As our exploration of legends continues at PARC, something else is happening right next door at Edmond Place. Lead artist Jonathan Valelly received a Platform A micro-grant through the Toronto Arts Council to do a project at Edmond Place with the support of Making Room.
Seeking to explore the rhythms of life at Edmond Place, which although related to PARC, has its own dynamic and culture, Jonathan’s workshops so far have been exploring the role that smoking plays in the lives of virtually everybody there. Rather than taking any specifically health-based approach, the group has been asking questions not necessarily about whether or how to quit — though that comes up. Rather, we’ve been inquiring about how smoking shapes our day, season, year, and life; how it positions us to see and be seen in different ways; how it fits into our experience of social, emotional, and bodily cycles.
So far, the group has been producing writing and visual art at the same time. Through many writing techniques such as the prompted poem, list-making, cut up poems, and free writing, Jonathan and his small, but growing group of participants has already written a good bit of text toward what will ultimately be a series of handmade books. One of the most exciting things about this process has been the editing process, which has proven to be one of the most rigorous, but also most exciting part of text creation so far.
As a matter of process, we’ve also made some beautiful art — fake cigarettes using coffee-dyed paper, handmade cigarette boxes, and recently, a colourful hanging grid composed of miniature watercolour paintings, each of which has a word or phrase on it inspired by music related to smoking.
As we move towards the eventual production of this book, we are savoring the process of learning to make art and texts with new people and in a new context. Look forward to big things coming from Making Room at Edmond Place!