Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Creative Event with a Cause

Last Friday the Toronto Public Library held a creative event with a cause - the 2nd Annual Arts and Crafts Fair for the United Way at North York Central Library. Staff from various Toronto Public Library branches surprised library employees as well as the patrons visiting Central with their marvelous creations. 
Art and crafts of all kinds were presented at the fair: lino cuts, tiny crocheted cats and life-sized cat sleeping mats, hand-made cards, lanterns, one of a kind hand crafted wrapping paper, stuffed toys, and jewelry jewelry jewelry! 

Adrineh's creations at TPL Arts and Crafts Fair
My coworker Adrineh Lavi was probably the most versatile exhibitor/vendor at the fair. Her table was abundant with hand-crafted cards, boxes, jewelry, textile art, and tapestries. As long as she can remember herself she was always interested in making things with her hands. When speculating about where this "itch" may come from she says that she comes from a family of carpenters, designers, sewers and crafters of other kinds. "There must be something in the genes!" she laughs. 

I would not be surprised if it were so. Her jewelry pieces are truly unique. She does not simply copy designs from DYI books. Her one-of-a-kind designs "come to her" and she feels compelled to go and seek out the right materials. "It takes a long time to get the exact beads or pieces that I need for each particular design I am making," she says. "I do not want to just make whatever. I want it to be what I envisioned it to be!" And they are nothing but that! 

Two of my personal favourites are this leather knot necklace the likes of which I have never seen before...

Adrineh's leather knotted necklace

...and this upcycled brooch. Adrineh took an old brooch shell which had missing pieces and filled it with beautiful sea shells, pearls and other findings. 

Adrineh's upcycled brooch

You can view more of Adrineh's creations here: http://beadsandflourish.blogspot.ca/

Another colleague of mine, Connie Hwang, surprised me with her funky over-the-shoulder bags! She has been crafting these cool numbers on and off for a number of years now. Connie likes to upcycle  old materials and clothes. She loves the idea of reconstructing and recombining "pre-loved" materials into new and exciting items with a new purpose. But she also makes bags out of new fabrics and clothing items. Her jean and cargo purses are lined with gorgeous Chinese silks. Connie also makes little charms to go onto the straps of the bags.

One of Connie's funky bags

This cute monkey was getting all the attention at her table during the fair. Unfortunate for curious shoppers, he was not for sale.

Monkey-the-Model showing off his over-the-shoulder bag

Like true artists, Adrineh and Connie both agree that they cannot be forced to make things. Inspiration has to come to them first. Once it does however, they find it hard to stop. The process of creation compels them to keep going. I think I know exactly what they mean. It was delightful to see my familiar coworkers in this unfamiliar artistic light!

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