If you scan Zahra Ebrahim’s LinkedIn, it’s hard not to be completely wowed by her long list of accomplishments. After fifteen years of building communities and growing her career, however, Zahra realized she was in desperate need of a pause. This was around the time when she walked into Parkdale’s beloved The Workroom and began making rope bowls. 

Being a designer by trade, and someone who naturally questions life around her, Zahra became intrigued by how consumed she was with making rope bowls; what it did for her mental health, and how it helped transform her state of being. Exploring the answers to these questions is what led her to organize Counsel, a show opening at DesignTO this week that places great value on how we use our hands to heal. 

“Counsel’s inaugural show invites visitors to explore the artifacts that come with this compulsion to create and design in times of uncertainty. The show explores the work of three women, at three distinct crossroads, and the habitual, ritual, meditative making—making with no purpose in mind, no audience, no explicit intention—that serves as a way of progressing through processing restlessness, anxiety, uncertainty, sadness and worry,” is how the show is described on the DesignTO site; we can’t wait to check it out at Black Cat Artspace this weekend. 

For some, recovery looks like a support group, for others it’s a prescription of pills. Nature, yoga, high-intensity workouts, weekly therapy sessions: we all have our own way of recovering. Slowly and quietly, when Zahra began using her hands to create simple rope bowls, she worked her way through something. Her mind and body moved to a new place. Her show at DesignTO is about giving weight and value to a practice that may otherwise be trivialized.