We spontaneously submitted a grant application for Vancouver Park Board’s Artists in Communities Program in October 2018, and EartHand Gleaners became the official 2019 artists-in-residence at Strathcona Community Centre.
From the application summary and our conversations with the committee members and arts programmers, we understand that Strathcona Community Centre’s hope for the residency is to engage youth and highlight Strathcona’s strengths as the amazing, vibrant, and full-of-possibilities community that it is. We look forward to working with all the community members, especially the youth, and hope to deepen and create new networks of relationships that sustain the magic of the neighbourhood.
Look for programming and activity schedules starting in mid-February 2019!
WHAT CAN WE MAKE WITH WHAT’S HERE?
Times are tough, and it seems like the things we want are out of reach, voices choked off. But with a little inspiration, some knack and some folks sharing skills and tools, we can at least make our own stuff, and lift up our stories.
What do you think is beautiful, helpful, useful, in Strathcona? How can we make more of it, amplify it, bring it to life?
You bring the ideas and helping hands, EartHand artists will bring the skills & expertise: photography, printmaking, pigments and natural dyes, sewing, weaving, carving, flintknapping and more… Meet cool people, learn some new skills, join the project.
EartHand’s project vision from the grant application:
Spiralling out from the Community Centre, EartHand’s Weaving Wagon becomes a mobile studio caravan bringing youth and general community members on interactive neighbourhood rambles with places, people, plants, alley treasures and skills.
What’s already here that’s beautiful, helpful, useful, inspiring?
Elaborating on EartHand’s recent youth project Walking, Weaving & Wayfinding: The False Creek Fibreshed, a set of shared sketchbooks, a blog and instagram hashtags become collaborative studio journals, recording drawings from observation, snapshots of inspiration and neighbourhood characters, inspiring participants to look more closely at their surroundings and draw attention to wonder.
How can we mark and celebrate these things?
As we ramble, EartHand artists lead informal skill development sessions based on the materials that we find around us. Drawing on ancestral as well as modern skills, leaves and grasses gathered from boulevards become rope and baskets for whimsical tree adornments; bright weed blossoms become dyes for flag bunting decorating street furniture; and alley finds become parts for “treasure markers”. Conversations about the Four R’s — respect, relationship, relevance and reciprocity — grow connections between materials and makers, elders and youth, affluent and stretched. Regular EartHand Stewardship Sessions and summer Studio Sessions at Trillium North Park provide opportunities for community members to delve deeper into place, getting their hands in the soil together and skillsharing.
How can we collaborate to amplify and generate more of these good things and experiences?
Under cover at Trillium North Park or indoors at the Community Centre or MacLean Park Fieldhouse (EartHand artist David Gowman is artist in residence there), we learn to be makers with the materials we’ve got, tinkering, weaving, bolting, and dyeing our way into more substantial works that embody our relationships and learning. A new permanent Trillium Earthloom made of metal bike components or chair parts? A corner box for gardeners to drop off their spent dahlia blossoms and daylily leaves for dyes and weaving for makers to collect? Following the principles of the Four R’s, the final forms of what we make will arise from what is relevant to the participants.
Our vision for the residency is that neighbours get to know one another a little better; that making and collaborating together helps us get through tough conversations and bridge differences; and that everyone gets the chance to see how Strathcona — human, more-than-human, and all together — is resilient, capable and abundant.