Festival provides homemade solutions to consumerism

There’s something noticeably different about some of the posters going up around town. Thick cardboard signs are appearing amidst the glossy,…

There’s something noticeably different about some of the posters going up around town.

Thick cardboard signs are appearing amidst the glossy, printed posters.

And the bright pink houses on the posters appear to actually be handpainted as are the three capital letters that appear throughout: DIY.

DIY, or do-it-yourself, is the concept behind the Fraught Festival, which begins this weekend and runs until Christmas.

“Fraught” means destined to result in something undesirable or something causing anxiety or stress.

This is how co-founder of the Yukon’s DIYing Society, Joseph Tisiga, sees our current consumer society.

“We need to re-evaluate all the things we buy everyday that we don’t need or could make ourselves,” said Tisiga.

“Like recycling clothing — instead of altering clothes that don’t fit people just buy new ones.”

Tisiga is a found object artist and is constantly making use of what other people consider to be waste.

This summer Tisiga, his girlfriend Fabienne Tessier and a number of other local artists created the Somewhere Between New Cambodia and Bling Project.

Using discarded scraps of lumber the artists erected a house-like structure and covered it with layer upon layer of paint.

But found objects aren’t only useful in art.

Inside the house, an old window frame with cardboard backing is used like a corkboard to display photos, notes and small drawings.

In the living room/workshop, Rose hips are strung from the ceiling like red popcorn Christmas decorations.

Tisiga and Tessier dry the wild fruit and combine it with sage, bark, roots and berries that they collect themselves to make tea.

On the floor, among empty cans of paint and strands of yarn, sits a papier-mâché house and television.

The homemade piñatas will be smashed at an unspecified time during the Fraught Festival.

The idea for the festival grew out of a conversation that Tisiga and a few friends had about the upcoming Buy Nothing Day.

Buy Nothing Day, annually held on November 23, is an informal protest against consumerism.

“But having a single day is stupid, you know? People just stock up on things the day before,” he said.

“It’s supposed to be a celebration of non-consumerism, but you end up consuming the same amount.”

The group thought that a whole month would be a much better idea.

It would be a prolonged festival that would force people to think about what they consume and how they consume it.

The Fraught Festival kicked off today with a brief meeting in front of the Elijah Smith Building to hand out schedules and maps for a treasure hunt.

The treasure chests, which will be hidden throughout Whitehorse, are filled with miscellaneous prizes.

One box contains a book on Plato, a flying cow Christmas ornament and some drawings.

Inside another lies a pair of sunglasses, a flipbook and instructions on how to make various crafts.

On Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Whitehorse Public Library a discussion will be held about the local economy, economic diversity, co-ops and collectives.

“Conscientious” local business owners have been invited to share their stories and ideas.

Food and drink will be provided — homemade of course — and there will be plenty of time to simply hang out and talk.

On Sunday a number of workshops on how to do-it-yourself have been planned.

From 1 to 2:30 p.m., David Kluney Ross from the Boys and Girls club will be showing how to make your own books.

From 3 to 4 p.m. Tessier will teach a workshop on how to make your own underwear and menstruation pads.

As this can be a bit gender biased a comic/collage-making workshop will run at the same time.

From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. you can learn how to make homemade jewelry from common things that are lying around the house.

And from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Philippe LeBlond will be giving some tips on minor bike repair.

More workshops are planned for the subsequent weekends leading up to Christmas, in hopes of enticing people to create gifts rather than buying them.

The do-it-yourself movement is growing with craft collectives and DIY conventions throughout North America.

“You can make anything — everything you need, anyways,” said Tisiga.

He and Tessier make their own soap, for instance.

“All you need is olive oil, lye and water,” he said.

“It’s super easy — you just cook it up.”

Tessier knits clothing as well as a number of eccentric dolls.

She also makes her own pottery.

The floor of their house is currently covered in the paints and cardboard that went into making Tisiga’s posters.

He admits that making the posters by hand was a lot of work.

A common excuse for not being able to fix your own cupboards or sew your own clothes is that it’s too much work and we’re just too busy.

Tisiga has found a simple solution.

“We make time,” he said.

Time is just another thing you’ll have to learn to make yourself.

For more information visit on the Fraught Festival visit adiyingsociety.blogspot.com.