Interview with Brigitte Stroud of Plush on Main
If you came to Vancouver Mini Maker Faire in 2011, you probably came across Plush‘s booth, where you could have made a bottle cap pendant, or purchased a felting kit. Or, you could have seen or worked on the giant felt egg that they brought to the Museum of Vancouver Fundraiser party back in March.
For this year’s faire, they’ll be back at it again, with a sponsored booth and even more felting demonstrations. Plush on Main, located on 4296 Main Street, hosts regular workshops on sewing and felting, and features art and crafts made by local artists. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Plush and you’re wanting to get your felt on, or check out some really great handmade goods, I highly recommend checking out their shop! It’s full of creativity, hand-made art, and knowledge-sharing.
I recently caught up with Brigitte, and learned a bit more of what Plush is all about, and what they will be bringing out for Maker Faire. (Note, Plush is also one of our official ticket sellers for the event, so if you’d like to purchase paper tickets, you can stop by one of these 3 locations and pick them up). Here is a bit of what she had to say:
1. What do you plan on demonstrating at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year?
We just got in a fresh batch of lovely wool roving that we can’t wait to mess around with, so we’ll be teaching people how to make felted beads, which is a quick and easy introduction to wet-felting.
2. What was your experience like at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire in 2011, and at the fundraiser party in March?
Amazing on both counts! At last year’s Maker Faire we helped people make nearly 400 bottlecap pendants, which was both inspiring and exhausting. The giant needle-felted Easter egg that we had people working on at the fundraiser was a ton of fun, and it was incredible to watch it turn from a blank (albeit fuzzy) surface to an explosion of different colours and textures by the time the evening was over.
3. Who are some of the feature artists’ works in Plush? What items go the quickest?
What’s best-selling changes week-to-week, sometimes day-to-day! Perennial favourites are Kris Brownlee’s (AKA A Cagey Bee) art panels and lockets, the Naked Soapworks’ line of bodycare products, and the whimsical feltings and DIY felting kits from Blushing Lotus Designs.
4. Can you talk a bit about some of the workshops you have hosted at Plush?
Opening up our studio for public workshops has been super-exciting! And a little bit scary at first… akin to inviting a whole bunch of strangers over to cook in your kitchen! We have a regular rotation of needle-felting, wet-felting, hair fascinator, and t-shirt modification workshops. We’ve recently added a card-making class and a home-made bodycare product class, both of which we think will become regulars on our roster. We also occasionally open up the studio for free craft drop-ins, and every month the Vancouverites for Steampunk meet in our space for their monthly craft meets.
Learn more about Plush and check out their upcoming workshops on their website, or check them out on Facebook.
Interview with Brigitte Stroud of Plush on Main
Did you build your own food cart? Do you serve food that is out of the ordinary? Are you a self-contained unit? Are you nodding “Yes!” Then we want to hear from you! Please fill out our food vendor application and we will be in touch shortly.
This year, we are partnering with the PNE, and have agreed that our event can have non-PNE food vendors, as long as the food you are serving doesn’t already exist with other PNE vendors. We are also looking for vendors with a unique “Maker” spin on your food, cart, or general set-up. Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions. We are going to select 10 food trucks (8 food + 2 beverages / snacks).
This past Sunday, May 6th, Got Craft? put on an epic show. With over 50 colourful vendors and just over 1300 attendees, it was impressive that all that crafty cuteness could fit in one room. A job well done to the organizers, vendors, and everyone involved. My personal favourite: Rice Babies. So cute!
The Public Art Crew (Mike + Christina) were the masterminds behind our set-up. Mike brought out 2 tall bikes that he had built (Don’t forget to ‘like‘ the Art Bike Project on FB), which were such great substitutes to flimsy posters: He just rolled them in and it was like instant signage. Christina, Anna, and Kim all put their minds together, and pulled off some super fun yarn bombing outside of the front entrance. Check it out:
See those objects hanging off the pole? Those are recycled bottles that Christina has re-purposed and covered with crochet. She also put an old tank top to use, and used the materials to cover one of the art bikes.
A big thanks to Kim for coming out and helping out as well! Hai Kim!
Some of the details: Anna crocheted the flowers:
We had a few scraps left over that were knit up by Anna. I couldn’t help but use the remainder to yarn bomb part of the pakora truck. Thanks pakora guy! (Chris).
Means of Production Garden or MOPARRC (Means Of Production Artist Raw Resource Collective) is a native plant garden and a terraced fruit orchard “creative commons” garden that cultivates materials for artists and art projects. The project started in 2002 with Oliver Kelhammer as lead artist, working with the Vancouver Parks Board and Community Arts Council of Vancouver funding the Environmental Youth Alliance (EYA) as a partner. The garden has provided artists with materials for basket weaving for the Urban Weaver Project, materials for natural dyeing, as well as wooden horned instruments, in the case of the Legion of Flying Monkeys. The garden is located at the corner of St. Catherines Street and East 6th Avenue. Located in central Vancouver, in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.
Natural Dye Experiments, Blue Mollusc
Don’t put it off any longer; right now is the time to apply! This early bird rate is best for commercial vendors. Rates will increase by 20% after this Saturday, April 21st.
Calling all craft vendors, farmers, tech-tinkerers, hobbiests and more! Don’t delay, apply to be a Maker before the cut off of this Saturday. Precious space is filling up quickly and we want to make sure we reserve a space for your project. Apply now.
Big Mike has spearheaded the first ever Vancouver Mini Maker Faire art bike project, where he is recruiting Makers to start decorating, building and creating custom bicycles – of all shapes and sizes. So far he’s managed to wrangle bicycle fabricators, sign decorators, and has found a pile of bicycle parts for pillaging. His overall goal is to learn how to make bicycles from old parts, meet friends, engage with Vancouver’s cycling community, and help promote Vancouver Mini Maker Faire. He’s looking to do more, and looking for more people to get involved. You do not have to have experience with welding to join the project – just enthusiasm Sign up now to get involved!
1) Where did the idea for the art bike project come from, and how did it start?
I was inspired by the yarn bombing project from last year. I had been thinking over the winter about creative, maker-themed ways to attract attention and media coverage. I realized that art bikes, and tall bikes specifically would be a great way to do that. Vancouver has a very strong bicycle culture with lots of people already making tall and alternative bicycles here. I figured that a brightly colored, wildly decorated tall bike, with Vancouver.MakerFaire.ca boldly emblazoned across it would be a very effective mobile platform for promoting Maker Faire.
2) Can you talk a bit about the different people that are helping to make this happen?
I have received a lot of support and advice from many quarters, but there are some in particular who have proven invaluable. Nearly all of the old bicycles and parts I have used have come from the Pedal Depot and the UBC Bike Co-op. Huge thanks to both those organizations! Many of the people on the Maker Faire team have been invaluable with support and guidance Emily, Richard and Ben have been awesome at encouraging and motivating me! Christina has done so much for this project, and it’s about to payoff in a big way! I am going to have lots of bikes for her and her creative, artistic people to decorate very soon! Neal DeGroote has also decorated his own bicycle and let us show it off at the MOV Fundraiser. You may see him riding it around the city as well. Down at the Vancouver Community Lab there’s been many people, like Jim and Conrad who’ve given some very good advice, but the one person who’s made the biggest difference is Ryan Paton.This dude is awesome! He’s been there for every one of our Wednesday evening and Saturday build session (plus lots of other time). He’s given materials, shared expertise and loaned tools and equipment! We’re getting very close to having bikes ready to put out on the street and we wouldn’t be if it weren’t for Ryan! All you have to do is look at the Facebook page and what you see is Ryan, making bikes and riding them!
3) What kinds of skills are you gaining through the process of putting together this project?
Aside from the larger goal of helping Maker Faire, I did have a few personal goals for this project. I wanted to get to know some of the people in the art and bicycle scenes. I wanted to get some experience rallying and motivating people. Mostly I wanted to get a bunch of like-minded strangers together and have them emerge as a large group of bike making fiends! I mean friends!
I also have the goal of learning to make creative alternative bikes. Years ago, I was very into biking but had fallen away from it. I’m wanting to get back into biking in a big way! In 1995 I went on a big bicycle tour, and I’m working on getting a leave of absence from my job to do a big ride this fall. I want to make myself a recumbent bike and ride it 2-3000km. Actually, I’m going to make a fairly normal recumbent bike first (a tour-easy clone), but I have some very ambitious ideas about a hybrid recumbent/upright/cargo/camping solar-powered, arduino-controlled, electric assist bike. There’s a whole lot of things about that bike that I don’t know how to do, (yet) but I’m aiming high and taking it step by step, acquiring skills as I go. First thing – learn to weld old bikes.
4) How many bicycles do you think you will be putting together? Decorating?
Initially, I had been hoping to make 15-20 bikes. I have come to realize that 8-10 is probably more manageable for our first year. We have 4 bikes nearly ready for decorating now, and now that the process is worked out, the rest will materialize quickly. I want to have at least 3 or 4 out on display at various prominent bike racks at any given time, with a few in reserve for weekends, big events and repair (hopefully not necessary, but I’m prepared to repair/replace). We’re going to be aiming for main commuter hubs during the week, making sure to place the bikes out of the way, but in high-visibility locations. Tallbikes are awesome for this as they have no larger a footprint than a normal bike, will not take up any more than a normal footprint at a bike rack, but really stand out! On the weekends, we’ll be targeting events (craft fairs, bike events, sporting events) where there’ll be lots of foot traffic and high-visibility bike racks. I’m looking for suggestions for events, bike-themed or otherwise.
5) What’s your favourite part of this project so far?
I’ve met some amazing people! That’s been the best part by far! This city is full of really awesome, creative people!
I love having an output for my creative energy! sending out ideas and bouncing them around with people is awesome!
All of the bikes we have used have been pulled from the garbage stream. Every single bike was on it’s way to being recycled or trashed. I love to get new value and new life out of old things. We throw away too much stuff. I really love the Pedal Depot and UBC BIke Coop for the invaluable work that they do in this area. They rebuild/recover old bikes and get them to people that need and will use them. It’s an honor to me that I can take the stuff that even they can’t use and make something wonderful out of it.
Least favorite part = I keep burning my arms while welding ’cause I’m a klutz.
Do you want to make an art bike but don’t know how or have the tools/facilities? Come talk to us! Our regular times at the Colab are Wednesday evenings 5-9(ish) and Sundays 10-4(also ish). Also, keep an eye on the Volunteer calendar for more updates and events if you’d like to come help out.
We are looking for bicycles too! If you have some old beast that’s been lurking out back or under your stairs, unloved and unappreciated, let us show it some love!
If you have an idea for some other way you could, or would like to contribute, please let us know! Send Mike an email at email@example.com