Mini-Workshops at the One of a Kind Show

We’re hosting a Make Something Ugly space at the One of a Kind Show in Vancouver!

These will be mini versions of our longer workshops – all the crafts fun, not so much the deeper thinking. We’ll be making wee ugly creatures that may (or may not at all) make for great stocking stuffers. A perfect break from your handmade holiday shopping! No crafts experience necessary

The workshops are free with admission to the show. Since space is limited, registration is required. Sign up today! And bring some friends. All the sessions are listed on our Upcoming Events page.

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October Workshop in Vancouver – Register Online!

That’s right, kids. We’ve entered the modern era by finally fully figuring out how to take workshop registrations online. We hope it makes adventuring with ugly a little more convenient for you.

So try it out! We’re now taking registrations for our Saturday, October 8th workshop at Plush on Main in Vancouver. I know, fall seems far away. But just think how psyched you’ll be in two months to have a good weekend activity already set up for yourself.

To celebrate this shiny convenience, we set our schmancy online shop to give you a $5 discount when you buy two registrations. So bring a friend! Bring a date!

(And if you hit a snag during registration, please let me know. It’s a new system, after all, and I’ll appreciate your help working out any bugs!)

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Ugly and Awesome All at a Summit

It’s hard to believe the Summit of Awesome has come and gone. I hadn’t been sure what to expect in the weeks leading up to it; I just knew I’d pack Shoshana and all the Mighty Ugly gear into the trunk of my car because it’s too much to take on the train with my own luggage, and then we’d see how it all played out. I knew I’d love seeing my crafty Portland friends, and I hoped I’d make some new ones. I wasn’t sure if people would enjoy an ugly workshop. I was excited to meet Jena Coray and to lead a session with her. I thought for weeks and weeks about how to structure my own session.

And dude, the Summit really was awesome. All of it. Every part of it. Y’all should go pay some love to the people at Hello Craft, who put on the conference. They’re amazing.

I have so much to write about my trip that I’ve decided just to keep it thematic. Mighty Ugly stuff here, the other stuff on my blog. Sorry to make you go to both places, but it was too daunting to do all in one piece!

Ok, so. Shoshana met some famous crafters.

Shoshana and famous crafters1. Kelly Rand from Hello Craft; 2. Heather Mann from Craft Fail, Dollar Store Crafts and Croq Zine; 3. Ok, no famous person here, but check out Shoshana and her swag; 4. Diane Gilleland from Craftypod; 5. Susan Beal, author, blogger, and jewelry-maker extraordinaire; 6. Kari Chapin, author of The Handmade Marketplace

Participants in the workshop session really seemed to enjoy themselves. I can’t wait to process the videos. When I do I’ll blog about them here, so for now, take a look at some pics from the session (clicking the link in the caption will take you to that full photo on Flickr).

Mighty Ugly session at the Summit of Awesome1. Lee Makin’ Mighty Ugly, 2. Vanessa’s creature wasn’t looking very ugly…, 3. Kelly Draws a Face, 4. Kelly’s Creature, 5. Monica’s Creature, 6. Miranda’s Creature, 7. My Ugly Creature, 8. Mighty Ugly Workshop: Class Photo, 9. Mighty Ugly Creatures from the Summit of Awesome

On Friday, I gave a talk titled Taking the Pressure Off: When Ugly Is Mighty. Lemme tell ya, so many things fell into place for me during the session. So a huge thank-you to all the participants who journeyed with me through that. I loved talking with you all about how we hold ourselves back and how we might benefit from some ugly in pushing ourselves forward. I hope you’ll keep me posted on any adventures you embark upon! And stay tuned here for some fleshing-out of ideas. I have lots to write about.

The post I write on my blog is going to be longer and more rambly. Head on over there for more on the Summit of Awesome. And say hello if we met there! I miss you already.

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World Oceans Day: Inspiring Ugly

At last night’s workshop at Plush, one of the participants made a fish – a pretty gnarly looking fish she named Mightia Uglianus. She was inspired by World Oceans Day, which is a UN-designated oceans conservation day held on June 8th every year. Her message is, well, grim:


She’s not the first participant to channel her anxiety about the state of our natural world into her creature. Here’s Pam’s video from the workshop last month:


Have you channeled your fears, feelings or anxieties into things you create?

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Workshop Next Week – Register Soon!

June 7th Mighty Ugly Workshop

Just a reminder, dear uglies, that the next workshop is Monday, June 7th, from 7-9PM at Plush on Main in Vancouver. It’s filling up, so if you’ve been holding off, now’s the time to register!

What: Create a hideous creature, thus using your brain and your creativity in shiny new ways, while chatting with others and getting your craft on (no crafts experience necessary!).

How much: $35 (includes all supplies, use of tools, and pointers if you want ‘em)

Who: You. And me. And bring a friend. And make some new ones.

Register: Please contact Barbara at 604-708-5199 or to reserve your spot (only 12 spots available!).

Note: Because Plush’s workroom is used for serious work, no food or drinks are permitted. Please grab a bite to eat before you come. You’ll be so focused on creating your ugly you’d forget to munch, anyway.

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Stories from the May 10th Workshop

Mighty Ugly Crafts NightLast week, a dozen people filled the workroom at Plush on Main for our first workshop. How I fell in love with that space! And with each and every one of the participants and their creatures (ok, yes, I was already in love with the ones I’m related to – my partner and his mom were there, too).

Folks had some pretty interesting things to say about their motivations and their experience, and I’m pretty sure the level of laughter in the room indicated everyone had a good time. Imaginations were on overdrive, as you’ll see from the stories, below: there’s mention of nuclear disaster, a bender in Vegas, technology as the antithesis of art, anxiety about the health of our oceans, gender identity confusion, the gangster crafting underworld, a little bit of murder, fear of crafting, thoughts on colour…

Here’s the playlist of videos from the evening. To navigate between videos, simply move your mouse over the video, and thumbnails and arrows will appear; you can also click the rectangular button next to the “play” button to make the navigation appear. If you’d prefer to watch and comment on the videos individually, you can do so on our YouTube channel (and don’t be shy – we’d love to be your YouTube friend!). Photos from the evening are in the Flickr group.

Jen, creator of the bender-in-Vegas creature named Battina, wrote about her experience on her blog.

The next workshop at Plush is on Monday, 7th June. *nudge nudge*


(If you attended the workshop and you’d like to add to your story, let me know! Also let me know if I spelled your name wrong and I’ll correct it right away.)

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Workshop at Plush on Main, May 10th

Shoshana and I are doing a happy dance over here, because the very first public Mighty Ugly workshop is coming up! The fine women at Plush on Main, here in Vancouver, have invited us to bring on the ugly in their awesome workroom. (Plush is a wee boutique of locally handmade goods. You should visit.)

So here’s your chance to flex your creative muscles, challenge your pretty habit, get your craft on, and meet fun people, all while taking the Mighty Ugly challenge. No matter what you expect, you’ll be surprised by your experience.

The details!

Where: Plush on Main (4296 Main Street)
When: Monday, 10th May from 7-9PM
What: Create a hideous creature, thus using your brain and your creativity in shiny new ways, while chatting with others and getting your craft on (no crafts experience necessary!).
How much: $35 (includes all supplies, use of tools, and pointers if you want ’em)
Who: You. And me. And bring a friend. And make some new ones.
Register: Please contact Barbara at 604-708-5199 or to reserve your spot (only 12 spots available!).

Note: Because Plush’s workroom is used for serious work, no food or drinks are permitted. Please grab a bite to eat before you come. You’ll be so intent creating your ugly you’d forget to munch, anyway.

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Ugly Creature: FU Mrs. O, by Miranda Lievers

You may have seen a snippet from Miranda Liever‘s creature video in the CBC news clip last week. She’s the one whose Grade 1 teacher used her diorama as an example of how not to use glue. Poor Miranda. I’m really glad she had a chance to work out her lingering anger about that last week during the Mighty Ugly crafts experiment.

Mighty Ugly Creature: FU Mrs. O!

Here’s what Miranda had to say about her experience making her creature:

  • I think my brain is warped because I loved many of the dolls created. I couldn’t believe no one wanted to keep theirs! I loved yours [Kim’s], I loved the giant snake, I loved the cheerleader… so many. I secretly want to keep them all, but they’ll be going to a  good cause in Kimli’s Northern Voice talk.**
  • I really, really had fun with the fact that my plans and ideas could change so fluidly and evolve as I went. There was no “but that’s not the plan” little voice… and the end product was so much better because I just went with it as I was creating. Normally once you make decisions you are more committed because you’ve already sewn that part or whatever and you can’t easily retrofit, but in the case of an ugly doll I could just sew a leg on top if I needed to without worrying about more traditional construction methods. This was freeing.
  • I liked that we were making dolls with cloth and similar materials available, because they are plush and have a certain cuddly factor even when they are filled with glass, like mine. As a kid I played a lot with paper and other materials and those items just become recycling, where I think a doll is in many ways more permanent. I felt like I was creating something more substantial and valuable than if I just glued a bunch of things to a sheet of paper.
  • I think my favourite part – like many have likely said – was that it was a social activity. I personally would be interested in doing this on my own, but the reality is that I would have a hard time making the time with everything else I have happening. Conversely, I will make time for social activities, and this was a great one.
  • I would be interested in hearing how non-creatives felt about the activity. As crafters we already knew how to work with the materials at hand – how to sew, how a glue gun works and behaves, the concept of sewing an item then turning it inside out and completing with stuffing to create a traditional stuffed item. These skills are fairly basic but something I think everyone at the table was familiar with, but I think there are people who would find the actual mechanics of working with the materials (stuffed or otherwise) to be stressful. Even if someone was gluing an item together rather than sewing, not everyone knows that white glue will take forever to dry vs. a glue gun which will actually dry quite quickly. I wonder if there may be value – and I’m sure doing a workshop with non-crafty types would tell you – in doing like a 5-minute intro on the basic tools that they have in front of them? Print out a poster showing the most basic of stitches? Have a stapler for those who want to do that? I’m not sure. Just thoughts.

I love Miranda’s reactions and suggestions, and will certainly be keeping them in mind as I begin to lead Mighty Ugly workshops***.

And here’s Miranda telling her creature’s story:


** Northern Voice is a blogging conference that will be held here in Vancouver next month. Kimli Welsh will be presenting a talk on overcoming social anxiety and she’ll be using the creatures created during the MU experiment in… a surprising way.

*** That’s right, it’s official! Mighty Ugly workshops!

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