You hear about imperfections all the time, the lovely and inspiring memes that float around the Internet reminding us that no one is perfect, and it’s actually our flaws that make us who we are. It’s a lovely sentiment, and one that we believe in wholeheartedly. But unfortunately, we still live in a world where some flaws aren’t always welcome.  

Mental illness, as common as it is (and it’s even more common than you think), still carries a major stigma in our society. Millions of Canadians live with mental illness everyday, and it’s not a stretch to say that anyone reading this has experienced some form of mental illness, or knows someone who has. It has certainly touched us and our families and friends. Thankfully, there are organizations like Understand Us who are working to change how we see and experience mental illness.

Working under a mission to create awareness and provide education on mental illness, the folks behind Understand Us, co-founders Jim Demeray and artistic director Thomas Le, are really passionate about what they do, which is probably why we connect so well with what they’re doing. Their big focus is youth education and engagement, with the hopes that changing the way we understand mental illness at a young age will change how we talk about and support those living with mental illness. Understand Us provides awareness campaigns, youth engagement, community events, and clothing sales of various designs that promote mental illness awareness, and this coming weekend, we will host one of two pop up shop events for an Understand Us clothing sale!

On Saturday, November 26th and Saturday, December 3rd, from 12-6 pm on both days, we will proudly be hosting Understand Us at Mortise & Tenon for holiday pop up shops. They will be bringing a bunch of their different designs and promotional materials, giving Mortise & Tenon shoppers some great holiday gift options from a local organization, and the opportunity to help break the stigma of mental illness in our community. The pop up shops will also be co-sponsored by Fresh and Sweet, another wonderful local business that is supporting the event with their delicious cupcakes! 

We believe in supporting local as much as possible; it’s evident in the small businesses, artisans and creators we carry in our store.  Understand Us is a local organization doing a lot of good in our community, bringing their own creative forms of beauty and change to our world. It just made sense for us to bring them in, and welcome them as part of the Mortise & Tenon family.

We also believe in flaws – just walk around our store, and look at wood products we carry. From reclaimed barn board with nails comfortably nestled into corners, to little gnarls in perfectly sanded tabletops, flaws don’t ruin our pieces, they bring out the beauty of the rest of the design. There are also beautifully cut joinery pieces that no one can see, strength that pulls the whole pieces together, that keep them strong and help them to last. Things of strength and beauty are not always as they appear on the surface, and they rarely look like all the other works of art out there. But it takes an appreciation for the process of learning and creating to understand how imperfections make the piece whole. The more we talk about it, and appreciate the journey, the more we can be who we are – and help each other to do the same.

Check out the Facebook event here.

See you on Saturday !