We are so excited to be making things! Scheduling is the hardest part of any endeavor - so save the dates! We will be offering FREE workshops (thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for funding and Building Roots for coordinating space and sharing costs) at the Moss Park Market at 260 Queen St. East in February and March
Booking will be done through Building Roots, but let us know if you are interested in registering for any of these. We are altering weeks with the founder of this Do it Together series, Kate Hamilton. Here's the list of Sundays and Kate's description:
Global teas (KH)
Make your own sewing kit (WIP)
LINK to register now live!
Step it up: Hand salves (KH)
Cold hands, warm hearts (WIP)
Make your own deodorant (KH)
Green jeans (WIP)
Step it up: Sleep sachets (KH)
Make your own cutlery wraps (WIP)
Make your own air freshener (KH)
The Do It Together (DIT) series continues in 2020 – and with new features!
We did it! This multi neighbourhood/many month long clothing drive and swap project was a lot of work, but also a success by many measures. With only a few people involved in redistribution, we moved a literal ton of textile donations to places where they were needed or could be reused.
All the details and facts are summed up in the clothing swap page
Check out these #WIPSWAPFINDS - why would you buy anything new ever?
This was a lot of work, but with everything this past year, it was an experiment. We were motivated by a couple of things: we were asked to do two swaps, and we know that our clothing drives in the past have been very rich in donations and not in swappers, so we wanted to see if we could connect a few communities, and keep both donations and swap/shopping open to all participants. We finished with an open textile drive in partnership with the Hodgson PS eco club to divert textile waste and generate material for upcycling. A Bag2School drive in particular motivates people to give because they are encouraged to donate textiles in any condition, rather than throw them away. Bag2school does a great service- as it says on their website, 85% of textile waste ends up in landfills... so to curb this problem, they are a for-profit company who buys textiles by the ton, and then resells them to people who reuse, resell or recycle as much as they can. The issue is that their clients are overseas, and the market for these clothes is shrinking- with textiles, as with recycling and other waste, the world does not want our garbage. So looking forward, we need to find more local solutions, and this was an attempt to do that. We are proud to have kept half the donations here in Toronto to be used by front line social agencies, up-cycled through our projects or passed on through the next swap, and also happy that the Eco Club was able to make some money and divert the rest with Bag2SChool. See you in March!
We are lining up workshops for the new year, and our swap/clothing drive is wrapping up so looking for inspiration everywhere for the fabrics we are collecting. Out in the urban winter I have seen the city using up-cycled textiles, mostly sheets, for various temporary fixes. These makeshift fabric snakes were soaking up thawing snow in the TTC subway station, and I saw traffic signals under construction wrapped in old sheets during a pause- more durable than cardboard I guess.
At home I am looking around for problems that could be solved with some up-cycling, and I made this kitchen laundry bag (for rags and towels en route to laundry)... it has a hole so even if you are really lazy the laundry goes right in...
And finally got around to trying out printing on fabric and it is amazing. straight from an ink jet printer, no extra items needed. Canvas is stiff enough to go through on its own, but you can print on sheets if you iron on some freezer paper to stiffen it (you can google how, but basically, iron shiny side onto any fabric, cut to paper size and print onto fabric side, ink jet printer, as if it were paper.)
The labels will be used so makers at workshops or any WIP artists can label their creations... and handwrite with permanent marker what piece comes from and what it is transformed into, with space for their name at the bottom- artist credit!
Thursday was all about yet another eco "R": Relocation
By finding a new home for these items they will have a second life. This bench was curbed but with a little sweat and determination it has a new home on our porch. Shenanigans! Winter wear from the Hodgson clothing drive found a new home in the winter Free Shop in Beverley heights school, where they hosted 4 successful events in December. We brought a carload of (beautifully sorted and folded) donations from them for the Hodgson clothing drive. All items have great value in their new locations, all neighbourhoods contributed.
The boxes had some great items that will be used for WIP up-cycling workshops this Winter. We did a little playing with ideas for workshops and got some tips from other WIP members on how to improve the experiments.
Some non visual shenanigans: WIP donated some sheets and PJs from our stores to crafting heroes making nests and pouches for animal rescue in Australia: Toronto Crafts for Australia (check it out on Facebook)
Also colluding on an art project in March... more to come
One of the great things about swapping locally is there is added benefit- local schools can swap outgrown spirit wear, retro and recent! plus just awesome finds like the sparkly sequin dress for some lucky fancy kid. Also the chance to see volunteer friends now that our kids are graduating out of said schools- Thanks Beata and Sharman! And the Hodgson Eco Club for weighing and transporting everything to the stage.
We brought some Winter clothes back for the month of January to live on as a swap/free shop during market/workshop hours in the lovely little moss park market. Will top up from donations at our other clothing drive in Davisville area, as well as swapping out some more winter wear with less helpful clothes at the Winter Free shop in the TDSB school in a northwestern Toronto neighbourhood.
As an eco/art collective we are reducing waste by increasing makers, and working on three fronts: generating material to make things from, finding new and creative ways to reuse material, and encouraging the community to play with us.
Clothing Drives and Swaps: these are a way to reach people who both may want to donate or have access to gently used clothing. Starting at the end of 2018, we began a year of clothing drives/swaps, leaning as we went, beginning with:
Hodgson /Davisville/WIP Bag2School drive & Swap Nov/Dec 2018
Many things happening at once in the end of 2018. We co-hosted our first swap with with eco clubs from two schools, while we were applying for grants, moving forward on faith that we would get one.
This drive generated a lot of beautiful material that we used throughout 2019, and was a very successful partnership, well supported by the Davisville and Hodgson communities.
This drive collected 2500 tonnes of textiles and reused/donated/up-cycled all of it, with the help of Bag2school.
Over the year we built on our connections to co-host a series of drives/swaps in different neighbourhoods and in different situations. During March break we partnered with a local church, Glebe Road United to host a swap on a Saturday, with up-cycling crafts and repairs. We had great volunteers and much more participation. For September, we connected with the Oakwood Village BIA (through Davisville PS), and agreed to host a swap as part of their new Urban Festival series. And as the cold weather approached, we were contacted by the settlement worker at Davisville to help with a clothing drive for a school in need. Beginning in November We partnered with 4 different institutions to co-host a #eternalswapmeet and Winter free shop in one school... beginning in Oakwood Vaughan with Davisville PS we had a clothing drive with two swaps, We began a new connection in Moss Park with Building Roots with a swap in their Moss Park Market- we hope to continue in 2020 with workshops in the same space. Finally came back to Hodgson eco club to wrap it up with a (second annual?) giant clothing drive/swap event bridging into 2020 that we hope will generate more up-cycling possibilities in the new year.
January until May 2019, We continued to apply for grants and re-apply for one that we do eventually get, an Artists in Community Planning grant from the Ontario Arts Council in May 2019. In the meantime we experiment with various ways to play with different communities and make things from different up-cycled materials. In February, we led a sewing workshop with graduating students from Davisville as a cozy things fundraiser (we split the proceeds.) In March we lead a March Break workshop at the daycare camp (80+ kids between 6-12, making parachutes from plastic bags.) We also co-host the swap at Glebe Road United, which includes up-cycling crafts: making T-shirt bags and weaving with T-shirt yarn, and at the end of the month we host a weaving workshop with Seniors at Meighen Retirement home. In April, we have our first booth at an event! We get a double table at the Bowmore Maker Fair, where we create a communal artwork and make inspirational notebooks with GOOS paper, various paper and upholstery fabric samples. We also connect with EvalovesGreen to get another bag or two of fabric samples. At Easter we partner with Appletree Market to eco up their Annual Easter Egg hunt with nests made to catch the plastic eggs. The nests are used as planters later in the Spring.
Summer 2019! We seek out new community connections via drop in workshops every few week at the Tuesday Farmer's Market as part of Renata's garden programming, attended by kids and adults, sometimes in conjunction the library reading program. We also did voluntary work as artists in the garden, making signs and nests, as well as providing programming. As well as connecting with individual eco/art minded people, we built relationships with more community groups: the Toronto Public Library (we have applied for a partnership with them), Appletree Farmer's Market, Renata's Garden in June Rowland's Park, Oakwood BIA, plus participating ad hoc with Protests and Festivals. Through the market manager we connected with the Moss Park Market across town and Building Roots, a food security community building group.
September-December 2019 we experiment with running up-cycling workshops in Mt. Pleasant area. We have no space of our own so we partner in a maker space experiment with Castle Makers to activate the basement of this new houseware/up-cycled furniture/consignment store on Mt. Pleasant, first by hosting a WIP booth outside the shop during the Fall Harvest Festival and then by offering low cost workshops in the basement space.
art experiments turning waste into beauty