While necessity, the mother of invention, may be the driving force behind many recycled or repurposed products, people are also choosing to upcycle as a way to find or make something that is unique and represents an expression of their own individuality. Transforming the old into the new, and in the process increasing its value, is what upcycling is all about. And it’s a hot trend just now, not just because it’s sustainable, but because it captures the spirit of the times.
Makers Mill and Governor Wentworth Arts Council (GWAC) are collaborating to offer a series of four fun and creative workshops during February and March that focus on making a wearable clothing item made from recycled or repurposed materials. The workshops are designed for all, whether you’re new to design and sewing, or proficient.
The first workshop on Saturday, February 5th is aptly titled “What is Upcycling?: A look at upcycled fashions from practical to costume”. Participants will begin deconstructing, designing, and planning their project. A basic sewing kit will be provided with instructions on how to use each tool, and instructors will assist with design questions. Some materials will be provided and attendees are also encouraged to bring their own and to share.
The second workshop on Saturday, February 19th is “Sewing 101”, designed for those new to sewing, or looking for a refresher. Learn how to use a sewing machine, how stretch stitches and rolled hem stitches work, how to use patterns and adapt them to upcycled garments, and adapt a pattern to fit your body and still be able to move.
The third workshop, “Creating Shape & Structure” on Saturday, March 5th teaches sewing and framework techniques that ensure a clothing garment or a fantasy costume defies gravity.
The final workshop on Saturday, March 19th is about “Attachments & Embellishments”. Learn how to attach things so the garment is easy to put on and remove. Instruction includes ancient lashing techniques, traditional zippers, and basic buttons. Hand and machine techniques will be practiced. Embellishments are the fun part: explore dyeing, painting, hand sewing, hot glue, and machine techniques for adding or changing design elements to clothing.
The workshops are a precursor to, but are not a prerequisite for, the Upcycled Fashion Show being held on Saturday, April 23, 2022 in the Great Room at Wolfeboro Town Hall, 84 S Main St, Wolfeboro between 7-9pm. You can read more about participating in the show ON AN EARLIER BLOG, and register online HERE.
However, the general public is also invited to join in the fun and attend one or all of the workshops. Participating in the Fashion Show is not a requirement of doing the workshops. Those who sign up to participate in the Upcycled Fashion Show in April may attend all four workshops for free. For others there’s a $15 fee, reduced to $10 for GWAC members.
Liz Helfer who is a graduate of Kingswood Regional High School, and received her BFA from Alfred University, and Masters in Museum Studies at Harvard University Extension School. Liz Helfer Studios is located in Waltham, MA, where she creates metal and mixed media sculpture that includes wearable and performance art. In addition to creating commissioned work, she is the Public Arts & Culture Planner for Watertown, MA.
Jeanne Flanagan has a wealth of knowledge around fiber arts having grown up in a family that made things from clothes to go-carts. Jeanne most recently taught Fiber Arts at Artisans Asylum, a makerspace in MA, and is in the process of relocating to Wolfeboro and will lead the Makers Mill fiber arts studio.
Cindy Durkee is a graduate from Pratt Institute majoring in Fashion Design, specializing in swimwear design. She is also a freelance writer and an artist working in collage, watercolors, and oils. Her most recent upcycling project was making crazy quilt pillows repurposed from vintage napkins.
All workshops will be 3 hour events between 10am and 1pm. UPDATE 1.29.22: The venue for the first two workshops on Feb 5 and 19 is at JC Signs, 17 Grove St, Wolfeboro. Venue for the two later workshops is the Student Center, Room 103, Rogers Building, Brewster Academy, 80 Academy Dr, Wolfeboro. The workshops will follow all prevailing Covid-19 guidance. Participants should bring their own paper bag lunch and water bottle. Those interested can sign up online at www.makersmill.org/events. There is also more background information about the workshops and the Upcycled Fashion Show at www.makersmill.org/blog, and questions can be directed to Liz Helfer at info@GovernorWentworthArtsCouncil.org.