One man's trash is Denise Corcoran's treasure.
The North Vancouver resident has a stash of toilet paper rolls, empty cereal boxes and junky jewelry just waiting to be transformed into fashionable accessories and unique home decor pieces. Corcoran is an avid crafter and "upcycler," meaning she breathes new life into items that would otherwise be considered garbage.
"The whole idea is to take things that are discarded and useless to people and turn them into something, " she explains. "People will never realize that they're actually junk."
Corcoran is sharing her crafting expertise with the public this weekend at her Story Crafting Upcycling Workshop on Sunday, Sept. 29 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at North Vancouver City Library. Participants are invited to craft their own story into a memory box, hanging mobile or inspirational board using cardboard, cork boards, CD cases and other materials.
Corcoran will provide most of the supplies needed thanks to support from the Neighbourhood Small Grants program, but invites crafters to bring along photos or other personal mementos they may wish to incorporate into their projects.
"You can either follow my lead and work on the ideas I'm presenting, or if you can come up with another idea with the supplies, then go for it," she says. "Sometimes you don't really need to do much to something to make it your own or to give it a new life. And you don't have to spend a lot."
The workshop is part of the fourth annual Culture Days weekend, a Canadawide event that runs Sept. 27-29. The festival sees local artists, arts groups and creative organizations invite their communities to participate in hands-on, interactive and behind-thescenes activities.
Corcoran's upcycling workshop is one of more than 65 free events and activities taking place in North and West Vancouver during Culture Days. There will also be meet-the-artist events, musical performances, art demonstrations, photography workshops and much more.
In addition to being a workshop leader, Corcoran is also the Culture Days ambassador for B.C. and is working to promote the weekend. The festival gives residents a chance to go places they wouldn't normally go and meet people they wouldn't normally meet, she says.
"It just gives you that chance to try things without a huge investment of time or money."
The official North Shore Culture Days kickoff takes place Thursday, Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. at Shipbuilders' Square in North Vancouver. Local politicians along with the Adam Woodall Band and the Senior Flash Mobsters will be on hand to start the celebration.
"North Shore Culture Days is an opportunity to publicly showcase the enormous talent and creativity that exists here in our community, and to highlight the notion that arts and culture are for everyone regardless of age, background or income," says Barb McLean, North Shore Culture Days co-ordinator with the North Vancouver Arts Office.
For a complete list of Culture Days events taking place on the North Shore, visit artsoffice.ca. To learn more about Corcoran's upcycling projects and future workshops, visit her blog thriftybydesign.ca.