We have lead a few workshops in the past couple of months ("workshop season") and every time we do one, we try new approaches. Ontario, for better or for worse, is welcoming in person events again, and we are cautiously on board BUT but we also like the accessibility of the online workshop. Plenty of people- whether because of distance, ability or inclination- prefer online to in person.
We did three workshops in this past couple of months. Here's a summary:
January 26 Scraps challenge! We did a quick summary of the Scraps challenge! workshop, hosted by the Textile Museum of Canada in our last blog post. The entire workshop can be viewed online at the TMC website here.
We were trying to work back and forth between the micro and the macro, techniques, materials and connection of sustainability in this way with larger ideas or sustainable practice. So I did an intro to our collective and ideas of sustainability, Marnie Saskin shared her love of experimenting and her impressive breadth of knowledge and ideas of what to do with scraps. We went a little deeper with a hands on project, making patches from scraps (as a gift to future you) with some beautiful results pictured above. Marnie also gave a studio tour to show how she organizes her scraps AND, because we don't feel there is a "right" approach, only a "right for you" approach, we included another voice via video. Educator/artist Nancy Rawlinson has a different but also compelling approach to working with scraps, check out this video below:
January 29 Upcycle yer sweater workshop As our residency at Double take wrapped up we delivered a workshop about upcycling sweaters that included a small hands on project for participants, making handwarmers. Bit of a tried and true workshop, new audience, so we gave a little profile of us as a collective, but otherwise it was a lively back and forth discussion of all things wooly- very cozy. Plus, Double Take paid us instead of our grant! Sweet. Here's some pictures from the workshop, and below that a description and links to videos
"Great advice for would be up-cyclers on turning an old sweater into useable material- some inspiration -and a simple project to make with your smaller sweater scraps. This is an online workshop hosted by Double Take store and lead by Marnie Saskin with support from Tanya Murdoch and Leah Sanchez, all from Works-in-Progress art collective. Works-in-Progress was one of the artists in residence at Double Take from November 2021-February 2022."
Part one: Intro to Double Take and Works-in-Progress
Part two: all about wool
Part three: making a hand warmer
Part four: deconstructing a sweater + Q and A and some burning
March 4 2022 Cutlery Wrap workshop with Building Roots- In person AND online
We are reunited with Kate Hamilton from Building Roots for the first "Do it Together" workshop in 2022. It is our first indoor in person workshop since the pandemic started (and it was our last as well) and we wanted to keep the workshop as an online version as well. So Marnie was our host and a new artist, Alex Verkade, joined Leah and Kate and I in person at a new location in the east end of Toronto, the Neighbourhood food Hub near Gerrard and Coxwell. The result was a bit loud for the people on zoom (we muted ourselves for much of the time, coming back together to check in, ask questions and show and tell.
I put it all together in a video below, to give an idea of the feel of it and also to hopefully give you some idea of how to make yourself a fabric wrap to carry utensils, cutlery, art supplies or tools. We brought sewing machines to the site and our online participants had their own. It was great to see the fairly new-to-sewing participants in person make their own beautiful wrap- and do a lot of troubleshooting with Leah and Alex along the way. Marnie did a great job of providing clear steps and plenty of alternatives for both people online and in person. It was a lot of fun and really great to be an in person team again.
--blog post by Tanya Murdoch
A note on sustainability: We are able to provide FREE workshops like this because of an Ontario Arts Council Artists in Communities and Schools grant that allows us to pay artist fees and develop samples for the workshops. We also have a Waste Reduction Community Grant from the City of Toronto that allows us to document and share them via video.
Some images from today's online workshop, part of the sustainable Textile Teach-in series run by the Textile Museum of Canada, the fourth one we have done together. This one was Hosted as well by EcoFair Toronto 2020, during #wastereductionweek
Our hosts invited a tailor, Helen, who runs a business called Helen Mends- she began offering repair services in Toronto just a few years ago, with a mission to help divert waste by repairing and teaching repair skills, and it was really great to have her skills in the mix. We hope we can do more collaborations with her in the future!
The workshop was very well attended... the eventbrite was maxed out in a few days so the hosts set up an "overflow room" on youtube live. Hosts estimate 80+ people, and we have heard from the chat, the hosts and on social media that attendants were inspired and had fun so mission accomplished.
Here are the takeaways: If you need to get new clothes, swap, purchase second hand or invest in clothes that are single fiber well made clothes worth the investment. Don't buy more than you need. If you have more than you need, swap or find a new home where you know they are needed before you unload them where they may not be needed. If you manage your own textile waste you know it is not ending up in the landfill, where possible find a new use for old textiles- stuff your own pillow, make rags, repair them or use them as patches. Stylish and fun.
Eco Fair 2020 will be posting the video from today's workshop, and we will be posting excerpts of the useful bits on our website soon. Thanks Aelena, Annette, Leah, Marnie, Helen and all the teams for a great day.
We have begun an interesting group coaching process, with professional coach in training and friend of the Works-in-Progress collective, Amy Brown. We met individually over the past month, and as a group last week. We are her first group coaching experiment, so we are all moving forward in faith, as you do, in the usefulness of the process. So far, very interesting, and as we take steps, the path gets revealed. Here's a link to a VIA strengths quiz, if you like that kind of thing... it's free!
Part of the process is identifying some core values of the group. We are still working on it but on the list was play, creativity, sustainability, and an integrity of purpose. We want the collective to support our members and build a community. To that end we are doing artist talks, seeking funding to both host workshops and pay artists to create online materials.
One of our artists- Ines Scepanovic- has an annual gig as a butter sculptor for the Royal Winter Fair. So awesome. This year they asked her to come back, online, as part of a nation wide online contest. So of course I offered to make a video with her, support her as she ventures into online workshop world. But, should it be a Works-in-Progress thing because, of course, butter sculpture is off brand :) We wrestle with using food in other projects, like rice or flax in hand-warmers, both for the food waste and the cost.
It is a work-in-progress. We are artists and want to make things because they are beautiful and sometimes that means using material that is not up-cycled or recyclable or even toxic, but materials and alternatives are always part of the discussion.
For now, some play. The skills Ines shares in this video transfer to working with other material And, while butter sculpture is wasteful, it is not toxic, it is ephemeral and, in the end, as Ines says, if your hands were clean, you can always keep your finished sculpture in the fridge and use it on your toast.
there is another video on our instagram feed- she did make the chicks in the end as well.
art experiments turning waste into beauty