Friday, March 1, 2013

It has been suggested that I introduce you all to the wonderful women of Gahaya Links.  These sisters have started a business of weaving baskets in Rwanda.  They have had such great success that they are now exporting to the U. S.!  (They are looking for a Canadian to take on their products, interested?)
These are just a few of the 4000 weavers of Gahaya Links.  This company has grown to 52 cooperatives all over Rwanda, mostly rural women who are re- building their lives after the genocide of 1994 that left over one million dead.  The company was created to help the women of Rwanda literally and figuratively weave their lives back together.  They welcome volunteers to support their efforts and would love to have an intern who has experience "making" like any one of us from the Material Arts department at OCADU.
Check out their website!
Consider having the adventure of your life!I

They now have a designer consulting to them from the U.S. who is designing these beaded neck pieces on leather.  The plan is to show case these at Anthropologie.

I would love to share more info with anyone who is interested, feel free to contact me,
Daniela Tiger

Four Eyes Supper Club Presents: Pop-up Dinner Party!

Four Eyes Supper Club put together a pop-up dinner on the eve of January 17, 2013. The overall theme of the event was to integrate art, design and food. The event was hosted in a residential commercial loft space that was able to accommodate 12 guests for the dinner party. There were a variety of activities that were offered to the diners. We had placed a large canvas on the wall for party guests to paint on and painting supplies and were provided. 
Ready, set, PARTY!

The table was furnished with the group members products, which included ceramic bowls, napkin holders/rings made from vintage cutlery, acrylic laser-cut stir sticks and hand dyed napkins. All of these items were also available for sale throughout the evening.
Custom-made products

To get our guests' creative juices flowing, we covered the dinner table with craft paper and provided crayons for doodling. Then we threw in some marshmallows and tooth picks for some 3D fun. In no time at all, our craft paper was covered in amazing drawings and two teams battled it out to see who could build the biggest and best marshmallow tower. 

Two teams go head to head in an all out battle of wit and design

Sparkling punch with custom Four Eyes stir sticks

When the guests arrived at 7pm they were offered complementary punch and half of them had also brought their own wine for the dinner. We were so lucky to have chef Paul Baneham create a customized menu for the event. Guests dined on fresh mango salad, a taco bar with five spice duck, black bean squash and blackberry salsa. For dessert there were mini donuts with vanilla or maple frosting as well as bacon bits and cereal for toppings. We served family-style and it was great to see everyone enjoying the food and having fun with the interactive aspect of it all.

Most of the guests that came to the event were all friends with one or more of the group members. We had contacted friends that we thought would enjoy a different dining experience and most of the guests that came were either in the arts or the hospitality industry. They all tended to be extroverted and were able to interact with one another at ease.
Our overall objective was to create an event that was about an experience and that would also showcase our design backgrounds. We were not intending on generating any profits only to break even for the pop-up dinner, which we did. All in all, the event was a smashing success. The guests loved the food and enjoyed each others' company. In hindsight the only thing we would have done differently was to squeeze in a couple more chairs for ourselves so we could get in on the fun!


Puppy Popup Shop

The Puppy Pop Up Shop was an event created for dog walkers and locals passing through Grange Park. The shop provided a convenient location to buy warm beverages, cookies, muffins, dog treat bags and handcrafted pieces such as Valentines Day cards, dog tags and re-useable coffee mugs. We also set up a complimentary hydration station beside the table for the dogs.

All proceeds raised at the Puppy Pop Up Shop were donated to the local animal shelter PAWS (Peoples Animal Welfare Society); a free roam shelter that provides a safe haven for homeless, abandoned, and abused animals, indefinitely. A donation jar was set up alongside the products to allow people to show their support for local animals.

Our pop up event took place in the Grange Dog Park from 9:30am to 3:30pm on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. The time and date of the event shifted from our original plan of holding it from 8:30am to 2:30pm on Monday, February 11, 2013. The school closure (snow day) on the previous Friday prevented us from accessing the coffee and hot water urns that we needed to borrow from student union.

The coffee and hot water urns were picked up from student union the day before the event because student union is only open from 9am to 5pm and we needed to heat up the water, make the coffee, and set up the area at 7:30am on Wednesday morning. All of the baking was done the day before so that it would still be fresh during the event.

Setting up took about an hour longer than expected, we tried out several tables and benches before realizing that the picnic tables with metal legs were not frozen to the ground like the solid wood ones and were relatively easy to move with enough people. We were able to move a metal and wood picnic table to the center of the park where all of the paths meet, the most convenient spot for customers to reach us. As a group we had pre-arranged a schedule that worked around classes and lunch breaks for each member so there were always at least two people manning the table.

Once we were set up, business was steady with several dogs running around in the park until around 12:30pm. Our most successful items were the coffee, cookies, brownies (which we sold out of) and dog treats. The travels mugs, dog charms and dog toys were also successful, with several of each being sold. Only one of the antler chew toys were sold and none of the screen-printed cards sold but both received interest and compliments. Aside from the travel mugs, items less than four dollars sold better than higher priced ones. Although most people that stopped by purchased at least one small item, there were many people that stopped to chat about the event and chose to leave donations instead.

Having the event on Wednesday rather than Monday gave us the option to run the event longer because three of the members did not have class or other obligations that day. We contemplated staying set up until early evening so that we could catch the second rush of dog walkers but business was at a stand still from 12:30 on and we had agreed to return the urns to student union before 5pm. The lull in sales gave us reason to start packing up our shop by 3:30pm.

Sales were quite low compared to the amount of money we put into the event according to our budget. Most members were fine paying for supplies themselves without reimbursement so that more of the money made could be donated to PAWS, the animal shelter being promoted during the event. We were happy to receive $36.10 in donations and $153.35 in sales.

The main problem at the pop up shop (aside from keeping ourselves warm) was keeping the water and coffee hot. The urns used needed to be plugged in to operate, so we brewed the coffee and heated the water in the Lambert Lounge then brought them out to the table until they started getting cold. The coffee urn we used is also a coffee maker but it takes almost an hour to brew, due to the size and make. We had a smaller kettle and coffee maker on hand so we could refill the urns faster but it was still a struggle to keep things hot in the cold weather. If we could change anything, we would either find a way to run extension cords to the park or use more insulated urns to keep the coffee and water hot, as the drinks were an important aspect of the sale.


Re-Use, Re-create, Re-Imagine

. . . Re-Craft

We are Re-Craft is a small volunteer group of students from OCADU who seek to show children the positive experiences in using recycled materials in their daily craft activities. Re-Craft organizes experiences for students, drawing upon their education and past crafting trials & errors they help the kids learn how to repurpose materials to create projects and have fun.

The Re-Craft pop-up experience took place on Wednesday, February 6th at St Simon’s Church in St Jamestown, Toronto. The team arrived at 3:15 in the afternoon to set up before the kids got in from school. Each team member brought recycled materials collected from home as well as old art supplies we no longer use. We also received recycled contributions from the staff members at the church. By the time everything was set up, two tables and even some floor space underneath were filled with all kinds of recycled materials - more than enough to get us through the activity! Our team hung up 6 large posters above the children’s coat area for them to see some craft ideas and continue to be inspired by after the event.

When the children started to roll in (approximately 20 in total) they noticed all of the fun things on the tables catching their attention and were curious about the event. The team waited briefly for the children to have their after school snacks before beginning the Re-Craft introductions. Archana, the program manager divided the children into four groups and quieted down the children. She introduced the Re-Craft team then we took over and explained how the afternoon was going to go. We began with a Mad-Lib story we wrote. Each team member read out a different section of the story to the children. We called upon the children to fill in the blanks of the story which took approximately 15 minutes. 
The children enjoyed answering the questions and laughed at each others’ crazy answers. We showed the children craft examples prepared ahead of time to inspire the children how to get creative with unconventional materials.

Adelle had made a large tree from plastic bottles with twisted and taped newspaper for bark. She also made a monster from a yogurt container, toilet paper rolls and cut up newspaper. Samantha had made a bouquet of flowers from pipe cleaners, cardboard, tissue paper, fabric and paint. Later on the children went back to look closely at the items which were also left them at the church for future inspiration.

Once the story was filled in, each team member took on a group and Samantha and Alicia paired up together for one. Each group was assigned an element to create from the story. The four elements included: the monster, the wandering character, the garbage truck and the house with a garden. After everyone's group understood what they were making, we sourced recycled materials and art supplies that would be useful for the group while the children waited for the material to be brought back to the tables. Archana encouraged this to avoid chaos from all the children storming the supplies at once. Each leader collected things like paint, paper, cardboard, glitter, brushes, glue, and then discussed with the children how they could begin working on their element of the story.

With materials collected, we encouraged the children do anything they could think of with the materials provided in order to make the project more interesting and fitting for the story. The provided paper plates, white glue, paper cups, and paint brushes were top choices when constructing and decorating the pieces. The tables quickly turned into fun messy atmospheres with all children working and showing interest in the activity. We supervised and helped the kids completing their ideas. In addition to Archana, there were high school students and adult volunteers helping at each table which made the event run smoothly. Each table’s craft turned out very differently but all of the projects were full of imagination. The event was exciting because it was fluid and spontaneous - the children were not restricted by rules or instructions and could experiment and imagine. The children had a great time exploring ideas and working with the large variety of materials. Some highlights were the sequins, styrofoam balls and flower garden magazine page cutouts, and muffin tin cups. The children were excited by the new ways to use these common items and loved being able to do whatever they wanted to create something new.
The Re-Craft team had a wonderful day with the children and felt like the activity was worth the effort and organizing. The team was happy that the kids had fun and were engaged during the hour and a half activity. This pop-up experience was a success and the team would love to volunteer and organize projects similar in the future.

Thursday, February 28, 2013



            Our popup event took place on February 12, 2013. We were located in the main lobby at OCAD University outside the main auditorium (room190). We were open from 10am – 6pm. We sold handmade Valentine’s Day cards for three dollars each. We sold candy kabobs for two dollars each. We offered a variety of free treats such as cookies, candy and Tim Bits. We had a temporary wall set up covered in paper like a giant card. We invited people to write messages and draw on our card whether they bought anything or not. That was very successful. We offered a complimentary card delivery service. The plan was that people would purchase a card, write their message in the card, provide us with the recipient’s locker number and we would deliver the card on Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately that was not successful.

Each card was made out of abaca fibre. Many of them had wildflower and forget-me-not seeds embedded within the paper so that the cards could be planted after. We each designed about twenty cards. Our cards’ sentiments were an eclectic collection. They were loving, raunchy, silly, sensitive, whimsical, endearing and edgy. Our collection was able to suit the needs of various relationships, friendships and anything in between.

HANDMADE PAPER ALL READY TO TURN INTO AMAZING VALENTINES! =D A good five hours of hard and laborious work from start to finish laying right here!

Sonia laying our our cards and getting the treats ready...mmmm treats....
Lindsey was the only one that could reach the top of our card AWESOME! =D couldn't of done it without her!

 Happy girls showing off those pearly whites after the set up. ALL READY TO GO! (9:00am) 

 Is that our first customer!?! Thank you for your support =D
Another customer who was writing a note to put on our big card =) 

 Little heart decorations made by Marlissa! We covered a wide range of walls with them. Aren't they the cutest? =D
 YUMMY CANDY KABOBS! Only 2 dollars? WHAT!? AWESOME! Made by the one and only Marlissa =)

A shot of the wall before take down =) Thanks to all who wrote on the card! 

 Katie and I counting money and figuring out how we did at the end of the was HARD WORK but we did pretty good! =D YEAH!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

MAAD Makers Pop Up

Our pop up shop took place at Site3 CoLaboratories on February 17th.  Each of our group members taught a workshop over the course of the day, and we stayed into the evening for a mixer event. Rachel taught metal stamping, Meg taught wax working, Yas taught found object design, Asuka taught needle felting and Hillary taught laser etching. Beyond our group members, Avideh performed as a surrealist character and Chayan played records and showed projected images.

The event ran from 1 pm until 11 pm, and was well attended. Each maker was accepting donations for their work, and we made money from beer sales. The most meaningful interaction I had was designing a bracelet for a woman who wanted to mail it to her long distance boyfriend.

Overall the atmosphere was fun and easygoing. The day was long, but it passed by quickly. People made connections, made crafts, made friends and had fun. All in all, I would say it was a success.

This event was a lot of fun to organize, it would be worth doing again! We didn't make a ton of money, but the people who came by were exposed to the work we do, the tools we use, and the processes that make it happen.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Repetitive Creation

A glimpse of our campfire site
Repetitive Creation was a twelve-hour event that was composed of a group of five artists that sought to create original works inspired by the building of community.  Our name, Repetitive Creation, derives from each artist’ own unique practice of making, and the repetitive elements that are held within it.  As a small collective, we intended to create an experience that engages with the public by inviting the community to view our private practices of making.    

As a group of young emerging artists we approached this project as an opportunity to experiment with new innovative ideas while still under the umbrella of an institution.  Much of our process involved embracing methods of design thinking, building our skills in collaboration, while also agreeing to adapt and be flexible with thinking outside of the traditional “Pop Up Retail Event.” We fulfilled this process by choosing to design our event in a way that opened opportunities for the community to engage with our creative process.  Rather than focusing our time on creating a retail event, we were more inclined to plan an event that bridged the relationship between makers and consumers.  In order to make this event a reality, we connected with local parks that value community events and initiatives to make our project a reality.   

Yummy hot chocolate, donated by Lettieri Espresso + Bar, heated over the campfire; preparing our display of home made objects in a tent; an abundance of dry wood donated from family and friends. 

Our artwork and items for sale were set up in a tent a few feet away from the fire, and was kept open all day to allow visitors to enter and explore what we had created throughout the duration of the day.

Karen and Sam working hard around the campfire; glimpse into some of the work we had on display; Cheyenne also hard at work.

Throughout the duration of the day, we filled our time with demonstrations of our own individual practices of making. Alongside our own campfire studio we also set up a tent with handmade objects, wearables and small gifts that were available for purchase (our prices ranging from $25-$100).  Our intent was to showcase some of the work that we were working on in the park to bridge the relationship between makers and consumers. 

Karen enjoying some yummy hot chocolate; keeping warm by the fire; Jocelyn stirring the hot chocolate over the fire

Colleen demonstrating the table loom to families that stopped by the park; a young family member enjoying a yummy s'more

Repetitive Creation was a pop up shop event that targeted a wide demographic of people; including young professionals, artistic/eclectic people, and families.   Our event began as a community focused initiative that sought to bring creativity to Dufferin Grove Park in an innovative way. The people that visited our event included many locals walking through the park from their Little Italy and Little Portugal neighborhoods.  We also had the opportunity to share several conversations with young children, curious groups of friends and a few individuals that had followed our event online. 

Throughout the day updates were posted on social media networks, Facebook and Instagram, displaying current pictures and comments on how the day was progressing.  As we braved the -20 degree weather, and when the snow began to fall a bit harder, we decided to cut the day short, ending at 7:00pm, instead of 11:00pm.  Facebook was a great way to advertise this for those who may have anticipated attending the event later in the evening – because of the poor weather conditions, our guests had already started to slow down, making  it a good time to start packing things away.

Overall, Repetitive Creation proved to be a unique experience, and when debriefing how the event flowed, we believe we were able to accomplish what we had originally set out to do.  Repetitive Creation plans to repeat this event in the summer of 2013. We plan to invite other local artists to take part in collaborations and hope to draw a much larger community presence.