April 2021 Earth Month!

Cancelling plans is hard - especially when it is something you really want to do.  But as a wise human we know has said, "I never regret a cancelled meeting." So, while we have managed to adapt and rework our plans throughout this pandemic, this month we realized that there was just no way to do a clothing swap; even a COVID safe version like we did back in September.  This is hard to accept because we, Works-in-Progress, really really love clothing swaps. We love meeting our neighbours, the collaboration, the "new-to-me" excitement combined with the "there-is-enough-for-everyone" vibe.  We usually host an Earth Day swap in a neighbourhood or two, and a Back-to-School one as well. Those are our swap seasons :-)  And we had planned to expand this year! So exciting!  We had support from our city councilors, and were in communication with Public Health (though their response, even back in February was lovely but basically "Eeeep! Please, not right now!")

As the pandemic wore on and we approached, and then passed Earth Day, we hemmed and hawed about our spring clothing swap. Our Back-to-School 2020 "Covid-19 safe" version had gone so well, when the numbers were lower and the guidelines more flexible. People's needs don't stop in a pandemic, kids don't stop growing. Not everyone is able, wants, or can afford to shop for clothes online. Was it safe? When would it be safe?  
More hemming (see what I did there? ;-) ) and hawing. We debated if we should have things ready for when it's safe again. Being prepared is good, right? Maybe we should move it to summer? Having things to look forward to is good, right? But what if we have to cancel it?

And then we realized. There are other good things. Like stopping. Pausing. Making room for what's doable instead of what "should" be done.

There will be no Works-in-Progress Earth Day swap this year. There was relief in the virtual room when we decided; a lifting of anxiety in already anxious times, which is also good.

We'll cross our fingers and look forward to our Back-to-School swap in September 2021. In the meantime, we'll cherish this scrounged mental space.

If you have swap-ish clothes needs, we recommend inter-family pass-me-downs, your friendly local buy nothing group or Bunz, or just keeping any ear/eye out and passing hot clothing tips around. Oh! And check out our "ReLove Your Clothes" challenges coming up and our Visible Mending & Making Your Own Patterns workshop videos.  We haven't stopped looking at ways to play, as you will see in this newsletter.
Read our latest Blog post now
 In this newsletter:
  • Coming up: Kite- making workshop as part of the Building Roots' Do it Together Series (May 23 3-4pm)
  • Coming up: Working with artists to create a video series: Artist approach to Repair + Reuse
  • Follow up: March/ April workshops at  the Textile Museum and Building Roots 
  • ONLINE: BLOG posts on bunting, our partnership with community group Building Roots and the spinning of the Earth PLUS new video featuring Helen Frank (of @Helenmendsto)
  • ONLINE: Extember! two new issues of our zine with theme of plants
  • Spotlight on community initiatives REWILD and Appletree farmer's market reopening midtown May 11.
  • What you can make: Relove your clothes (a new online challenge)
  • Find out more:  Links
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Don't forget you can follow us on Instagram or check out our blog at and please reach out with comments, suggestions or to volunteer time, space or skills to the collective

Coming up: May 22, 3-4pm, a kite-making workshop with artists Gomo George and Abby Bird-George as part of the Building Roots Do it Together series

We are happy to be working with Building Roots, and are especially excited to be part of the friendly umbrella of the Do it Together workshop series, curated by Kate Hamilton out of the Moss Park Market, now online.

Our second workshop this year is planned for Sunday, May 22nd from 3-4 pm. It is a simple project to make your days more playful: make your own kite!  The kite we are making is a simple, but effective (it really works!) square kite made from a plastic shopping bag, string, and dowels. This workshop is lead by artists Gomo George and Abby Bird-George, kite-makers extraordinaire. Kits will be available to registrants at Moss Park Market on Saturday, May 22, 11-4 pm. 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..." 

Workshop details are still to be confirmed, but the link below will work once the event is posted. Details will also be posted on our Instagram account or on the website calendar.
This project is supported by the City of Toronto through its Waste Reduction Community Grants and by the Ontario Arts Council through its Artists in Education and School Grants.
Register for the workshop now or find out more about DIT series

Coming up: Working with artists to create a video series: Artist approach to Repair + Reuse

Artists have a unique approach to reuse and repair, usually finding their own path to making things whole.  It is an approach that works for some of us, where the step-by-step instructions may not.  To explore this, we will be interviewing artists who repair/reuse items or make use of found objects in their work, developing transferable skills on the way. 

The first artist featured is a musician, Greg Chambers, who (with his wife Lisa Nighswander) have been part of the Toronto indie music scene since the 1990s. (Currently, they play together as part of the band Away Forward). They have also spent many years working in theatre production and when the pandemic hit, Greg found both skills served him well and developed a side hustle of fixing amps and other musical electronics. VIDEO ONLINE SOON

This project is supported by the City of Toronto through its Waste Reduction Community Grants and by the Ontario Arts Council through its Artists in Education and School Grants.

Follow up: online workshops with Building Roots Do it Together series and the Textile Museum's Sustainable Textile Teach-in series.

We have done two online workshops since our last newsletter.
Building Roots' Do it Together workshop series is back, baby, and we were happy to step into the main series for a guest host opportunity. WIP made a simple T-shirt shopping bag and talked about clothing swaps with participants. T-shirt kits were available through Moss Park Market for participants. The T-shirts (harvested from past clothing swaps) were used for bags, passed on, or worn. All options were welcomed as, ultimately, we want to keep clothes in play.
We took the opportunity to share some of our past Swap find creations, as well as some of our various experiments with T-shirt as a material: T-shirt yarn, logo removal, colour blocking. The latter are mostly Marnie Saskin experiments. You can check out her Instagram feed for more inspiration: @marniesaskinsmallbatchgoods BLOG and VIDEO posts to come.

We are continuing to work with the Textile Museum of Canada and their Sustainable Textile Teach-In workshops! This series of workshops have been very popular with their focus on textile reuse, repair, and upcycling. Last year, Works-In-Progress facilitated online mask-making and visible mending and repair workshops as part of the series. This year, we are excited to be partnering with the Museum to produce videos and online resources based on the Sustainable Textile Teach-Ins as well as on Building Roots’ Do-It-Together workshops.


We celebrated Earth Day (eve) with the Textile Museum of Canada by facilitating a DIY pattern making workshop with WIP artists Gabrie Mills, Marnie Saskin, Jiyoon Moon, Leah Sanchez and Tanya Murdoch. This was part of the Sustainable Textile series hosted by the Museum. The meat of the workshop was a fantastic co-teaching segment: Marnie drew on her deep material knowledge and experiments to show how to create a pattern from an existing garment, while Gabrie showed three approaches to drafting a garment using draping, freehand, and pattern drafting, PLUS how to layout a pattern on scrap material. VIDEO to follow.

This project is supported by the City of Toronto through its Waste Reduction Community Grants, and by the Ontario Arts Council through its Artists in Education and School Grants.

Check out WIP website and calendar NOW

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 these two volumes of PLANTS) are online.  Please take a look and share.

Plants volume one (in the Wild) explores foraging, morels, maples, and much more.
Plants volume two (human + plant collaboration) explores our relationships with flora- gardens, fear of flowers, the plant muse.

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

This project is supported by the City of Toronto through its Waste Reduction Community Grants, and by the Ontario Arts Council through its Artists in Education and School Grants.
Find out more about EXTEMBER: the 'zine

ON OUR BLOG: new posts on the equinox,  circular households and repair videos

More in depth articles on some of the items above, a posting on the equinox by Marnie, on attending the ESN Barbeque and NEW VIDEO on Making a Tee bag by repair activist Helen Frank of @HelenMendsto.
Read our latest Blog post now

Community initiatives of interest: REWILD with NESTNDS, and Appletree Markets set to reopen in Midtown on May 11

Throughout the spring of 2021, from Earth Day to Environment Day, our friends at NEST (Naturopathic Doctors for Environmental and Social Trust) are curating a variety of activities and events on the theme of REWILDING!  To assist with learning about, celebrating, and advocating for regeneration of land.   

We are supporting and sharing where we can, like creating the logo for the event (created by WIP artist Tanya Murdoch) and sharing initiatives of interest, like communal fundraising for fruit trees, some destined for our friends Building Roots and the community garden they steward at Ashbridges Estate.

The full schedule and resources are hosted on their website:

More good news!  On May 11th the Appletree Group's Farmers Market will re-open at June Rowland's Park in Midtown.  The community has been eagerly awaiting this news and while it won't be exactly the same as before (strict COVID health & safety measures are to be in effect) we are very excited to have the market back up and running!

Something to try: Relove your clothes

A member of our collective, Marnie, loves to experiment with materials, techniques and processes. Lately, she has begun a process where she is trying to "relove" her clothes.  Examining what she likes about clothes she owns, and changing details that may prevent her from wearing an item.  Like this nice, cotton shirt... nice colour but the pockets had "boob flaps, the buttons were hideous and the label bothered her. So she replaced and changed it and voila. Reloved.

So, a challenge to you: see if you can shorten the sleeves, change the buttons, add a patch to honour your clothes. Fall in love again. If you want to share the love, please tag us on Instagram or Marnie @girlnumbertwenty and #reloveyourclothes 


Textile Museum of Canada
Building Roots
Ontario Arts Council Artists in Communities and School Grant program
City of Toronto Live Green Waste Reduction Community Grants
Jiyoon Moon
Marnie Saskin
Gabrie Mills
Gomo George
Abby Bird-George
REwilding with NestNDS
Appletree Farmers Market
Visit Our Blog
With support from the 

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