I traveled south with the Works-in-Progress manifesto on my bag, my teenager and 6 12-year olds in tow, We joined other adults and kids en route and formed a band. The kids were dressed in Orange shirts in honour of Orange Shirt day coming up on Monday, because this Fridays for Future Climate strike is a day where adults are supposed to be listening to children and the orange shirts remind us that every child matters. Also, it made them more visible in the huge crowd at the rally and on the march, estimated at between 15-20,000 energized and invested people concerned about the world we live in.
Our favourite works-in-Progress message sign was "Create more Consume less" but I also likes the "Use less paper" on a little post it sized sign. We at Works-in-Progress try to make reusing fun, but really would like to have producers make less waste in the first place. We don't need our cucumbers wrapped in plastic. For our part, there is a new post on our useful links page to a New York Times article about how to buy sustainable clothes, and we are hosting a DIY costume making workshop in October so you can make a costume from up-cycled or repurposed materials. check out our calendar for info or contact us with questions.
There are many benefits to a clothing swap.
First, new outfits for all! When we pass on our old clothes to our community and our neighbours (and ourselves) and get some new-to-us fancy frocks and shiny slacks. Also we avoid textile waste.
Second, once the swap is over, the clothes that weren't taken are already sorted into type and size and we can pass them on in a useful way to other groups. In this case we got almost no men's clothes, but some very nice women's clothes so we brought a trunk load to Double Take, which supports the work of the Yonge street Mission. And we passed on the children's clothes to Rawlinson PS for their cool Curriculum night Free Store (we did the same last spring with the Davisville Used Book Sale )
Finally, we are building community. When we all trust each other and do favours for each other the community web of relations grows stronger. Oakwood Bia trusted us to do the swap and gave us their support. Oakwood library let us store tables and tents so we could set up Saturday morning, Davisville PS let us use their lobby as a collection site for clothes and the school council let us use their tent and tables for the swap and to collect in Mt. Pleasant area. The Davisville eco club loaned us their woven mats. Donations of clothes came from Mt. Pleasant and Oakwood/Vaughan area, Friends loaned us a van, more tables, Works-in-Progress members donated time and tools, businesses in Oakwood Village let us advertise in their windows and on bulletin boards. Community leaders and trustees advertised and promoted the swap event in both areas and for all this we are grateful and our communities are stronger.
Our first experiment with a paid workshop... and a slow start, but as always, we learn a lot when we get together. We had one paid participant, but more shop customers and neighbours dropping by with interest. The shop upstairs smelled like beeswax and no one seemed to mind, so a good start to the Maker space experiment.
Next month we will be doing "costume consulting workshops" we are still working on the structure but want to help people realize their vision and make/alter/create their own costumes with our help, but keep the workshop accessible. October 6 & 20, same place- Castle Makers at 608 Mt. Pleasant Road.
Some of the experiments for you maker nerds: we tried adding pine resin (makes wrap softer and stickier) using open weave linen (nice texture but not so stiff, less like plastic cling wrap) making bigger wraps for casserole trays (15"x18" for a 9 x 12" pan) and smaller wraps for glasses. We also tried sewing & waxing lunch bags and bread bags (took longer to distribute the wax evenly.) Also we worked with fabric that benefited from the yellowness of the beeswax.
Thank you to Leona for coming and playing with us and Leslie for dropping by with an extra iron and Sheryl for hosting.
Wow. I think we made 50+ sun catchers with children of all ages and from all over Toronto,,.and beyond! We had intended to make macrame hangers and did make 5-6 with people out for the fair but the beautiful day really sold the sun catchers- They are made from mason jar lids and contact paper, yarn and bits of plants, esp. gorgeous leaves this time of year. You can see a few of the inspired designs made with the plants and leaves gathered from backyards and parks en route to the fair. Thanks to Leah, Lukas, Aliya, Sheryl and Amy for your hands on help and Douglas and Otis for your moral support. Tomorrow we are back for a beeswax wrap making workshop at Castle Makers, 608 Mt. Pleasant. In the photos above you can see a giant monarch butterfly shopping out front of the store, the workshop will be in the basement. And all day we were serenaded by super funky Turbo street Funk
Well, that was fun! And successful in all measures. We had as many pre-donated clothes as we could manage, with more walk in donors on the day as well. We had walk in shoppers filling $5 bags, people bought some of our beeswax kits, interested makers may join group or participate in upcoming workshops, donors shopped for free and we found a bagful of clothes for a woman in need at the end of the day. We met drummers, makers, politicians, community organizers and entrepreneurs and educators and artists and ate cookies and kombucha and hula hooped and drummed and shopped and made things, saw dancers and singers and the sun shone and all was well with the world.
Now we have the follow up, and leftover redistribution. We had some very nice women's clothing which we will bring to the Yonge Street Mission's "Double take" store. The children's clothes will go to Rawlinson PS for their curriculum night "Free shop" and a rummage sale fundraiser for Manor Rd. Coop. We kept a few things for our art making and our own closets- it was a good swap!
This is the first time we have held a swap in Oakwood Village, first time outdoors (last two markets had rain) and first where we had to bring EVERYTHING (including all donations and our own roof) to the site on the day of the event. So... we reached out for help. Davisville PS/Spectrum allowed us to use their temporary home at Vaughan Road Academy as a donation site, Appletree Market let us take donations at their Tuesday farmer's market, to spread the donation umbrella wider. Oakwood village merchants let us put up posters and the Oakwood Village library, while they couldn't be a donation site, have allowed us to store our tent and tables (also borrowed from friends and Davisville school council) because the school can't be accessed on Saturday. Nia centre for the arts, trustee Shelley Laskin, Rawlinson PS, the Ontario school of Ballet and Arts and Davisville PS all helped to spread the word as well, and we are grateful.
We hope to have lots of participants and a sunny day on Saturday, but we feel ready, with a really solid base of clothes and community- see you all there.
art experiments turning waste into beauty