We are working on a lot, and have a lot to work out, which makes it hard to stop and write a newsletter. Plus there is the lure of the sun and the grass and the kayaking and the kite flying (more on that below) But in any case, here it is, as always, a work in progress; the house is a mess, but come on in and check us out.
First, the joy: happy Pride! What a great time to celebrate love in all its shades - Daniel Quasar designed the Progress Pride flag in 2018 (which has been Works-in-Progressed above - ha! by Tanya Murdoch @seeing.things.clearly) which adds in brown and black stripes as a response to Black Lives Matter and explicitly including Trans people in the flag. Art doing some heavy inclusion lifting. We encourage you to make your own flag (more on that below) and to recognize that we are part of the rainbow, we are all humans able to give and receive love, no one is more normal than anyone else. Here are some samples of the array of pride flags to get you started. (Flag samples below by artist Alexa Slane-Roser. Photo credit: Andrea Slane)
Making things is an artist's way to develop understanding. We literally call it our process. And, while we are very wary (or should be) of appropriation,* as a settler, if you spend a day beading with a master moccasin maker, you gain respect for the craft and the history behind it. Just, please, don't try to sell moccasins. In that spirit, we led a pattern making workshop this Spring with the Textile Museum of Canada; when you take something apart and study how it was made and emulate that original work, you develop respect for the maker. We seek out the source unmediated, like the Do-it-Together workshop we hosted with Gomo George and his daughter Abby, who shared the traditional Dominican art of kitemaking.
And, in joy and in sorrow, we make art as a way to make sense of things that make no sense. There is a new blog post on our website about processing, specifically processing responses to the 215 children's bodies found in the site of a former residential schools in Kamloops. *taking the images or style of another person or culture that you are not part of and don't understand and claim it as your own
(flags at half mast photo credit Tanya Murdoch)
A gift: this is from Tanya Murdoch, one of the founders of Works-in-Progress, a video artist and painter. Tanya is a settler who grew up in the traditional territories of coastal First Nations in BC, mostly territories of the Haida and Tsimpsean "I have been (straight) married since 2000 to a Cree man from Opaskwayak Cree Nation... we have two children who are Cree (and Scottish) and our eldest gave this speech about Residential schools in 2015 at her school, when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was still active, and she was 12. We noticed that many well-meaning settlers are upset about learning about these 215 children specifically and our shared history more broadly, but don't know how to talk to their kids or each other about it. So this is a gift from my family, you can watch and share. I recently added close captions and tried to improve the audio but it still sounds like it was recorded in a small school gym (which it was) Enjoy and share..."
To learn more: the Truth and Reconciliation Commission published their report 6 years ago (this week) all about the legacy of residential schools, with 94 calls to action (including a call for churches to release their records on children who died in their care) The message to remember from survivors, as part of Orange Shirt Day in September is simple and profound: Every Child Matters.
As a collective, we take this call seriously, and with deliberate joy. We work with children and youth as members of our collective, as volunteers and collaborators. The children we know are amazing- accepting and resilient and creative and varied and inclusive. As adults, the more we accept them in all their shades, the safer they are and the richer we all are. As we go into summer, we are recruiting youth to help with our Works-in-Progress projects, and need volunteers to help us making kits, refining workshops, sharing ideas. We can all learn from each other. Let us know if you have high school students in need of volunteer hours.
Read on to find more ways that we are seeking to play, learn, inspire and be inspired into the summer.
Coming up: Bunting Flag kits collaboration with the Appletree Group in Davisville Village
We are collaborating with our community partners Appletree Group on a community project- Covid 19 safety protocols mean they must make clear paths bordering and withing their weekly farmer's market in June Rowlands Park. We offered to solicit help to replace their caution tape with beautiful, reusable up-cycled bunting through crowd sourced labour... We will make bunting kits available at the entrance of the market- tentative date June 29th- and have a demo table up by the community garden to help members of the community to make their own rows of bunting to support this much loved local farmer's market. This is also a fundraiser for the Appletree Group, with pay-what-you-can (suggested donation $10) for the kits, 50% goes to Appletree and 50% to us to cover material costs. Also, anyone can participate FOR FREE using upcycled sheets or old clothes plus our resources online. To find out more, follow us on instagram @works.in-progress.to or Appletree Group @appletreeto. This is part of their #regrowto project, regrowing community in Toronto and on our part,this project is supported by the City of Toronto through its Waste Reduction Community Grantsand by the Ontario Arts Council through its Artists in Education and School Grants.
Follow up: a successful kite-making workshop with artists Gomo George and Abby Bird-George- find out more online!
photo credit: Douglas Sanderson (@NDNwithaLeica)
This was the second workshop we did this year with Building Roots, as part of the Do it Together workshop series, curated by Kate Hamilton out of the Moss Park Market, now online. Sunday was a great day to make (and fly) kites- sunny and windy; the life long kitemaker (and artist) Gomo George and Abby Bird-George, led us through a step-by-step workshop on making our own kites from up-cycled materials. Kate wanted to make sure that participants had materials on hand, so we did a lot of prep: young artist Jakob B. made up a set of 16 kits for distribution at Moss Park Market; Graphic artist Treya Beaulieu made up a gorgeous "Make your own kite" pamphlet (based on the prep done by the lead artists) and Tanya Murdoch co-hosted the workshop, then edited together a 15 minute video of the workshop for those who couldn't make it. As Gomo says " the main reason for making a kite is to fly it. It is one of the most relaxing things you can do, to see your kite flying in the sky, tail fluttering in the breeze..."
Thanks so much team and especially Gomo and Abby for sharing your knowledge.
See more pix, video and support materials on our website.
Making Connections with DoubleTake (Yonge Street Mission) and Helen Frank
We like the work done by the Yonge Street Mission and their storefront DoubleTake... we have donated clothes from our clothing swaps and like some of their past programming, so when we noticed they were hosting a three part mending series online with Helen Frank, we reached out to offer to record the session and make a short video to share with their community and ours. This is work supported by the City of Toronto through its Waste Reduction Community Grants
I was also able to repair some pants. We hope to play more in the future! If you missed the first workshops, you can see more details and the video online on our blog. You can also join the last FREE workshop (troubleshooting- bring your questions or even better, contact them via instagram @doubletakeYSM
BEHIND THE SCENES: donations, close captioning, volunteering
New to us art supplies: Nancy Rawlinson aka Ms R is one of the inspirational educators we have been privileged to work with over the past 10 years or so. She is retiring this year and willed us access to her drawers of plenty... yarn, sewing and beading supplies, wool for spinning, paper and art supplies, fabric, trays for dying... as we said, an amazing educator who did marvelous things with her 7-8 year old grade 2/3 students. We are grateful for the trust and will make good use of it all.
Clothing donations: As part of the donation from the school we also are stewarding the lost and found collection from the past 2 years. So many shoes. Double Take is accepting donations by appointment and sorted so that is a side project for the next month.
Volunteers: We are assembling kits to support online workshops. We have started collaborating with high school volunteers to create kits in exchange for volunteer hours- Jakob B. made up our kite kits distributed through Moss Park Market, and we will be seeking help to make bunting kits for the Appletree Farmer's market - please contact us if you are interested in art-based volunteering
Download copies of our 'ZINE: EXTEMBER and contribute to next issues
We have started a 'zine. It lives online and once a volume is complete, we will post the PDF so you can download, print, and staple your own copy. Our first four volumes (FOOD, Sticks & Stones plus two volumes of PLANTS) are online. Please take a look and share. We are currently working on our CLOTH edition.
With the 'zine we wanted a creative space to stash and share what we have (collectively) learned through this experience and playful, visual ways to inspire reuse and make. The running themes are FOOD, STICKS and STONES, PLANTS and CLOTH. we had some great contributions in these issues, welcome more. (Respond to this email with questions or contributions). You can read more about it on our website HERE
Community initiatives of interest: Appletree Farmer's market, Building Roots impact statement, Ashbridges Farm is growing, Textile Museum of Canada FREE fashion and up-cycling discussion and WIP artist enterprise- hand spun yarn.
Appletree Group is has restarted their weekly Farmer's Markets in midtown Toronto (Tuesday 3-7 in June Rowlands Park and Thursdays north of St. Clair on Yonge) along with a fundraising initiative to promost community building projects in Midtown and downtown called #regrowTO find out more on their website or social https://www.appletreemarkets.ca/
The Building Roots market has been operating throughout the pandemic, providing food and social cohesion in the Moss Park Market 11-4 every Saturday, and we were excited to be mentioned in their Impact 2020 report. Their community garden at Ashbridges Farm provides some food for the market, and is run by community volunteers. Kate Hamilton, lead farmer, will be providing information and running some pop up "have a heart" and repotting activities at the market 11-12 this Saturday.
The Textile Museum of Canadatextilemuseumofcanada has started an online project called Social Being series, and the FREE talk this Thursday is up our alley: Recycling in Fashion!
On June 10 from 4-5:30 pm, Guest Programmer and Studio Magazine editor-in-chief Nehal El-Hadi (@iamnehal) will be in conversation with Anika Kozlowski (@anikazofia) Assistant Professor of Fashion Design, Ethics and Sustainability at Ryerson University and Tanya Théberge (@t.theberge) creative director and founder of responsibly-sourced fashion brand Tanya Théberge to explore the different ways recycling and upcycling are addressed in the fashion industry.
This program is FREE, please register to attend HERE
Handspun yarn and other woolly goods: WIP Artist Safiya Saskin has started offering handspun wool via Instagram- new wool drops every Monday follow @yarn.af for all her wares (including pompom earrings and woven items) check out the merino wool number below
Something to try: Make your own Pride Flag
Stores, homes, schools and other institutions that hang a rainbow flag to support Pride or display signs like "Black Lives Matter" not only make everyone feel welcome, they also make us all safer by demonstrating that intolerance is not okay. It doesn't have to be mass produced... you can colour a paper flag, paint an old pillowcase, or stitch together scraps of cloth like the photo above or wrap your tree in all the colours of the rainbow and beyond.