Blog post 5 – January 11, 2016 by Alisdair MacRae
Possibly the most important lesson I’ll take away from the workshops is to expect the unexpected, and learn to work with that. I was looking forward to picking up the toques I’d ordered with Jason’s drawing embroidered on them. The weather was much colder now than when I’d ordered them before the holiday break. So, I was equally excited to see how they looked as well as get them to people who would really need them.
The package arrived on 7 January, a few days after the first workshop of 2016. The quality of the material was good, however, there was a very slight difference between the proof and the original drawing. One of the eyes was coloured green, and the other was coloured blue. However, there was no sign of the green thread on the finished hats. I was really concerned about disappointing Jason, as he’d been so excited about seeing the proofs for the embroidery work.
I contacted the company about the difference, and they were very understanding. They agreed to re-do the order, and suggested I could either return the hats, or pay for them at a discount. I had already distributed the hats I’d received at the workshop on 11 January. Fortunately, Jason was there so I could explain what had happened. He was not upset in the slightest, and when I asked if I could take his photo wearing one of the hats, he slyly said I could take his photo with the ones that were properly made.
I wasn’t able to get the elevator working to go to the fourth floor to announce the workshop, and a bad cold kept me from making an audible announcement in the lounge on the main floor. Fortunately, Lee said he would go to the fourth floor, as he had a key to the stairwell. Like clockwork, Howard and Matt arrived, and I was able to get Howard to model one of the toques. In exchange, I gave him the hat, plus a word search puzzle book. Brian was also back, so I showed him the proofs of the screen-print featuring the drawing he had provided. He seemed pleased, and joked that he would be able to sell these to people. I gave him the $10 gift certificate to Dollarama, and he soon returned with something he had purchased.
Both Brian and Matt had expressed some frustration for trying to make something in the limited time that we had. The art therapy workshop was also on Monday afternoon, and I think some of them were tired from making projects during that time. However, I felt enthused about finding a way to photograph people while modeling the clothing that was produced. Howard was still engrossed with the collage piece he had started, and I would bring in some examples of work by Robert Rasuchenberg to share the next week. Also, Lee and I were determined to get people working on a group project.
The workshop had a few new faces, including Jeremy, who was working on three drawings at once, experimenting with different media. Another person named Jeremy showed up near the end of the workshop. He had appeared before, but seemed shy. He admitted that he didn’t always feel comfortable in groups, but he avidly described how he wanted to make a drawing of impossible objects using four-point perspective. He explained what that would look like in a quick sketch, with non-sensical lines of perspective similar to works by Escher. He asked to borrow a ruler, a pencil and some pieces of paper. I gladly let him have these meagre supplies and looked forward to what he would come back with the next week.
Alisdair MacRae received a BFA from the University of Victoria in 1998, an MFA from Bard College in 2002, and completed a graduate thesis in Art History at Carleton University in 2012. MacRae uses plans to examine community and exchange, experienced through a do-it-yourself approach that enables social interactions.