September 2022 SWAPS!

Greetings! It is back to school season and whether you are in school or just the school of life, the changing seasons for us mean going through our closets and getting ready for a clothing swap. 

We are spending two weekends in September co-hosting clothing swaps with our neighbours, so this newsletter will be heavy to swap info, but we also have a lot of information +FAQs  on our website 

Clothing swaps are a great way to reduce textile waste, save money, and, have a useful and joyful neighbourhood event. Our Back-to-School swap season starts in two weeks Saturday, September 17th in Midtown Toronto (Davisville) and continues in Moss Park (at Moss Park Market) on September 24. Come play with us!
Why swap?  We want to remind you that THERE IS ENOUGH. We are artists and activists- we host swaps not just to exchange clothes but also to change points of view.  This is not charity, it is a circular economy where we can all benefit from both giving and receiving- and it is all FREE!  Donate what you don't want (it will find a good home) and take what you like.

These swap events are supported this year by a Waste Reduction Community Grant from the City of Toronto Live Green TO grant program, which we got in partnership with Building Roots.
Check out these great jackets we found at our last mini swap! This swap was part of the HIVE - the opening event for a The Future of Work: Parallel Economies curated by Suzanne Carte We are proud to be part of this show, on NOW at the Art Gallery of Burlington- more on that in the newsletter and in our latest blog.
And finally, this month is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, when we consider our shared history and the history of residential schools in Canada. so in this newsletter we want to let you know about a new book, Valley of the Birdtail  written by a friend of the collective (and my husband) Douglas Sanderson (Amo Binashii) and his co-author Andrew Stobo Sniderman.  Find out more below.

On bookshelves now! So save some money at the swap, support artists and buy a book. See you at the swap.
Contact us to find out about participating in the swap
 In this newsletter: All about swaps
  • Just the facts: Who what where why and how to swap
  • Swaps: Behind the Scenes
  • Swaps: Day of the Swap
  • Swap Bonus: Repair/Upcycle Advice and Carrots
  • Après Swap
  • Art Gallery of Burlington's Parallel Economies show Aug 27-Dec 31 2022
  • Artist News: Valley of the Birdtail in bookstores now
  • Real Talk: Tips on handing second hand clothes (reprise from last fall)
  • Find out more:  Links
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Don't forget you can follow us on Instagram or check out our blog at Please reach out with comments, suggestions or to volunteer time, space or skills to the collective via email:

All About Swaps

Read our latest Blog post now

The skinny on the swaps:

What you need to know for the two Works-in-Progress swaps Fall 2022
We are very excited to have TWO clothing swaps planned for this fall. Let the closet sorting begin! This is our third annual Back to School Neighbour-to-Neighbour children's clothing swap. And this year, we will have a series of two swaps in two neighbourhoods.  

Works-in-Progress organizers are Tanya (in Midtown Toronto and on the web) and Leah and Mac from Building Roots at Moss Park. Each of us are working with the community in each neighbourhood to share information, organize hosts & volunteers, and,  pass on resources & donations from one swap to the next.

This is a community event, and its success depends on all participants. Donors should sort (clean!) donations into plastic bags labelled with the size. The night before (or day of) the swap, drop off donations at the house hosting that size. (We have maps included in individual swap info.)  We can offer help if donations need to be dropped off in advance.  Just contact us.
Covid protocols: We want the swap to be safe and inclusive for all participants. Swap sites are spread out, with one size per site and limiting participation at each site to reduce crowding.  This also means that each host has a manageable amount to organize.  **We encourage hosts to host the size of clothes they want to receive, and shop the swap. We want to keep these clothes on our backs.**

We are providing signs and experience and opinions and posters and signs and that sort of infrastructure.  We really count on the community to bring donations and volunteer time to set up and swap/shop.  Reach out to us at if you want to take part as a volunteer (we give high school hours) to hang posters, host (either your yard or yourself as host, or both) or help shuttle donations.

This project is supported by the City of Toronto through its Waste Reduction Community Grants.

Behind the Scenes

ART MAKES IT REAL: We are an artist collective, so we know images are important.  And we have access to some great talent:  although this year our design diva Treya Beaulieu has been busy with other life things, we were helped by another local artist, Lara Boadway, who helped us revamp our Spring signs as well. We love working with artists! United signs and posters make it feel like a real event. We continue to keep the swap inclusize, and have grouped clothes by size only, not gender.

VOLUNTEERS at the Midtown swap: We count on returning hosts and welcome new hosts for the "shops".  We are keeping the swap zone within a few blocks (near Manor Road East, between Yonge and Mt. Pleasant, south as far as Millwood Road) but we have volunteers from outside this zone who help hosts at yards within the area. We also need volunteers to put up posters, share with their friends and on social media, in their communities.  The more participants, the better the swap. We need volunteers to drop off and collect clothes before and after the swap.  And on the day we will have an army of teen volunteers to make sure clothes are distributed and to support the hosts.  We can offer community hours.
VOLUNTEERS at the Moss Park swap: We are co-hosting this with Building Roots, the grassroots non-profit group who run the Moss Park Market on Saturdays at 260 Queen street East, as part of their Summer Saturdays Series.  They have great volunteer support for their events but can always use an extra hand, and the members of the community really appreciate the chance to shop for fall clothes for free. If you can volunteer on the 24th, reach out to coordinator Mac
This project is supported by the City of Toronto through its Waste Reduction Community Grants
Contact us to find out about volunteering or donating

Day of the swap

Volunteers drop off a starter kit at each host site the night before the swap or early morning (depending on weather) with a few T-shirt bags, clothes pins, size signs, a poster and printouts of maps of swap locations.  Hosts will set up their site in the morning- tables, tarps, clothes lines, boxes all work well to display clothes.  We will also include a Covid guidelines sign and ask host to provide hand sanitizer.

Donors can drop off donations the night before or morning of the swap at the house that hosts their donation size. **You do not need to donate to participate.** 

Participants can bring a bag to fill, or we have T-shirt bags as well (made from T-shirts up-cycled from previous swaps)  The swap is pay what you can, we suggest $5/ bag but free is ok too. The money is not going to a charity; we will use it to cover costs of the swap, all participants are volunteers but we encourage hosts to host their desired size and shop the swap. We want all the clothes to find new homes.  Last year we collected $200 and used it to pay the artist who created the posters.

At the end of the day hosts can put any remaining clothes back into bags along with signs etc. and an organizer will collect these that night or the next day for use at the next swap.

Bonus: Repair/Upcycle Advice and Carrots

The best way to keep clothes out of the landfill is to swap them to be worn by someone else. 

Midtown Swap Repair/Upcycle site: If your favourite clothes are too loved, bring them to the Repair + Upcycle table to get advice on visible/invisible repair, patching and darning, to make your damaged clothes BETTER THAN NEW. Or get inspired to use your old clothes to make something new. #StitchitdontDitchit

And in Moss Park Market, Building Roots have been offering crafts, music and art in the park all summer for free AND paying the artists, so there should be some fun along with the swap. (Plus some great deals on vegetables from the market.)

Après Swap

In our experience, we often end up with the same or more clothes than when we started. This year, we are doing a series of swaps, so one will feed the next. At the end, we either keep some for next time, look for items that can be reused in a different way (as art or craft materials), and, usually donate the bulk of items in good condition to Yonge street Mission or similar site.  
Check out our website HERE for all your SWAP info

Bonus online: scientific tips on welcoming your second hand clothes into your home

Reality check:

All clothes, new or used, can have unwanted guests... our resident textile experimenter, Marnie Saskin, uses almost exclusively second hand textiles in her products for Marnie Saskin Small Batch Goods, so she knows how to keep the moths at bay. She has shared her science based process for effectively preventing an unwanted incursion in a blog post on our website. Stay safe and enjoy your new clothes.

Art Gallery of Burlington + Works-in-Progress

Last Saturday (August 27) we took part in the Hive, a rowdy opening event for The Future of Work: Parallel Economies show. Our bunting stash has landed and flutters over a word mural in the exhibition space, which includes an ongoing object swap, seeds, shelters and elaborate food hangers.  We posted more about the show in a blog post about the Amazing Travelling Bunting
Thanks to AGB grant supporters we get artists fees for the artists who took part AND thanks to the Ontario Arts Council and Live Green TO for the grant support present and past that allowed us to make the work in this show.

"Valley of the Birdtail" In Bookstores Now

It is a thrill for artists to see our creations out in the world, and an honour for us to support the artists in our lives. 
This week Valley of the Birdtail landed on doorsteps, in earbuds and on bookshelves across Canada.

One of the authors is friend of the collective AND my husband, Professor Douglas Sanderson- photographer, law professor, writer and Indigenous Cree man from the Opaskwayak Cree nation. Douglas co-wrote the book with a former student and journalist, Andrew Stobo Sniderman, who began writing this story with an article for Macleans magazine 12 years ago.  

Neither author is a well known public person, but they have written a great book that will help us all understand our shared history as Canadians, and move reconciliation forward. It's a compelling read, a clear eyed story of systemic inequality and also a way to fix that system (the audio book, read by Canadian actor Greg Rogers, is also really good.)

Andrew and Douglas will be on CBC radio this Thursday.

Check Out The WIP Website and Calendar


Building Roots
Ontario Arts Council Artists in Communities and School Grant program
Waste Reduction Community Grants (city of Toronto/Live Green TO)
Davisville swap on Sept 17
Moss Park Swap on Sept 24
Stitch it don't ditch it
Art Gallery of Burlington
The Future of Work: Parallel Economies show.
Valley of the Birdtail
Visit Our Blog
With support from the 

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