The Dragonflies and the Workshop 2


The first public workshop for hand-made tsumami kanzashi dragonflies in Cluj-Napoca, with the support of Incubator107 Cluj – march 18th 2013.

Monday evening, the sun has just set, the people are going home from work. On Eroilor Boulevard you can see the streetlights turning on. I know I have to get to the Bookstory Bookstore (funny name, I know), number 6-8. What does 6-8 mean? In this case, like many others, it means that I walk around the place without finding it for 10 minutes and then finally spot the glass door. Glass doors usually do that to me.

Inside the bookstore the air is warm and welcoming and our workshop room is in the basement, well lit and with books and games-covered walls, waiting for visitors to explore them. In the middle there is a small table, slightly larger that the one I usually work on. We’ll make it, even though we have a lot of stuff we need to find space for that will end up all over the table and beyond.

I can see my “apprentices” arriving, eager to learn how to make dragonflies out of recycled fabrics. I expected them to be a bit late, but I am pleasantly surprised that they arrived on time. I’m still fidgeting around the room, placing things within reach, so that everything runs smooth. We have two very good glue guns, many kinds of fabrics and accessories that I needn’t have brought (I usually accessorize flowers rather than dragonflies).Picking out the fabrics

We start by presenting ourselves. This time I didn’t prepare a ‘script’, I wanted everything to run on a natural pace, working and telling our stories at the same time, just the way it’s supposed to work. After a short introduction about myself (as an environmental sciences graduate who loves to work with fabrics), the Butterfly Garden and the Incubator107 (a really nice project that helps people teach others what they know), we start working on the first petals. I call them petals even though they later become wings since it’s easier to talk about them like that. This first petal is an exercise in order to learn the technique.Work in progress

We pick our favorite fabrics and we start working on the dragonflies. All of the participants give us a few words about themselves for an hour (we keep starting new discussion topics, so it takes a long time to get around the table) and we discover that we have two pairs of sisters and six pairs of people that have lived or are living together. You wouldn’t have thought that’s possible with 9 people, would you? We work, we laugh, make very bad jokes, ask questions, inspire and help each other and finally we have 7 unique and beautiful dragonflies.Finishing touchesBlack bodied navy blue dragonfly.

In the end we evaluate this little event: what we liked – the open atmosphere, we relaxed after a full day of working; what we’re left with – mostly the dragonflies; we will recommend the workshop to our friends. I gained a great deal of experience (especially regarding adaptability to surprises and space management, as well as in teaching), I had a lot of fun and I gained some donations that will be used for developing the Butterfly Garden.General viewThe girls with the dragonflies

What do you think about such a workshop? Would you take part in one? What would you change or add to it? I’m looking forward to your opinions and suggestions and I wish you good luck in your projects!


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2 thoughts on “The Dragonflies and the Workshop

  • romy

    Hi Andrea,
    would love to find out more about how you advertised the workshop in order to give input on what to change in the future. Overall, I think you did a great job and it’s good that you have a chance to earn more experience in a rather safe environment.
    I guess to go on from there, it’s all about thinking further: can you ask people to pay for these workshops to cover your material costs and earn a small contribution to your living? How will you keep in touch with people after the workshops? Did you put out an emailing list or distribute flyers with your Facebook site? Ideally, these women would come back another time or at least buy some of your products now that they appreciate the work behind and quality of what you do. Also, how can you ‘use’ them to promote your work further (e.g. if one of their sisters gets married, it would be nice if they suggest that she buy your flowers for decoration).
    Another, not too serious question: will there ever be men in your workshops?? 😉
    Wish you all the best for the future!
    romy

    • Andi

      Dear Romy,

      Funny that you should ask about the guys, I already had men in both workshops. One of them made a cute flower for his girlfriend in the first workshop. One quit half way (but he’s with the Incubator, so he’s attended both workshops) and one of them was there for support, he’s more into programming, handy with the keyboard, not so much with scissors and glue guns.

      I promoted the event mostly through Facebook and the Incubator107 website, in my own online community and the Incubator’s community too, so I only knew half the attendees on Monday evening, which was very nice. Thus they all know about my Facebook page (and hopefully my website too). There will be a second workshop with a different theme (probably butterflies), some of them will come back and they said they would tell their friends about it.

      Regarding the contribution, the Incubator runs on donations, so after each event, the attendees leave a sum of their choosing (around 3 euros), which is then split, similar to what we did at the Web of Life event. So that is enough for me to cover my costs and put a little bit to the side to put back in the project when I need to make an investment (for materials or tools).

      I’m working now in parallel on a few ideas, among which paper flower bouquets for brides (they take less time and pain to make than the silk ones) and I’ll start putting them online too as soon as I finish the first one. I’m just trying to balance everything now, school, the project and looking for a job. I hope I’ll make it alive and strong.

      Thank you for your support!
      Hugs, Andrea.