Another trip to India and Nepal, and another wonderful workshop at "Hamro Ghar" in Kathmandu. This is the home where children live and go to school, children who have been rescued from forced labour in carpet mills.
Knowing how tricky it was to get supplies in Kathmandu, from my experience with last year's workshop, we brought chicken wire, glue and paint from Canada. We showed the kids how the chicken wire could be shaped in to any three dimensional shape that they could imagine. This would serve as the armature of the their sculpture before being covered by newspaper dipped in glue. With little prompting the children were shaping fish, peacocks, soccer balls, bowls, one boy saw the twist in the chicken wire with the cut ends of the metal and made a snake with a forked tongue....a brilliant creative visual leap. Once the paper strips were applied the sculptures were left to dry. Over the weekend we left glue and some wire for the children to work on their own. They moved on to making more personal items...hats and purses!
We returned a few days later for the painting portion of the workshop. With a quick lesson on colour theory (blue + yellow = green) the kids threw themselves into painting the sculptures. Without a lot of guidance or influence they were painting black and white soccer balls, fish with colourful scales, purses and hats with patterns, and one boy did an incredible self-portrait.
The children also had a cooperative nature. They would help each other mix colours. One child began the ambitious project of a peacock and a number of friends joined in to help. Once finished they were happy to share their sculptures, the soccer balls were kicked around, hats were shared, and generally there was delight in each others' work.
Creative and cooperative, what a combination!
We hope that within GoodWeave's future initiatives, this talent and generous spirit can be tapped and encouraged. We would like to see the artistry and craftsmanship that is required in rug making be taught to the children so this craft will become a respected field in which to work.
"There are an estimated 10,000 people on any given day here in the GTA who are homeless or living in shelters and without support. It is incredibly difficult for many of these individuals to rise above these circumstances and move forward into positive change... Furniture Bank has been able to help good people who find themselves in bad situations through donations for eleven years. By supplying them with furniture and household goods we change their lives and provide the necessary resources to live in a more dignified manner." - www.furniturebank.org
Creative Matters is excited to announce that we will be participating in an event to raise awareness and funds for the Furniture Bank, a non-profit organization in Toronto that works to provide furniture and household goods to low-income families in the city. In 2009 the Furniture Bank helped over 2,000 families create a furnished home with dignity and this year, they hope to impact 2,400 families.
The event is called Chair Affair, and will showcase the designs of local artists donating their talents and their time to create works of art with ordinary chairs from the Furniture Bank warehouse warehouse. Twenty-nine chairs will be showcased in a silent auction with five of these special chairs being auctioned live.
After much brainstorming and collaboration between the entire team, our chair has been completed and shipped off to the lovely folks at the Furniture Bank in anticipation of the Affair on Thursday October 21st at the Steam Whistle Brewery. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.
Although we can't show you the finished product, here's a couple of before shots of our chair and some insight into our inspiration for the piece. We hope you like it and we hope to see you there!
"The concept for this chair was born from the natural approach that Creative Matters takes when embarking on any new rug design project that we receive.
Each Creative Matters client presents a blank canvas – in this case, a chair. Our aim is to present a beautiful and luxurious product to our client by taking care to work through the processes of design which result in the finest end product available.
"Our chair is upholstered with fine linen and 100% silk rug pieces that were hand-woven in Nepal. The stitching is a whimsical element that represents the early stages of our design process where we sketch concepts or motifs for visual direction. The beautiful fabrics, golden-hued wooden legs, and Dupioni silk buttons are all pieces of inspiration that a client may give us to work from. These elements, delicately layered together, create a very personalized story that reflects how Creative Matters works, in the form of a luxurious, hand-made chair."
Stay tuned for the grand unveiling and help support the Furniture Bank!
Creative Matters has always been determined to instill socially conscious practices in regard to the creation of their rugs. The weavers who make the rugs, in the many countries where they are woven, are adult artisans. Along with Creative Matters’ insistence that all the rugs from Nepal be child labour free, we’re always looking for ways to expand our focus beyond the walls of the factories. On Thursday June 6th we took it one step further by hosting a coat drive in an effort to send warm clothing and outerwear to the street children in Kathmandu. Michael Pourvakil and his team at Weavers Art Contemporary, generously hosted the evening in their beautiful Designers Walk showroom.
As a regular visitor to the city, CMI co-founder, Carol Sebert gets to see the beautiful parts of this South Asian country but also some of the darker images Kathmandu holds. She says:
"While in Nepal last November, I saw a number of kids living on the streets. It gets cold in Kathmandu in the winter and kids are forced to sleep next to dogs to stay warm. I was struck by this tragic existence and wanted to make a difference.”
According to UNICEF, "Street living children are children who may have lost their families through war or illness, or have been abandoned because they had become too much of a burden, or else ran away from their abusive, dysfunctional, poverty-stricken families and now live alone on the streets. Many poor children are struggling for survival out in the streets, sleeping on makeshift cardboard mattresses in main cities like Kathmandu.”
Our event was a success, raising awareness and collecting over 100 coats to send to Kathmandu with the help of Child Welfare Scheme, U.K.- Nepal who will aid in the distribution of the coats and ensure that the outerwear gets to those in need. Our CWS representative, Jeremy Southon wrote to us this morning with his distribution game plan,
“ We will have them delivered to one of your suppliers so that they can clear it through customs as I will be managing distribution in Kathmandu…Once the clothes have arrived I should put together a clear distribution plan for your approval and then get the clothes distributed in early December when the cold season starts.”
We look forward to an update from Jeremy in the coming months. A special thanks for the huge efforts put forth by staff and students of Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School, Toronto, for taking up our plight and gathering a great number of coats and outerwear. We also warmly thank friends and neighbors of Creative Matters for their donations as well.