time).

What can participants expect from your upcoming workshop this Thursday?
At the upcoming Valentine’s Day workshop, participants can expect to find a fun upcycling project that reuses old lightbulbs to make a cute desk top piece with a personalized message you can give to your sweetheart or any loved one in your life. The project will include a bit of woodwork and woodburning as well as lots of creativity and imagination!

Any exciting events coming up in the near future?
I am hoping to hold more project-based workshops at TTL in the coming months, such as making coaster, wine holders, picture frames, butcher blocks, etc. and teaching techniques such as resining and photo transfer. I also offer one-on-one personal training lessons on how to use tools or make something. If you’re interested in seeing my stuff in person, I will be at a spring fashion show at the Gladstone hotel March 15 showcasing jewelry and also at the One of a Kind Spring Show, Mar 26-30, with lots of new stuff!

Words: Tahnee Pantig