We had a lovely group attend our embroidery workshop and clothing swap, with many returning friends who we met at textile printing. Embroidery is a relaxing and satisfying activity, and it was heart warming to have our hands busy while we chatted and sipped tea around the table.
Like our textile printing workshop, we began with an introduction of the project and invited participants to choose from a table of garments which we had collected from local thrift stores to embroider on. Our intention is to donate these beautifully altered clothes back to the thrift stores with a meaningful handcrafted touch for it's next owner (and a little tag telling about the project). In this way, the intentions of sharing creativity and generosity will ripple gently outwards into the larger community.
We had embroiderers of all experience levels and ages, so we worked on lots of different skills and stitches from threading a needle to tackling the elusive french knot stitch. I wore my shirt with a subtle sashiko inspired embroidered detail to illustrate that even a small and simple touch of embroidery can add so much interest, beauty, and uniqueness to a garment.
Beauty, creativity, and experimentation ensued! Some participants chose to stick with a simple running stitch, using it to create diverse and effective designs, while others practiced new stitches they had never tried before, like the satisfying lazy daisy.
We were all blown away by this mother/daughter team who worked collaboratively to create a "dessert and night time" themed cardigan, featuring a doughnut, cherry cupcake, and moon and stars!
Our clothing swap continued, and we finished the day with a sense of support, warmth, and many beautiful garments to pass forward.
Our community curated library shelf is up at the Mount Pleasant Branch of Vancouver Public Library!
Each book on the shelf was recommended by a community member at our little free library pop-up. In this way, the shelf acts as an archive of the diverse interests, tastes, and experiences of participants, as well a means of interconnection and exchange between community members. Every book is available to be checked out!
A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to engage in this project and give us a recommendation, as well as the library for the enthusiastic support!
Thank you so much to all the enthusiastic artists who came out to block print onto textiles, swap clothes, sip tea, and chat around the table at this workshop! It was such a pleasure to spend the afternoon together getting creative.
We started out the day with introductions, and June and I touched on the overall intent of the project: to invite community exchange, connection, and generosity through creativity. For this workshop, we had a table full of garments from local thrift stores to print on. At the end of the day, participants had the option to either take their creation home with them, or leave it with us to be donated back to the thrift store with a meaningful handcrafted touch for it's next owner (and a little tag telling about the project). In this way, the intentions of sharing creativity and generosity will ripple gently outwards into the larger community.
In order to print on garments, we used stamps, sponge brushes, and textile block printing ink. Many beautiful tests happened on scrap paper as we experimented with different designs and felt out how much ink and pressure was effective.
As always, it was interesting to see the different approaches participants took, from boldly covering entire garments with a single repeating stamp, to carefully creating intricate symmetrical designs with many different images, to subtly embellishing a corner or pocket with great consideration and restraint.
Block printing was a new process for many of the participants, and there were a few moments of smudged designs or too much ink leading to blobs rather than clear transfers. As a facilitator, I have a lot of investment in participant's feelings of success, and so it was really refreshing to see the humor, patience, and willingness to keep trying and experimenting that came with these small mishaps.
At the end of the day, we had a beautiful drying rack full of garments to be passed forward.
We also had a clothing swap table at this workshop, with participants invited to bring something valued but no longer used to exchange for something new to them. Clothing swaps are not only a good way to update our wardrobes but also an act of environmentalism and community sharing. Lots of clothes were exchanged, along with encouragement, compliments, and style tips and recommendations.
We have another garment altering workshop coming up soon: Embroidery on Saturday Oct 19. (More info here). Hope to see you there!