I am a director, playwright, and theatre critic with a Masters in Writing for Performance. You can check out my my portfolio and musings at www.samsaradunston.blogspot.com.au
Save the world one earring at a time
A whole new world of possibility, fun and skill building has opened up for me with the discovery of Put Your Heart Into It. I went along to one of their craft events - 'Ethical Pop Art Jewellery Workshop' - and not only learnt how to make my own earrings (and take them home with me), but had an evening of great delight meeting new people, sharing in their creativity, and doing it all with the accompaniment of local wine, cheese, fruit and great music.
Put Your Heart Into It was started by Laura Issell. Event Manager Anna Kastrissios began the evening by weaving the legend of the company. Issell is an op-shop addict (aren't we all?) and came up with Put Your Heart Into it to legitimise her compulsion to buy and repurpose lovely old things. Searching for a way to bring people together, build communities and develop ethical, sustainable, and beautiful living practices, this wonderful venture was born.
The array of workshops and events Put Your Heart Into It delivers is boundless and my initiation was the 'Ethical Pop Art Jewellery Workshop' which, on the night I went, focussed on earrings. Led by Emma Grace the three-hour workshop was one of complete immersion in the activity. I ended up coming away with three pairs of beautiful, handcrafted earrings of my own design and construction!
Grace has a degree in visual arts and began her career in visual merchandising. She has since moved into jewellery design. This workshop focussed on earrings because, as Emma pointed out, "who throws away earrings?" As a person with two sets of holes in her ears I can attest I am not that person. Focussing on sustainability and recycling, the materials she provided - including plastics, cardboard, leather, tubing, old lotion containers, and other intriguing materials - were all sourced at Reverse Art Truck.
Apart from learning about glues and pliers and connecting techniques, the workshop was also a great opportunity for us all to share tips and tricks such as storing your earring collection on your curtain rather than letting them get tangled and damaged in a box. The evening started abuzz with conversation and laughter as we all partook of a locally sourced and sustainable grazing table of godlike delight and wine (herbal tea for the more sensible of us) whilst getting to know each other. The room got much quieter as we became engrossed in our designs but it was the fun kind of quiet as the group tried working with new materials and developing new techniques. My cheeks grew tired because even though I wasn't talking much I realised at the end of the evening I had been smiling the entire time!
The quiet of concentration as art is being created
Grace showed pure genius when, after a brief introduction and demonstration, she instructed us all just to start making something. Her instructions included not worrying about what happened with the first pair - just jump in and make something and then the rest will flow. She was right. It turned out, though, that everyone's first piece was magnificent and some even went on to branch into necklaces and pendants. We all got to take our creations home which made it a very rewarding and fulfilling experience. It was also good for our self-esteem because we were all exclaiming in delight at each others' creations. Someone even offered to buy one pair off me! I couldn't bring myself to part with them though.
The 'Ethical Pop Art Jewellery Workshop' is only one of a huge myriad of workshops presented by Put Your Heart Into It and they are conveniently located in Northcote across the Merri Creek from Ceres Community Environment Park. The workshops vary in price from free to very expensive depending on the skill/craft you are interested in learning. The company also create experiences for corporate events, hens parties, installations, and a huge range of other opportunities.