Photography for Goods: A Skills for Good(s) Event Hosted by Mike DiRisio


Photography for Goods: A Skills for Good(s) Event Hosted by Mike DiRisio

Friday, April 26th, 7pm @ CIVIC SPACE – 411 Pelissier Street, Windsor, Ontario

Photography for Goods, a Skills for Good(s) workshop hosted by University of Windsor MFA Candidate Mike DiRisio, will cover ways to light and shoot objects to white out the photograph’s background – methods similar to those used in product photography. However, we will be using very basic materials, like desk lamps and large sheets of paper, so that you can easily reproduce this at home. We’ll then do some basic edits using Adobe Photoshop software, to completely white out the background and make the photographs as sharp as possible!

Please bring a used object (preferably something no bigger than a microwave) to donate to the Common Goods freestore – we’ll be photographing these for the demo.

Please visit Common Goods to see examples of objects photographed this way, and to learn more about the project Common Goods.

Studio Snapshot: Creating Efficiencies

Yesterday afternoon: mounted a TV to the wall so we can share screens easier. This has already been awesome.

We also setup a second table as we sort through 1W3KND. Hiba went through an categorized all the archives and we’ll spend some more time on Thursday going through a first in-depth look at all of the work! And, we also started playing around with logos for a second iteration of our Homework conference.

More soon.

Scattered Notes from the end of the year

The holidays flew by, but here’s a quick look at how we spent part of it — amazingly, we almost all got together at one point or another. It’s been way too long! Right before everyone arrived home, Hiba reviews the t-shirt project … already changed again from the image above.

Rosina and Hiba took another look at the t-shirt phrasing, while simultaneously pulling together a small window installation.

Also, we made our first full-size work from the drafts we did a few weeks back.

We can’t wait to do some more of these! Above, Hiba lays the vinyl over the black background.

Bunting installation at the window.


Call to resolve, made with our little bunting app.

Call to resolve: Participate and Be Patient.

You saw our bunting app, right? This was a first draft of the little graphic.

Also, working on the installation for an upcoming show. Hardware.

Then, the holiday party!

Then, back to the studio, working on hardware for the hearts.

Michelle and Sara.

Karlyn, back from the west, and Hiba.

Josh Babcock + JB Weld.

Michelle’s adventures at the hardware store.

New vinyl.


Hardware assembly.

It failed, the first time.


Second try, with acrylic.


The gap.




Notes for a form. We’re finalizing things for this t-shirt project. You’re going to participate, right?!


Monday in the Studio: Rubber, Plaques, T-shirts

Mondays always seem to be the best studio days. Maybe it’s because the weight of the week hasn’t set in, or that the last Thursday is just far enough away that we’re motivated to try to get more work done. Whatever it is, yesterday was a particularly good example of getting things done at CIVIC SPACE.

On the table, we’re starting work on a plaque project we’ve had on the back burner for quite a while, and we’re also beginning prep work for a t-shirt project we’re planning for the new year. As part of the plaque project, we’re going to be casting a laser cut template in plaster, but first making a rubber mould. Above, Hiba and Laura open up the containers of rubber mould mixture that Hiba had left over from a project last year. The paste was still good, but the clear liquid is now a solid, so Sculpture Supply Canada, here we come.

With the prospects of making a frame in which to make the rubber mould, we went back to the laser cut acrylic. We’ll be transferring the letters and shapes from the laser cut onto a flat surface, then cover that with the rubber mixture, and then making plaster casts from that. Above, Hiba surveys the work to be done.

The plan will be to remove each letter from the template and then super glue them to a plate of glass.

At first, Hiba worked with the original sticky substrate as a base for the glass and a template to align the letters.

The stacks of letters. The burnt-brown surface is basically the paper / tape used to protect the acrylic.

Meanwhile, we also got a heat press for this t-shirt project, so Laura set out to test it.

The t-shirt vinyl cut pretty well and the initial transfer test went well.

Another test and we quickly realized we would have to cut everything in reverse.

So, back to the cutter. We still need to tweak the offset to avoid those curved kinds of corners.

So, with the vinyl cut in reverse, we take on a t-shirt test.

Laura clamps down the press.

And we realize we’ve somewhat over-cooked the shirt. The substrate for the vinyl comes off, but the shirt is left with a big light-coloured square from the press.

After remembering that we had to actually apply the letters not in reverse in order to get the mould the way we wanted, Hiba had to remove a handful of letters, glue them back together and then start over again.

This time, we printed out the original laser cut template and taped it to the back of the plate of glass.

Now, it’s a better template and will make a really good mould. Because of the rubber mix, we wanted to get as flat a surface as possible for the letters to affix to, which will avoid any weird casting problems with the plaster down the road.

All looks good, just that R in the second row that broke apart before we even started. However, we’re continually impressed with how detailed the laser cutter was.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon, Laura did more tests of temperatures and times until we got to a point where we ran out of new spots on the shirt and we think, the ultimate combination for 100% cotton shirts. We’re picking up some more test shirts, so we’ll be able to verify later this week. Heading back in today to do some more work on the plaque, picking up on some work from the posters we started last week, and maybe even some more work on Drift

Fail to Meet Expectations: Vinyl on Paint Posters

We’ve been talking about picking up on some of the ideas we put together for the OPEN panel discussion from earlier in the month, and it seemed like posters were a natural fit. Given the text statements that we made to address the an idea of economies and creative practice that served as the backdrop for our talk (rather than the normal set of images), we wanted to find a place for them beyond that PDF file.

So, Monday seemed like a great day to start playing. We’ve been doing so much paper work lately, this is long overdue.

Hiba mixed some colours and started make some base colours.

We decided from the start to cut some vinyl (rather than screen printing or stenciling at this point), so we experimented with some colour.

But, it wasn’t long before the black stood out. Hiba was using a metal scraper to spread the acrylic paint on these smaller 9×12 sheets. We want to make these larger posters soon.

Also, decided to play with some other vinyl … haven’t pulled out that gold for a while.

Detail of texture of the paint.

We printed out those slides and started sorting through.

We decided to go with just one, as we were planning to cut a couple different fonts and colours and wanted to be able to compare the results.

Good ol’ Cutting Master.

We went with Interstate and Garamond — all caps and small caps.

Hiba weeds the first cut of shiny black.

Interstate looked promising at first.

Hiba applying the vinyl to the paper.

The paint dried, but was just a bit tacky, which helped get the vinyl to stick.

Detail, applying the vinyl, you can see the text through the masking.

Pulling it up, the gloss black looks deep.

Nice and clear, but didn’t stand up to the serif font.


Side by side, we’re pretty convinced with the Garamond on the right.

Less surface area of the font face makes it a little less visible though.



Then gold, just to get some contrast into the test.

The gold is a cheaper vinyl, but a lot easier to weed.

Fixing it up, as it didn’t stick to the paint as well.

Side by side, the gold is most legible, but looks too much like a poster. Not sure what to do with the black on black yet. Thursday will be more time to play. Maybe we can get some larger paper by then … lots more to experiment with, but even looking at these photos now, I’m still pretty convinced of the black gloss serif. Maybe more play time with the texture of the paint.

I came back later on in the evening and saw the rest of the work Hiba did with matte black before she left for the day.

Definitely harder to read, but the thicker black paint and the matte vinyl really work up on the wall. Experiments on Thursday.

More soon.

Calendars, Notes, Installations, Vinyl, Camouflage, Drywall, Tests, and Hearts

Our rate of posting on here has slowed down considerably since the summer. We’re still busy, it’s just the pace of the work and projects now seems to span longer and longer time frames, and with so many ongoing and overlapping projects, it’s just a lot more challenging to find the time to keep track of it all. We’re actually putting in more time than ever, with Hiba and I meeting regularly two to three days a week and our colleagues joining in when schedules allow. It’s amazingly fun and productive, but harder than ever to document meaningfully.

So, just for a quick look into the last four or five weeks, here’s what we’ve been up to…

Above, we’re planning for the 1W3KND Writing Residency, and we’ll be announcing our participating writers and artists really soon.

We’ve also been hosting biweekly events at CIVIC SPACE. Every other Monday is All Tomorrow’s Problems. We take a lot of notes.

Every other Wednesdays are Zine Nights, and then there’s Skills For Good(s) on a semi-regular Tuesday night schedule. All of these events are free and open to everyone. We usually post the details on the right-hand side column of the front page of our website, and also try to keep up to date. Emphasis on try.

Here are some of the leftovers from Alana Bartol’s recent Skills for Good(s) on Making a Ghillie Suit!

October also allowed us to play host to Sam Lefort returning to take on a project with students from Forster.

The project and exhibition were so great and it was incredibly fun to have Sam back for an entire month.

Here’s just a little peek at her installation.

And, the process of taking down the vinyl to make way for the upcoming Cross-Plotting, opening on Friday, November 9th!

Hiba and I have been working on some other parallel projects for an exhibition in January. Think planes and banners.

Rosina provided the new over-sized pad of paper. It’s been very helpful.

We also still have some postcards left from Sam’s show, if you’d like some.

We’ve been patching the walls, a lot. I think the winter break is going to be set aside for a painting party.

We’ve also had the pleasure of Laura Gentili as a kick-ass studio assistant. She’s assembled furniture, changed door locks, organized, scanned, and sketched her way through the last few weeks, and been awesome the entire way.

Sam was kind enough to leave our space a little nicer than she found it. Above, and installation to brighten up the back office area at CIVIC SPACE.

Also, we’re still working on our window installation, with the help of Paul Anderson. Earlier today, he was testing a contact mic, while also going over details to build the Max patch we’ll actually need.

And this afternoon, Hiba and I also picked up a project that appeared in How to Forget the Border Completely.

This is something that Danielle has been wanting to do forever. Above, a really early prototype.

We’ll eventually laser cut and etch these from aluminum. Installation to follow. Also, in the background, we’re writing. We’re still working on the Homework publication with Brennan and Cholé. And, we’re planning projects into the fall of 2013. It’s good.

Help Wanted: Ad-hoc volunteer studio assistant

We’re looking for an ad-hoc volunteer studio assistant to help us do some or all of the following:

-Visual and archival research
-Building and making things
-Silk screening
-Scanning and archiving
-Basic print and/or web design
-Materials research
-General office assistance
-Installation assistance

In return for your one or two day a week time commitment, we offer the following:

-Fun and free coffee
-Experience in a professional artist-run-centre and collective
-An eclectic mix of background music including jazz, hip hop, and metalcore
-Dangerously good reference letters
-Invaluable learning opportunities that will help you make more art, be an incredibly good organizer, and maybe even get you into grad school

Preferred Qualifications:

-High school diploma, first-year University/College, or otherwise very mature
-Incredibly punctual
-Drivers license and access to a vehicle
-General care and attention to detail
-Very positive and helpful attitude
-Well organized
-Experience with power tools and/or Adobe Creative Suite

Start Date: As soon as possible
End Date: End of April 2013 (with possible contract renewal)

Interested? Please fill out the form below, ASAP!

[gravityform id=”11″ name=”Studio Assistant” ajax=”true”]

The Day’s Summary

Last night was Nadja’s Skills for Good(s) on Dressmaking for Any Body. Here’s a diagram leftover from the workshop. There’s a lot of upcoming Skills for Good(s) at CIVIC SPACE that Lucy is putting together in the fall, very excited to see the line-up!

Started the day with some sketches for a proposal, then scanned them in with our Epson DS-30… Very nice little feed-through scanner.

Then, the afternoon with Rosina, as she prepared for her zine night, I cut and then weeded vinyl. Tiny letters.

The result … a test for our Emergency Kits for North Bay … not finalized, but fun to push these parts forward.

Also, almost lost a file for the Hamilton publication. Not sure how it disappeared from Dropbox (and really not sure how I didn’t find it when looking through the deleted files section on the web version of dropbox), but nonetheless, Time Machine saved the day.

OPENED/UP: a Walk on November 30th

OPENED UP: A walk through lost, forgotten, vacant, and underused spaces.

For an hour and a half after work on Tuesday, November 30, we’ll be walking around downtown Windsor and getting access to a variety of closed / vacant / underused spaces. Justin Langlois will be guiding it with Tom Lucier and we’re hoping to have a lot of ambitious and excited people out with us. City-owned buildings, privately held storefronts, and cavernous bingo halls are all a part of our route, and you’re invited to join us in imagining a different downtown for our city — one with ample, affordable, and exciting spaces for artists, performers, musicians, and other creative-minded folks. We want to start a real conversation about what it would take to get these spaces filled with people who need them. We want to help give people a reason to be excited about being a practicing artist in this city again. We know that finding space needs to be at the top of that list, and we want to help.

This walk has been organized as part of the Artscape Creative Placemaking workshop being held on December 1st. Artscape, if you’re not already familiar with their work, has brought together and led numerous partners and stakeholders to realize massive studio and live/work retrofits of a variety of underused spaces in Toronto and figured out ways to make spaces for artists not only affordable, but integral to the surrounding neighbourhoods and economies. This walk has been something on our to-do list for a while and Artscape’s workshop just gave us the perfect excuse to do it.

Meet us at Phog Lounge at 5pm sharp. We’ll wind our way through the downtown core and head back to Phog for some food, drinks, and lots of conversation. We really want you to be there, let us know if you have any questions.