Craft Talks

Craft Talks

-  June 9: Chromatic Geography, Panel Presentation
-  June 29: Introduction to Self-Care for Makers, Workshop 1
-  September 30: Self-Care for Makers, Workshop 2


Chromatic Geography
Panel Discussion
Friday, June 9, 2017, 5-6 pm
Craft Ontario, 1106 Queen St. W., Toronto
FREE to attend

Panel:  Kathy Hattori, Laura Sansone, Mackenzie Kelly-Frere, Becky Porlier.
Moderator: Thea Haines

Join us for this panel discussion, where four leading voices in the area of textiles and sustainability discuss questions around the use and understanding of natural colorants.  Kathy Hattori, with us from Seattle, will discuss her experience in scaling up the use of natural dyes and various applications for brands and within industry.  Artist Mackenzie Kelly-Frere will look at how natural dyes fit into his own artistic practice as well as considering the interest amongst new generations of students. Becky Porlier of Upper Canada Fibreshed will talk about the movement towards local fibre and colour in Canada, while Laura Sansone will join us from New York to discuss developments in re-shoring and regional production.  Chromatic Geography co-curator Thea Haines will moderate.

Panel Participant Bios

Kathy Hattori is often described as the “guru” of the natural dye world.  Since 2003, she has worked with artisans and industry to promote the understanding and use of natural dyes. Her company, Botanical Colors in Seattle, USA, supplies artisans and industry with dye materials, and provides consulting and support for emerging designers, brands and artisans, as well as consulting with established retail brands. She has developed numerous processes involving natural dye extracts for use in industrial textile production, as well as having created natural dye programs for the largest organically certified tannery in Europe. In 2013, she was awarded a USDA VAPG grant for natural dye research. Kathy is in high demand around the world as a speaker, teacher and researcher in the area of natural dyes.

Laura Sansone is a textile designer, activist, and consultant. She is the creator of Textile Lab, an organization that works to build and promote environmentally responsible textiles, and regional systems of production. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Alternative Fashion Systems at Parsons The New School For Design, School for Design Strategies (SDS). She has lectured about the economic revitalization of regional textile production at the following venues: Textile Society Of America’s Symposium, Cross Currents/2016, Surface Design Association’s Made/Aware Symposium/ 2015, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design’s, Sow To Sow conference/ 2014, and the Textile Society Of America’s Symposium, New Directions/ 2014. Laura has worked as a woven textile designer for the commercial and residential market at the following companies: Burlington House Fabrics, Maharam, and American Silk Mills.

Rebecca Porlier is the Co-Founder of Upper Canada Fibreshed and has a B.A. in Anthropology from Wilfrid Laurier University and a M.Sc. in Capacity Development and Extension from the University of Guelph.  Her work and research focus on sustainability and material culture through the lens of permaculture.  Her research explores strategies for organizational development, group facilitation, qualitative research, communication and community building in the context of organic agriculture and rural development.

Mackenzie Kelly-Frère is an artist and educator whose work has been exhibited across Canada. His international exhibitions have included China, Japan, Korea and the United States. He has also contributed texts to various Canadian and international publications including Craft Perception & Practice Vol III and recently to Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture. Mackenzie teaches in the School of Craft & Emerging Media at the Alberta College of Art & Design in Calgary, Canada where he lives with his husband Kristofer Kelly-Frère and daughter Elizabeth. His current work can be found at

Thea Haines is a textile designer, artist, educator, and educator.  She holds an MA in Textile design from Chelsea College of Art and Design, in London, UK.  She previously studied Textile Design at Sheridan College and holds a BA Honours in Art And Comparative Literature from McMaster University.  Currently an instructor in textile design at Sheridan College, she was previously artist-in-residence in the Craft Studio at Harbourfront Centre and a member of the Contemporary Textile Studio Co-operative, Toronto. Her research, practice and consultancy is focused on the use of natural colourants in surface design, printing and small-scale production, including the cultivation and harvest of colour-producing plants. Her recent natural dye research makes the case for natural dyes as sustainable alternatives to chemical dyes in craft production for printed and dyed textiles.

 Introduction to Self-Care for Makers
Peptalks: Workshop
Thursday, June 29, 2017, 6-8 pm
Craft Ontario, 1106 Queen Street West, Toronto
FREE for members
$15 for non-members

Registration Required

Join us for the inaugural session of our themed series, PepTalks, for a workshop-style introduction to self-care. PepTalks is dedicated to expanding your creativity, collectively navigating the challenges of the craft sector, and building upon our existing communities to magnify your potential.

Craft Ontario is pleased to present you with an introductory self-care workshop customized to the experience of a maker. We will discuss the daily challenges that you might experience, finding balance in producing your work, maintaining your creativity, and taking care of yourself, while simultaneously navigating the bigger picture of self-care as a creatively-driven individual.

This workshop will provide hands-on activities, group discussion, and accessible strategies for incorporating what you've learned into your daily life and artistic practice. 

Facilitator Bio

Susannah McGeachy, MN, NP-PHC practices as a primary health care nurse practitioner at the Al and Malka Green Artists’ Health Centre at Toronto Western Hospital. She trained at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University for undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing, and she also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

After leaving hospital nursing, Susannah has worked in a variety of clinical settings in Southern Ontario as a nurse practitioner and has led workshops on topics including stress management, smoking cessation and artist self-care. She works to integrate creativity and self-determination into her own life and those of her clients. A creative soul, Susannah has a number of interests including swing dance, long distance running, needlecrafts, and can often be found taking in new Canadian theatre in her hometown of Toronto.

Self-Care for Makers
Peptalks: Workshop
Saturday, September 30, 2017, 12-1:30 pm
Craft Ontario, 1106 Queen Street West, Toronto
Free for members
$15 for non-members

Registration Required

The follow-up to our introductory self-care workshop provides a safe space for participants to gather to discuss the daily struggles that you're individually confronting as a creative professional. Your craft is important – but sometimes it can feel overwhelming. Maybe you have been losing sleep over that grant application? Perhaps you didn’t have time to each lunch today because of that deadline? Or maybe you just need a walk around the block since you’ve been at your bench most of the day? These seemingly simple day-to-day tasks are easy to overlook, especially when you’re dictating your own schedule and generating your own income.

Join us for a holistic group discussion about the philosophies of self-care for creatively driven individuals, help each other navigate common challenges, and take away accessible strategies to incorporate what you've learned into your practice.

PepTalks is a series dedicated to expanding your creativity, collectively navigating the challenges of the craft sector, and building upon our existing communities to magnify your potential.

Facilitator Bio

sonjaheadshot.jpgSonja Seiler is the founder of Nurture: a creative sanctuary for entrepreneurs through a selection of services including, retreats, catering, curated events, and a coworking B&B (coming soon!). Having spent the last 10 years providing holistic support and care for aspiring professional dancers supervising the Residence at Canada’s National Ballet School, she is passionate about how nurturing one’s relationship to oneself and one’s creative practice makes for a better career foundation. 

She believes wholeheartedly that creativity is a form of holy self care - that's been the only way past her own chronic intellectual, stuck-in-overthinking-mode ways. She started Nurture out of a need in herself to work alchemically with her darker, needier, or unmet parts and discovered a place of inner strength and resilience there. Sonja is passionate about creating safe spaces to explore this creative realm with others on the same path and about how food helps bring people together in community to create these spaces.


Who We Are

Formerly the Ontario Crafts Council, Craft Ontario is a not-for-profit service organization that works to have craft recognized as a valuable part of life. We promote and celebrate professional craft through providing member opportunities, and advocate for craft practice by educating and empowering diverse audiences.