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Collaboration: The Heart of Gather

October 02, 2020

Collaboration: The Heart of Gather

Dani has been doing lots of sewing 1:1 teaching lately. Here these two sewed the cutest little cardigan for a special photo shoot. 

Weaving and sewing are often seen as solitary pursuits--we sit alone at the loom or the sewing machine, working quietly and intently on the textile work in our hands. While we do love our quiet crafting time, anyone who weaves or sews also knows how important our connections with other people are. We look back at the people who have built our textile traditions over the generations, and we share our excitement with newcomers to our crafts. We gather together in workshops and guilds, consult friends and experts, and gleefully share the fruits of our labour with other people. Collaboration is at the heart of craft.


Collaboration is also at the heart of Gather. We were founded when Kim, a weaver, and Angela, a sewist, joined forces to create a place where they could combine their expertise and share love and knowledge of both their passions. This is seen most clearly in our Weave and Sew workshops, where Kim helps participants weave their own cloth and Angela shows them how to incorporate that weaving into a sewing project. They also work together on intricate textile projects, like the stunning handwoven coat they co-created for the Alberta Craft Council. Collaboration runs through all of Gather from projects and workshops down to the details of running a business. If you haven’t already heard the story of Kim and Angela’s partnership, check out their recent episode of the Weave Podcast! Working together on the business makes it both more resilient and more fun.


Sarah is cutting into her handwoven fabric with the encouragement of Angela

One of the benefits of collaboration is that it gives us courage to take creative risks. Cutting into a handwoven piece of fabric to sew with it is terrifying, but knowing that Angela has taken the time to do test runs, make a muslin, and tweak the pattern to perfection takes (most of) the fear out of putting scissors to fabric. Collaboration also encourages us to keep learning and stay open-minded. Weaving might feel overwhelming to a master sewist, and vice versa. When we stretch ourselves to incorporate other skills and the input of other people, we spark our creative fire.


Now, in some ways 2020 is a terrible year to emphasize collaboration. How do we collaborate when we can’t be within six feet of each other? But in other ways, 2020 is the perfect year to focus on how we can work together, lift each other up, and grow as a community. Now more than ever, we know that we can’t do this alone.


So how is Gather rising to the challenge of collaboration during Covid? We are working on creative ways to connect across distance, like our brand new online course. We are making sure our workshops are small and safe, so that in-person collaboration can continue to thrive. We are building a staff of enthusiastic collaborators who each bring their own superpowers to the table. And of course we are still hearing from all of you about your ideas and schemes, and supporting you as you bring them to life!


We’re also reaching outside of our doors to connect with other inspirational collaborators. We recently began stocking Duet and Mallo, two beautiful yarns developed by Gist Yarn and Fibres in collaboration with people working in the North American textile supply chain. We are connecting with community organizations like E4C to provide accessible weaving workshops to residents of the Boyle-McCauley neighbourhood. I am sure by 2021 we will have even more exciting new projects to share with you!

 


Darlene (with book) has been working 1:1 with Shannon for the past several months. Together they design drafts, wind warps and weave. Shannon brings a wealth of weaving expertise and Darlene brings a great eye for colour and an infectious enthusiasm!

So thank you for being our collaborators. Thank you for being part of our community of crafty people, and for sharing your joy and creativity. We’ll be telling our stories of collaboration on the blog over the next few months. We’d also love to hear how collaboration is part of your own craft practice! If you have a story to share, drop us a line any time at info@gather.com. We are so grateful that none of us has to do this alone.