Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | November 16, 2010

How Crafty Are You ?

Mark Greenberg ditched a decade-long career in finance for life as an industrial artist, and doesn’t miss the high-rolling lifestyle for a second. Judging by his latest creation -the tie rug -he’d be hard pressed to find a tie to complete his old corporate suits.

The Vancouver-based Greenberg, who graduated from Simon Fraser University with a degree in economics, had a revelation around eight years ago after the high times of the 1990s and the dot-com era, raising money for companies that wanted to go public. “It was a natural progression and it was a safe choice,” he says, explaining that his father had been in finance since 1964.

“The foundation was set and I knew all the clients which he had built up. But ultimately, it wasn’t me.”

In the meantime, he continued to be physical: Fixing up numerous homes and making jewelry boxes for his girlfriends. So when a friend was starting an industrial design company, Greenberg was interested. “It took my creativity from a macro point to a micro, hands-on approach,” he says, adding that he became a partner at AVIDWORX Productions Inc., which specializes in audio-visual interior design, working with different types of materials for the consumer electronics market throughout North America.

While he knows it might sound a little schmaltzy, Greenberg is motivated by the mantra that you need to do the things you absolutely love every day.

Symbol of power

“And I just love making things,” he says from his Yaletown studio, MAG (Mark Alan Greenberg) Industrial Art, where he designs tables, chairs and headboards, among other items. (Today, he is excited by a call from a Tofino surfing friend — a.k.a. beachcomber — who has salvaged a 17-feet long cedar log.)

When it comes to his tie rug, there are no prizes for guessing the symbolism. “I come from the era where people wore ties, but they are ridiculous and so uncomfortable,” he says.

“I just wanted to do something completely ‘other’ with this item, which represents such a masculine part of the world -the kind of ‘look at me in my suit and tie, I’m so powerful and strong.’ ”

Since they comprise myriad styles and materials, Greenberg found it quite difficult to make them match and source the right backing material to stop the (usually silk) ties from slipping.

“Patterning is the tough thing,” says Greenberg, who admits he has kept just one of his old ties, just in case (it’s Hermes, dahling), “and individually, ties are light, but as a collective it’s a different story; they are remarkably heavy.”

Being able to walk on them has conjured up some intriguing reactions from his clients. One lawyer in a suit “went nuts” when he saw it.

“He had his shoes on and he felt he needed to ask permission to walk on it,” Greenberg chuckles.

“It was like watching someone walk on hot coals.”

Needless to say, he immediately ordered one.

Tie rugs cost from $1,600, at MAG studio, 1058 Cambie 778-862 7373

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