Last year, I (aka Thrifty By Design) was asked to participate in an event as part of the third annual Culture Days. I agreed to partner with the North Vancouver City Library for an upcycling workshop as part of the events they were organizing over the three days.
I am new to crafting and upcycling. I have a fine arts degree with a major in painting. I then took new media at the Vancouver Film School. It was my way of being creative and being able to find a stable, ‘grown up’ job. The past few years I’ve been able to find a creative outlet that is in harmony with my real work.
I started making things, refinishing furniture and then I got into upcycling. I would go to the dump and repurpose stuff that other people had thrown away. I became known for it. Friends started giving me stuff and I would sell things here and there. And then, the upcycling workshop happened as part of Culture Days.
What an amazing, life changing experience it was! I put together a plan for the workshop – a variety of projects for all ages and all levels. I had everything figured out. Since it was my first workshop I had no idea what to expect. Would people show up? Would they participate in the projects? Would they find the projects interesting?
It ended up being pretty darn great! We had 28 people show up – from kids to seniors, boys and girls. And we made stuff together... Not only that, but there was so much more going on. Strangers connected with each other. Among them were new immigrants struggling to find their place in their new home. Others, who had never done anything crafty, wanted to try new things. Participants found new friends, had fun, and made something funky.
For me, I love what I do. I love the fun and the challenge. It's fulfilling, but the workshop put it on a whole new level. I get excited about what I do; I'm passionate about it and the workshop created this infectious energy. That is Culture Days to me - connecting community, knowledge, and sharing. And all we did was make projects using 'junk'. Yup, it's amazing what can happen when you bring a bunch of people together. Culture is this thread that stitches us together, that patches up the holes and tears. It’s what reminds us that we’re not alone.
I have my second Culture Days workshop this year on September 29th. I can’t wait! I have this wonderful relationship with the North Vancouver City Library. It’s a space that is open and available for making things happen. The next workshop will be just as good or maybe even better. Hope to see you there!
Photos by: Nicole Friesen
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