This week, I had an opportunity to be part of a collaborative creative experience, and it reminded me of the value of making things with people. It also amplified my excitement for upcycling. My dear friend, Diana, had invited me to lead a workshop at her church about making upcycled jewelry. She attends a weekly women's group at Community Christian Reformed Church in Kitchener, Ontario, and they came up with a great idea of running workshops for the attendees on a variety of topics for a couple weeks.
Eight lovely women attended my workshop. I showed them how to make t-shirt yarn, and then we made t-shirt necklaces together. To get the ideas flowing, I showed them some photos of cool t-shirt necklaces and I brought along some examples of the t-shirt necklaces I have made. Other than that, I provided very little guidance and just let them run with it.
It was amazing to see the variety in what these ladies came up with. A couple of them said, "I'm not creative at all", but they proved themselves wrong. I was so engrossed in what we were doing, that I forgot to take photos . . . bummer. So you'll have to take my word for it that they each came up with something totally unique and fabulous. Some sewed beads and buttons onto the t-shirt yarn, some strung the t-shirt yarn with beads and washers I had stolen from my husband's workshop, and others layered different colours of t-shirt strands together.
The ladies were pretty stoked about discovering that old t-shirts have a fun - and better - use than old rags or thrift store donations. As we sat around the table working on t-shirt necklaces, they talked about other things they could make with t-shirt yarn, like scarves or headbands for their kids. As I saw their curiousity and interest ignite, I was reminded of what a joy and a privilege it is to create. I was also affirmed in my belief that upcycling is not just for architects, designers or artists: it's something anybody can do, and it's super duper fun.