It has long been a dream of mine to set up a not-for-profit social enterprise in Toronto to assist people to recycle, reuse and repurpose materials with creative potential that would otherwise become part of the waste materials going to the dumpsites. That would just be the beginning.
I envision a warehouse/store setup filled with industrial cut-offs, scrap fabric, scrap lumber, unwanted art materials, bins full of red shiny things, pop-tabs, threads, gears, cogs, strange bits of unknown hardware and electronic waste, leftovers from basement inventors tool rooms, craft rooms, and junk drawers.
And it would be open to all to explore and purchase bits and pieces that are sometimes hard to come by - especially when you need them for a project you envision making. And all this without individuals needing to keep collecting the bits in their own over-packed homes and studios where they tinker and make things. Or without community groups needing to find and store all the necessary materials for projects.
People could donate things they do not want, for a store credit. buy things on a cost-recovery basis. And then - a gallery and shop of maker objects and art; tables to work on, tools to work with; repair lessons; technique lessons; workshops on repurposing and the environment; idea jam sessions. In short, it will be an intercultural, intergenerational program and facility that crosses all social and educational boundaries and accessible to all.
I have started to explore the practicalities of this idea, this dream. I need energy skills and lots of help to set it up and to keep it running. I have taken the first tentative steps - asking what people think and received an overwhelming "what a great idea, we need that in Toronto."
The next step was exposure at the Makers Festival August 1-2, 2015. Complete with a 20-minute talk, a laptop presentation and sign up sheets asking for input and volunteers to help the idea get lift-off.
After that? We shall see...