What is community art, and how do I get there?

14 August 2015

Two years ago I was kicked out of my home by a developer, learned lots about my rights as a tenant, and through my struggle to find a new story to tell about my life found increased depth in my relationships with neighbours and friends.

A friend was spreading the word through social media about conditions in her social housing complex and I thought – maybe a community arts project would help. After all, community arts is all about building relationships. The tenants association wanted to use the community garden as a launch point, and my work with preserving food and on a CSA farm was a nice bridge. Ideally, through this project, we’d expand the tenants association’s ability to work with a safe, relevant, and empowering process.

I spent many hours community mapping, building friendships, and dreaming up big ideas for a Project grant. I didn’t know enough to hold the “container” but I was willing to learn. So I re-framed my project as a Community Arts Development grant and found the perfect mentor in Nadia Chaney (through the Partners for Youth Empowerment training I took last year).

I got the news that our grant was successful. Now comes the hard part: learning, growing, and exploring together. There have already been some difficult moments but having a mentor means I feel safe and supported in trying new things.

Thank you, Ontario Arts Council!


Make a Statement! DIY Screenprinting Workshop

4 July 2015

In the “Make a Statement” workshop, I’ll give you a sneak peak into the secrets of making your own silkscreen at home. We’ll then craft a message using our choice of fabric, letters, and combinations of paint. We’ll put our own spin on a variety of pre-made silk screens. You’ll leave with a few different… Read more >

Bike Bell Tuneups

15 April 2015

Rational Bell Society is here and Epidemic Bells are on their way out! But more about that later. The first announcement is that I am offering Bike Bell Tuneups. Two friends came to me this year saying their bells developed a leak at the edge of the resin. I guess the outdoor glue I was… Read more >

What is craft?

7 October 2014

This year I tried something new. Instead of panicking in October and missing the farm staff party AND hallowe’en to make holiday stock, I hired friends to help me make 250 bicycle bells in September. We put in 4 five hour shifts as a team – I cut out backgrounds and traced the bodies of… Read more >

Organizing the studio

14 August 2014

Summer – flashing by so quickly. And soon it will be time to start thinking about getting back to crafting.  From June through October I work on an organic CSA farm near Kingston and devote most of my headspace to the harvest and canning of vegetables.  This year, I have put away three types of… Read more >

What’s your favourite event of the year?

12 May 2014

Mine is coming up soon, May 24th-25th – the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair. The weekend is shared in true community style. Dance parties with random new friends can be discovered while doubling on bicycles, “safe space” is celebrated, and perspective is refreshingly….radical. People here are all about doing it themselves, direct action, and being willing to… Read more >

Designing for an audience // the value of art

9 April 2014

Laurel and I had such a good time collaborating on workshops for the past few weeks. I asked her if she’d like to write a guest post for my website to describe her experience, and now I’d like to share it with you! **************** From Laurel: For the past 3 weeks I have been working… Read more >

Bringing art into schools!

10 March 2014

After leading workshops for years with what I thought was a foolproof formula:  teach myself via books, internet, skill-shares, then offer an activity interspersed with fun facts to a self-motivated group of students,  I had a block last year when planning a class with no obvious hands-on skill to plug into.  Plus, I wanted to… Read more >

New studio, new perspective!

5 February 2014

In October 2013, my whole street was being undergoing sewer replacement surgery, and I’d already been through a maddening year of pulsing jackhammers, limestone dust, and exhaust fumes emanating through our walls from the inner transformation of the old bank building on the corner. I found myself focusing far too much energy interacting with the… Read more >

Packaging for my DIY Bike Bell!

19 November 2013

If you look closely, you’ll notice a few changes in my bike bells. The big improvement is a metal thumb lever (brrrring!) thanks to my new wholesale supplier, and the packaging that I’m proud to say I finished designing just in time for craft fair season.  The challenge was to find a container that was… Read more >

Seasonal rhythms:

11 September 2013

Here’s a little glimpse into how fun (and productive!) food preserving and harvest can be.  This also happens to be a part of my seasonal rhythms.  October through December, I make art non-stop, full time, stocking boutiques and going to craft fairs.  In January and February I rest and review my year, thinking of what… Read more >

What did I get up to this winter? Made some screens for local DIY projects!

15 June 2013

Jolene Simko from Hearthmakers Energy Co-operative came by to refine her screenprinting skills in a special add-on class ($30!) that went along with the screen special ($30!)  For her shirts, we used a second print of dark green on the house , it was an easy “cheat” for small scale prints: the registration was accomplished… Read more >

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