Visible Mending and Repair: a sustainable textile workshop with the Textile Museum of Canada (June 17th)
Marnie Saskin summarized the spirit of visible mending: mending used to be shameful but necessary, but now we are celebrating the work and the beauty of the work by making it visible. The photos below are show and tell from the workshop, plus some of the inspiration including Textile artist Anna Torma and her upcoming exhibit at the Textile Museum of Canada, and one of the samples of mending that Marnie's friend (and artist) Anna Borstad generously let us use. You can see more of her work here. We were also inspired by (but not experts in) Molas from the Kuna people Indigenous to the San Blas islands east of the Panama canal (here is a website I found just now, may be informative, can't really say) and the traditional Japanese Sashiko style mending (again, here is someone else's website)
A celebration of patching and mending at the Textile Museum of Canada in our third collaborative effort. We love working with the Textile Museum of Canada, and especially the people who participate in the workshops. This was another team effort, lead by textile artist/artisan Marnie Saskin and the questions from the participants. The video below gives you the flavour and most of the substance of the workshop. I left out the darning because we talked about that in a previous workshop but otherwise I included the back and forth as that really was part of the process. Lots of show and tell and very satisfied makers fired up to look for more holes to fill!
(3-4pm) Register now for an up-cycled kite making workshop on Thursday June 18th 3-4 pm! Contact us for a zoom invitation, All ages/families welcome.
Father's day is in a week- make a kite and share with your dad. We would like to gather some humans for a virtual family kite-making session, lead by a father daughter team (bonus dad points): artist Gomo George and his daughter Abeyomi (Abey) Bird-George. Abey is a former hairdresser and trained sommelier/ cocktail creator so she is good with her hands, very creative and a most welcome dinner guest. Gomo is a multimedia visual artist and storyteller; you can see a storytelling session in this video or check out an article with some images of his beautiful paintings of Dominican Carnival in Moko magazine here. He also has worked in front line social work as a programmer for many years, including institutions like the Stop and Fred Victor, and connected Works-in-Progress with Fred Victor to donate men's clothing after Works-in-Progress swaps events.
We are also cousins. When my family moved to Toronto in 2000, Gomo and his partner Atik and their kids were our local family, and when our kids were born they were our support- food, childcare, art. So in the video above, they made a zillion homemade kites for the kids at my daughter's birthday party. Gomo learned to do this as a kid growing up in Dominica, and has worked on his designs over the years and taught his own kids and now you can benefit from their experience to make your own kite, just in time for Father's day.
I also found this comic (below) I made back in 2010 about the kite teachings of "Aunty Omi" and Gomo. There are more of these comics on the Tanya Murdoch portfolio website here.
Upcoming workshops: we will be co-hosting a visible repair workshop at the Textile Museum of Canada on June 17th (already booked up) and then return on the 25th of June with Marnie Saskin for a WIP drop in version of the same workshop - same time as the kite workshop and then, two weeks later, we hope to return with some practical tips on altering clothes. You can contact us if you want to receive the zoom invitations to these drop in workshops.
We had our fist WIP hosted online roundtable, and it was super fun. We lead with socks, some up-cycling ideas we had heard or tried, got into a sock darning tutorial, made sock balls (could have made a few more, but you live, you learn) and did some show and tell, brainstorming and more socks. Here are a few ideas and then our darning tutorial:
First, socks: I showed how to make simple sock balls from 2-3 socks. Marnie shared her knee high rainbow door stopper (happy Pride!) and we talked about socks as masks, refurbished into slippers, used for chia pets, remade into toys and possibly used as poi by the cool kids on the beach (I didn't know what that was, here's a bunch of demos) We also talked about the cozy things fundraiser we did last year with grade 6 grads, making socks into wrist-warmers (started a mini craze) and hipster cupholders.
Show and tell: what had our lovely participants been making from things on hand? so many things. Danielle is a collage artist and has been creating DIY kits for her neighbourhood and beyond. Diane made chalk from eggshells, Leslie is spinning her own wool from dog hair and knitting a scarf (as well as feeding people via the people's pantry)
And repair. Marnie joked that she is doing all these winter prep activities, but she will be so ready when the seasons change. She will have: slippers (cut out the sole of a favourite sock and replace with a sweater) and new socks made from old sweaters and a doorstopper to stop the breezes and of course, we talked about darming socks. Learn some visible repair style in the video below:
We are - all of us, everywhere - having to connect at a distance these days, and much of that connection has moved online- with various success. Whatever version you use, the online meet up experience can be dreadful if you are using it for business meetings all day, However, it is a medium that can be used many different ways and we at Works-in-Progress have been experimenting with this medium and participating in the experiments of others to find ways to build community and create together online. Here is a roundup:
Life drawing classes! Thanks WIP artist Ines Scepanovic for turning us onto this group, organized out of Scotland with models around the world, participation by donation. I used up all my drawing paper 8-11 Sunday morning. The model is pinned to centre screen, better hooked up to your TV or larger screen, only recording on paper. Warn your fellow home dwellers about the naked folks on tv.
Live theatre reading: WIP artist Leah Sanchez and I have children at the same school, in drama, and her son organized a reading of The Princes Bride- some great quotes about masks by Wesley as the dread pirate Roberts. This was hilarious, whoever was reading (or laughing) showed up on screen, but you could see the other actors sword fighting in their little boxes. Very entertaining for participants and audience alike, with the structure dictating order.
Interactive workshop hosted by museum with volunteers: We have done two of these with the Textile Museum of Canada, both times with a curated group of makers, so everyone had opinions and brought show and tell and curiosity, it made for a lively workshop... two workshop leaders and an active host so there was a lot of back and forth, felt very warm. Another one coming up soon about repair, will share once they do.
Birthday party: only two computers with a family and cake at both ends. good for game playing too... too many people in a party, no matter how well meaning, hard to take turns and I think people feel disconnected and drift away.
Do it Together skill sharing: a curated themed gathering of people sharing skills and passions, coordinated by two ever curious hosts. At the last meeting on Sunday May 24th, the theme was working with nature, and included tree walk, poetry, puppetmaking, interview with a propmaster, a meditation on trees and WIP artist Leah Sanchez doing an artist talk about her passion project of 10 years, Resurrection Furniture and Found Art Gallery.
Appletree Markets TV Community activators, denied a venue for their seasonal urban farmer's markets, are taking their community show online, with weekly webcasts on youtube, featuring interviews and profiles of community members and vendors from their markets. This week their show included our video promoting OUR next online adventure, featuring socks (see below)
Works-in-Progress Drop in upcycling workshops and discussion: These will be bi-monthy free workshops, come and go as you please for WIP members and friends and community members, with simple ideas for up-cyling and a featured project every week to make with materials on hand. We start this Thursday, May 28th! EMAIL US TO REGISTER FOR THE ZOOM INVITE firstname.lastname@example.org
Drawing on Air: this last one is happening Friday May 29th and seems pretty cool: a directed communal drawing event guided by audio rather than visuals. Hosted by a gallery and radio station in Halifax, drawing then shared after on social media to see and compare.
What a pleasure to hang out with the lovely Building Roots team again.
When the stay home protocol began in reaction to COVID 19, we had done quite a few of the Do it Together workshops hosted by Kate Hamilton from Building Roots,
Building Roots facilitators and friends got together last Thursday for a trial online version of the Do it Together workshops usually hosted in the Moss Park Market space. The workshop featured: poetry, birdsong, garden tips, birdfeeder crafting, music appreciation, guided meditation and discussion about community PLUS this walkthrough on making a beeswax wrap (video above featuring Works-in-Progress artists Tanya Murdoch)
I followed another tutorial online to do this the first time, you can find that link on our useful info page. Here are some notes:
Some things to remember: beeswax wraps are a reusable alternative to cling wrap, the original wax paper, and they can be made from repurposed old shirts, sheets... just wash them first and cut them up into squares, circles... a shirt may inspire you as sleeves or pockets can work as little snack or lunch bags with little sewing.
-Beeswax is anti-microbial, so the wraps will keep naturally food fresh and resist mold
-they can be wrapped directly around cheese or vegetables or sandwiches, but should not replace butcher paper for meat
-you can use as a cover. if they do not stick enough just tie with elastic or string.
-additions of oil or rosin can make them more malleable and more sticky, more like cling wrap.
-you can wash them with soap and cold water at the sink. Don't wash in hot water or the wax will melt.
To make simple wraps you need:
upcycled cotton or linen cloth (manmade fabrics may melt)
can also add rosin or oil to change qualities.
Works-in-Progress artists and community started getting into mask making, experimenting with and researching the science and art behind mask making, and on April 15th we co-hosted our second online tutorial with the Textile Museum of Canada. Check it out! This one was by invite only, so we invited museum volunteers and Kate Hamilton from Building Roots. It was a very friendly and inquisitive group and so cool to be an official part of the TExtile Museum community.
The video above is some hands on demonstrations of the simple no sew or simple sewn masks recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) In a separate video we look through some of the many clever mask-making tutorials online these days, some personal show and tell mask making shared experiences and then a hands on step by step walk through of a favourite pattern used by WIP artist Marnie Saskin. You can see that video here: Adaptations to patterns for personal use masks: a discussion/demo
There is a lot of interest in making and wearing masks these days, especially since the CDC and Canada Public Heath changed their recommendation about wearing masks for personal use (they are for it, with some qualifiers) We were also inspired by Facebook group the Sewing Army (organized by Diana Coatsworth) who have established an amazing all volunteer army of makers, drivers, donors and organizers to make thousands of masks and get them where they are needed. It's amazing. We were able to divert some of our stash and just act as conduit for others to the cause, and have made a few masks for our local community following their lead.
There was a lot of side info collected by Leah Sanchez from the Textile Museum, I include some links below. Here is her explanation for the event and some links below. the rest of the tutorials can be linked to on our useful info page:
Why are we doing this?
We would like to provide our audience with the tools and resources they need to make their own protective masks. We are not advocating for one particular way of making masks, but we want to encourage people to educate themselves and try out what will work for their personal circumstances. We are promoting a maker mentality, focusing on using materials that are readily available in our homes and taking into account different skill levels and abilities.
Michael Garron 1000 mask challenge World Health Organization Advice on the use of masks in the context of Covid-19
An in-depth article from Wired about the pros/cons of wearing masks: https://www.wired.com/story/its-time-to-face-facts-america-masks-work/
Two articles discussing a study from the UK on most effective materials:
4. How to put on and take off your mask https://www.sfcdcp.org/communicable-disease/healthy-habits/how-to-put-on-and-remove-a-face-mask/
5. Surgical cap patterns
On April 15th we co-hosted our second online tutorial with the Textile Museum of Canada. This one was by invite only, where the museum invited museum volunteers and Kate Hamilton from Building Roots. It was a very friendly and inquisitive group, we will be posting videos here along with a full report in collaboration with our hosts later this week.
Experiments with natural dyes- onion skins and eggshells plus some frozen blueberries... inspired by Textile Museum of Canada featured artist Maria Tapal @zmarie93. You can see her tutorial in their Instagram "show and tell" story.
This was an experiment based on what was around. The onion skins had been aspirational in jars for "sometime". For blue, best I could find in house was some frozen blueberries- more subtle than I would have thought considering how they stain everything else.
I followed the same method as Marie outlined in her natural dying fabric tutorial: simmer the onion skins in a pot for about 20-30 minutes. I used red and yellow onion skins but there was not much difference. Yellow onion skins made a more vibrant orange, red more of a brown... she cautions against too much heat as it dulls the colour. Also, the dye works better when it's warm.
Marie strained the skins out for a more even dye bath but they make bonus random textures on the eggshells. So, these were all made with commodity white eggs and basically two colours, and then various mark making: melted candle for a resist, tied on various green things from outside and the fridge with elastics, string, net from lemons. Very satisfying!
Poured the leftover dye back in jars and knotted up some bits of old fabric to see how they look- still soaking.
This past week we did our first ever online workshop as guest facilitators with the Textile Museum of Canada. We had three runthroughs in advance of the event, because we agreed to open it up beyond our comfort level, but had great support from all involved. It was great! and full- 42 people on the waitlist so we will likely do it again.
We are currently between grants so this is all volunteer for Works-in-Progress, but the benefits for our group are worth it. First, we are applying for grants to develop online materials and skills (because zeitgeist) so the experience is great. Plus, it is a great way to give back and fill a need in the maker community (because karma) And it was so much fun to meet the participants- people from Ohio, Yukon, Maine, North Dakota, London Ontario. The facilitators were in basements and kitchens and home studios in Toronto and Hamilton. And we are able to meet people beyond the teach in because of the huge maker community connected with the Textile Museum of Canada- many more people have been checking out our webpage, connecting on instagram and subscribing to the newsletter- welcome!
And finally, more benefits: in my other hat I am a video editor/producer at Cityline and have a production company called HomemadeTV where I make videos with small groups and organizations celebrating community and telling stories. So I took the recorded workshop and made some shorter online resources like the one above. This video is all about up-cycled wool sweaters as a inspirational material for artists and artisans, and properties of wool that make it so attractive to work with.
Marnie Saskin is a WIP artist but also has a home studio where she makes beautiful up-cycled goods (there's a few pix below.) She is an artist/scientist and knows a lot about wool through research and experimentation and experience and shares some of that knowledge in the video above. Check out the video or her website for more inspiration!
We have had people reaching out with donations to the Works-in-Progress project so thank you! I have also started sharing supplies with people who are making masks or need things to do during this time. And personally, I have really enjoyed the care packages from friends and families. Everything has to sit outside or be wiped down which runs counter to my natural inclination, but learning patience as well.
Storage is, as always, a problem so if anyone wants to make use of some of these donations, please let us know email@example.com. Here are some things that have arrived by mail or porch delivery or gloved hand-off. Thanks you all for donating and making and for your kindness and generousity.
art experiments turning waste into beauty