Equinox is a day to celebrate cycles. The growing part after being fallow is always exciting! This is our first tiny shoot of garlic coming up in the raised boxes we put on our driveway, which we planted late in the fall. We hoarded some garlic bulbs from groceries to plant, so we're really excited it worked (so far!)
Works-in-Progress is all about making closed loop systems beautiful and fun. This little baby garlic is part of a cycle at our house that we've slowly been working on for a couple of years, and best of all, it includes bunnies!
These are Foofy and Sherlock, who are the angora bunny members of our family. Sherlock sadly died last year, but her buddy Foofy is still munching away, shedding so much angora fibre, and, very importantly, pooping.
So much bunny poop.
Foofy's litter (yes, bunnies can be litter trained!) feeds into a part of our household cycle: our compost. I was so excited when we built this!
Other things that go in our compost: veggie scraps. Being vegetarian, there are lots of those. Things that don't go in our compost: dairy, fat, grains (the rats and raccoons around here already have plenty to eat!) We keep our eggshells, dry them and grind them once or twice a year to add as well, to get some calcium in there. Looking at waste as a resource starts being habitual the more practice we get. Start with upcycling your sweaters at a Works-in-Progress workshop and next thing you know there's a container of eggshells on your counter ;-)
After the compost sits for a year, magic happens. The hay, the rabbit poop and the veggie scraps turn into gold:
Our first crop last summer was greens. One of the surprise benefits of using your scraps as compost is random old potatoes that survive the winter cozy in the compost then decide to sprout and grow more potatoes!
We use that deliciousness food for energy to brush Foofy, and he also gives us soft soft fibre that my daughter turns into yarn.
Which I turn into:
So happy equinox and happy thinking about the cycles in your household too!
Anna Borstad is an artist and mender in Hamilton; she has been experimenting with mending and repair for many years. During the pandemic, Anna started offering her repair services to her neighbours as a way of giving back. Anna views mending as a Revolutionary Act, taking pride in making clothes last, the visible mend is a badge of honour, worn on your butt.
We have no desire to, as they say, reinvent the wheel. There are literally gazillions (gazillions!) of people who know how to weave, sew, felt, full, quilt, darn, knit, hook and otherwise manipulate fabric and many of them have generously shared these ancient media techniques in the modern fashion online (we have posted a few on this website under"useful info" ) But sometimes trying to do things "right" can keep you from starting.
We are interested in the artist's approach, the experimenters who learn through doing, researching and questioning. We are interested in works-in-progress, and want to join the journey.
Part of the Works-in-Progress manifesto is to share skills and encourage makers, so when Anna wanted to run an online mending workshop, we offered to host the workshop online if she advertised and ran it- and it worked out great! The workshop quickly filled up with neighbours and friends (about 20 people) and Anna led a fantastic, inspiring mending session, which we recorded. She came to (metaphorically) teach us to fish; to share not just how to mend clothes but encourage all participants to join the mending revolution. She is inspired by the problems of each mend, and has years of experimenting under her belt- her enthusiasm for repair is infectious.
This first video Anna clearly lays out the basic rules you need to know to approach your mend-: knits vs. weaves, patching vs. darning- and gives you permission to ignore the rules.
If you want get some more specific tips and steps, the two videos below are step by step approaches to a simple top patch and a simple woven darn. Settle in! Grab those PJs or socks you have been meaning to fix and press play.
art experiments turning waste into beauty