Category Archives: Art Programs

Shibori & Indigo Dyeing Workshop: Thursday, October 15th, 7-10pm


What: Hands-On Workshop

When: Thursday, October 15, 2015

Where: kwartzlab, upstairs

How much: $20 non-members, $15 members

Tickets available here!

Additional Info:

Indigo dyeing is a fun, natural or synthetic process that can transform even the most ordinary piece of fabric into something amazing. In this workshop, you will learn the different indigo techniques, the chemicals used to make the indigo bath and the dyeing process. We will go through the process step-by-step and at the end you’ll have your very own indigo dyed fabric. We will be praticing shibori, a Japanese tie-dying technique, where the fabric is bound in different ways to create interesting patterns in the dyed fabric.

Everyone will be getting pieces of different materials to work with and if you so choose, you can also bring one item of clothing that is white or is light in colour that you can also indigo dye. Wearing scrap or old clothes is encouraged, we will be getting dirty. You can also bring a notebook it you’d like to take notes and all we ask of everyone is that you keep an open and creative mind, and have fun!

This workshop will be led by Jessica Trotter. She is a graduate of the Craft and Design Textiles program at Sheridan College and was our Spring Artist in Residence at kwartzlab.

Fall Artist in Residence: Nik Harron

Photo by: Melissa Krone

Originally born in Belfast, Ireland, Nik Harron immigrated to Canada in 1981, and currently makes his home in Kitchener, Ontario.

His creative work spans several disciplines, but has focused in recent years on Canadian landscapes. His heavily textural approach to painting bridges the gap between traditional painting and sculpture.

Thematically, for nearly twenty years, his exhibited art has explored the surface of the world as a way of connecting to nature through quiet contemplation of the landscape.

“To contemplate  a landscape is to feel a deeply spiritual sense of connection to one’s surroundings, and can lead to deeply personal, self-reflexive experiences that reinforce the complexity of our experience and our inescapable bond with our environment.  When external appearances obscure the inner facts of our lives, it is only through a careful examination of our place in nature that we can peel away the layers to reveal something more deeply reflective of ourselves.”

Nik will be our Artist in Residence for the months of October – December 2015. We are looking forward to his upcoming artist talk during a TON soon (details to come), and a hands-on painting workshop towards the end of his residency.

Fall Artist in Residence: Nik Harron

“That dam river, Rockwood.” Acrylic on panel, 36×36 in. 2012

For more visuals, check out his online fine art portfolio, as well as his professional design work.

You’ve probably already seen or interacted with some of Nik’s work in the community, during events like NIGHTSHIFT and most recently at Maker Expo this past September. Nik had his Giant Pong (picture below) and Infiniscope on display for attendees to play with in the Dark Room.

Fall Artist in Residence: Nik Harron

Photo: Michael L. Davenport

Nik has a few goals in mind for his time at the lab:

  1. Create at least one new visual input module for my over-sized Kaleidoscope. I would like to learn how to use the laser cutter and work with acrylic to create a traditional liquid-filled, spinnable end-piece containing coloured elements.
  2. I want to explore photographic techniques for extracting depth-maps from textured surfaces, and attempt to create 3D printed, textured images from that exploration.
  3. I’d like to paint in the space, and use that time to help any interested members of the lab, or the public, learn more about painting using texture. I intend to organize a workshop on the techniques I use in my studio practice for at least one of the open-house nights.
  4. If anyone would like to learn more about how to use Illustrator or Photoshop, I’m happy to act as a mentor and share what I’ve learned.

Summer Artist in Residence: Jessica Trotter

 I’m pleased to announce our newest AIR to kwartzlab. Meet Jessica Trotter!

Jessica is a textile artist and craftsman. Recently graduated from the Craft and Design Textiles program at Sheridan College where she spent the last 3 years finishing her advanced diploma.

During her time at kwartzlab, Jessica plans to continue her explorations into working with natural dyes as a sustainable way to dye fabric. She will be creating a colour swatch booklet using different local or grocery found items like purple cabbage, black walnuts and onion skins as well as sourcing other natural dyes like madder, cochineal and osage.

Armed with the power of CNC cutting, Trotter will be cutting shapes to be used in the age old technique of shibori dying.

Jessica will be offering a workshop in shibori/Indigo and natural dyeing. More details about this will be made public towards the end of her residency. Stay tuned!

Check out these awesome examples of work created during her time at Sheridan.

Summer Artist in Residence: Jessica Trotter

“Woven Sky Line”. Using 3 contrasting colours of cotton thread and scrap pieces of indigo dyed strips in between, weaving a birds eye weave consisting of different types of that particular weave.

Summer Artist in Residence: Jessica Trotter

“Natatory Iridescence”. Made from coloured wool roving, using the techniques of wet and dry felting. The neck piece which is felted balls sliced in half is attached using fishing wire and clasps. Both light and navy blue corsets side-by-side, and the frontal view of the neck piece

Summer Artist in Residence: Jessica Trotter

“The Greyhound Handbag (bag series)”. Made from hemp cotton canvas then printed with natural dyes ( black walnut) and dipped in indigo dye. Sewn together with leather detailing with my brand name labeled in the corner.

Summer Artist in Residence: Jessica Trotter

“The Antler Scarf Series”. Made with wool/ nylon and ombre dip dyed in indigo then using the fabric burnout affect leaving an image behind of an antler pattern.

Spring 2015 Artist in Residence: Jon Johnson

I am super excited to announce our Spring Artist in Residence!

Jon Johnson is a self­taught graphic designer and screen­printer operating in Kitchener, Ontario. Under the name Bearface Design, Jon designs everything from Logos to Gigposters, to Wedding Invitations, to whatever people let him. As BRFC, Jon takes his designs and puts ink to paper, or fabric, or cork, or whatever medium will take it. What began as a project to customize his own handkerchiefs has become an outlet to create items for everyone to enjoy.
Spring 2015 Artist in Residence: Jon Johnson









Jon is interested in playing around in the big sandbox that is kwartzlab. He plans to use the tools at the lab to further his art making process. One project he’ll be making right off the bat is a vaccuum table to add to his screen printing set up at home. With help from the laser, this will be an easy build.

Jon mainly works from the small basement studio in his home. So having a bit more room to stretch out will be a nice change for Jon, and if you’ve had the chance to meet him in person, you will know why.

We are brewing up plans to create a screen printing jig for the lab as a permanent addition, which will be used in future workshops, and we hope for our upcoming Mini Maker Faire too!

Stay tuned for lots of exciting developments over the next three months!


You may recognize some of Jon’s more notable graphic design work from around the region.

Check out more of this work on his website.

Spring 2015 Artist in Residence: Jon JohnsonSpring 2015 Artist in Residence: Jon JohnsonSpring 2015 Artist in Residence: Jon Johnson




Free Lightroom 101 Workshop with Darin White: Mar 29, 7-9 pm

Join us on Sunday, March 29 from 7-9 pm in a free workshop to learn how artist Darin White uses Adobe Lightroom to manage, edit and share his photos, and how you can too!

More details below.

Here’s Darin‘s description of what you can expect in this 2 hour workshop:

I will give a guerrilla tour of my speedy’ish photography workflow using Adobe Lightroom. Makers are welcome to download a 30-day trial of Lightroom[1] and bring it installed on a laptop with a whack of your own photos. My goal is to get photos posted to my blog ( as fast as possible. There’s something awesome about the immediacy of a photo when you can get it to the street quickly. I reckon a lot of digital photos in the world languish on disk, never to be seen again. I’ll talk a bit about overcoming that inertia by using my blog as a discipline to share, and a fast workflow to overcome photo-sharing inertia. While this isn’t a deep-dive course, I will touch on such subjects as:

  • shooting RAW
  • organizing your photo storage
  • photo selection
  • meta data
  • user presets for applying “the usual” changes broadly
  • fixing whitebalance
  • basic retouching and cropping (with Lightroom 5+ I rarely need to go out to Photoshop now)
  • watermarking
  • cutting JPEGs for sharing
  • putting photos out in the world

Got questions? Email me at If you sign up and want to drive the Lightroom demo, please be sure to have it installed and running on your laptop prior to the workshop as we won’t have time for sorting that out, nor will we want to be downloading 15 copies of it on the lab wifi. Looking forward to talking about this thing I love to do.

– DW

[1] – I’m not on commission and I’m not wild about the subscription-based software rental model that Adobe uses now, but I’ve found Lightroom to be the best fit for me at the moment. You can also buy it standalone for $160 at Amazon until the end of May[2], which is what I did.


Free Lightroom 101 Workshop with Darin White: Mar 29, 7-9 pm

Intro to Oil Painting Workshop: Bob Ross Paint-Along! Saturday, March 7th, 1 – 4 pm

I am happy to announce that due to popular demand, we will be continuing our Bob Ross Paint-Along workshop series led by local oil painter, Katherine Marchione.

Get your tickets here!

Katherine will take you through the process step by step, to creating an original oil landscape painting. In this edition we will focus on winter scene with mountains, trees and water– oh my!

No prior experience is required- all levels welcome!

You will learn “wet on wet” oil painting techniques, using a range of brushes and a palette knife to create your own original work of art! Canvas will be 16″x20″.

Cost: $20 non-members, $15 kwartzlab members (plus applicable Eventbrite fees)

Spots are limited, so reserve yours today!

This is a fun and supportive environment, where you are encouraged channel your inner artist (even if you have never painted before) and have some fun on the canvas. Our students are always surprised to see the impressive things that comes out on the other end of their brush!

Check out some pictures from our First Bob Ross Paint Along!


Here’s what we created during the second edition of the BRPA. 


Hope to see you there!

Intro to Oil Painting Workshop: Bob Ross Paint-Along! Saturday, March 7th, 1 – 4 pm

Class photo, second edition of the kwartzlab BRPA!


Winter 2015 Artist in Residence: Darin White

I am pleased as punch to announce our first Artist in Residence for 2015, the one and only, Darin White!

Darin White is a maker/photographer/storyteller who helped start kwartzlab and who loves to encourage making wherever he goes. With a background in software development, fine art, and a self-taught understanding of electronics, White tackles cross-discipline projects at the intersection of these domains. As a twenty-year resident of Waterloo Region, White invests his skillset in documenting and sharing the fantastic and diverse endeavours of local makers and the buildout of our creative ecosystem. His focus for 2015 is to help figure out how content creators can be fairly paid to support a sustainable make-o-sphere, thus increasing the awesome in Waterloo Region. Follow his progress at

I have been dreaming of a kwartzlab member’s photo wall for the better part of 2014. After several personal attempts at gathering member photos, yielding in poor results, I am happy to pass the project on to someone who is way more qualified. Darin’s skill and passion for photography along with his historical connection to kwartzlab make him the perfect person to finally make this happen. Seriously, this guy gets things done! Oh and he also shows up– check out documented proof of Darin’s continued interest and support of kwartzlab after his decision to leave the group and focus on his makebright projects.

” I propose creating a maker portrait wall featuring 4×4″ photographic prints of all sixty current kwartzlab members. One goal is to strengthen the sense of belonging for members and provide a physical manifestation of the notion that the magic of kwartzlab isn’t in the shop or in the tools, but rather in the people. Another goal is to communicate externally that all things in the world, however complex and sophisticated, are made by people like you and me. This helps demystify the made world and lowers the threshold to encourage new makers to own their world rather than be subject to it. Thirdly, it has almost always been the case that it is rare for all members to be together in the space at one time, so have photos of the collective reminds members and visitors alike that, present or not, the greater “we” of kwartzlab is large and growing and diverse and cohesive.”

We look forward to having Darin back at the lab, he will be setting up a lit photo backdrop on Tuesday Open Nights in January and February to capture our member’s portraits. Additional days will be set up to accommodate those who can’t make it on Tuesdays. The final piece will be installed on our art wall in March.

WORKSHOP: Woodblock Carving & Printing. Thursday, Decemeber 18, 7 – 10 pm

For those of you who are curious about the art of wood block carving, please join us this week as our current Artist in Residence, Meg Harder, will be instructing a class on how to create unique Christmas cards using this method of printmaking.

Fees will be collected at the door, but we ask that you sign up with our Eventbrite page, so we know how many to expect.
$12 members, $15 non members
All monies go towards buying the lab a set of nice carving chisels, inks and rollers!
Thursday, December 18th
7 pm – 10 pm
at kwartzlab (front room)
Seats are limited! Please only sign up if you can commit.