Heather & Madeleine
My daughter Madeleine and I discovered an Upcycling Crafter-noon with Denise at our local library. We loved it. With her energy and enthusiasm, Denise makes everyone feel welcome and excited about creating. She always manages to create amazing work that not only is fun to make, but by upcycling materials, helps the environment as well. With materials such as cereal boxes, yarn, burlap, cloth and lots of other goodies, crafter-creators can make something amazing. My daughter loves Denise's workshops as she feels like she can make and create in a fun and safe atmosphere. Kids from all ages come away from the workshops with something they are proud of, making new friends and helping the environment along the way.
Sampson, Tahi, Deborah & David
We have attended several of Denise's Crafternoons at the North Vancouver City Library, and loved every crafty second. She is a great teacher, very knowledgeable and enthusiastic; but also able to give the freedom to explore and create in our own ways. She also creates a fun community atmosphere for everyone who attends, both parents and children. Her events are something all of our family look forward to. It is a testament to her skills as a workshop facilitator that she can take a room full of strangers and turn them into a buzzing hive of fun, laughter and activity. Perhaps this is where Denise's true 'craft' lies - in being able to share her gifts and create community for others.
Honestly, I have not got a creative bone in my body. That gene totally passed me by. So imagine the first time I go to one of Denise's Crafty Afternoon sessions at our local library! I took my youngest child thinking it would be "for the kids". Heck no, it was for "everyone". I instantly met another fun adult who told me no matter what was going to be made she was going to "glitter it" (fortunately Denise had bling and glitter in abundance), so laughter and smiles was the order of the day. Which lead to one of the most satisfying things I have done in years - I created a small owl from felted sweaters myself, and it even looked like an owl at the end, you didn't even have to squint (well, not much). I love these crafty afternoons, I find I can create, and even when it doesn't work out quite as I anticipate, Denise is on hand to enthuse and point out the creative inspirational touches (we all have those apparently). Thanks Denise! And as for my owl, she has pride of place on my dresser.
I have attended two of Denise's Crafternoons. Both were fun events filled with interesting and friendly people. Denise is very generous with her time, supplies and tools. She is an enthusiastic instructor and very fun to be around. We actually made things that are pretty, useable and environmentally friendly. I even made new friends! In both events, I got to experience a sense of community, lots of creativity (mine and others) and helped the environment.
Information Services Librarian, Surrey Libraries
Denise coordinated a Winter Crafternoon at Guildford Library to make holiday decorations from upcycled materials. She was an absolute joy to meet! Denise's warm personality and enthusiasm inspired even the most shy participants to create something special. Denise brought a treasure trove of supplies with her, everything from felt, ribbons, googly eyes, sparkles, jewelry, egg cartons, sewing needles, and thread to paint, paintbrushes, glue, and scissors. She brought some fantastic examples of decorations that people could create and took the time to move around the room and help individuals on a personal level. Everyone left with a homemade trinket to add to their holiday decorations and the refrain of "When are you holding the next one?" I look forward to working with Denise on another crafty adventure!
Heidi K. Schiller
Librarian, Readers' Services & Customer Engagement, North Vancouver City Library
I love working with Denise because she is incredibly energetic, creative, always easy going and personable, as well as truly passionate about what she does. Her crafts are fun, accessible and catered to a diverse audience of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. She is a joy!
Cultural Services Officer, North Vancouver Recreation & Culture
Denise has single-handedly teased out the creative spirit in North Shore community members of all ages and artistic persuasions. Whether it's at the popular library Crafternoons, Culture Days events or upcycling workshops, Denise has a special knack for helping people find their own artist within and having tons of fun in the process!
Head, Digital Services, North Vancouver City Library
When we first contracted Denise to provide crafting instruction at the library we had NO idea that not only would she deliver such consistently high quality instruction to our library customers, but that she would become one of the top draws of all our library programs, combined. Denise' creativity and ingenuity in shaping the most unique items out of discarded material is matched only by her warmth of person, approachability, and genuine interest in working with others. We are truly happy to be in partnership with someone we consider to be among the true gems of the North Shore.
Manager, Edible Garden Project, North Shore Neighbourhood House
Denise was a super enthusiastic and organized instructor. We really enjoyed having her participate in our workshop series, and although we hadn't included hands-on upcycling in our workshops before it was a big hit. Denise brings passion, a clear teaching style, and lots of enthusiasm to her work! Thank you Denise!
Kelsey Cham Corbett
Community Engagement Coordinator, Homesteader's Emporium
Denise is a a very generous, patient and open human being who also happens to be super talented at crafting. Denise recently taught a Crafternoon class for kids and adults here at Homesteader's Emporium, and everyone loved it! Kids made little planters with upcycled burlap sacs and old recyclables and were given a choice of succulent cuttings to plant in them. Denise brought tons of goodies for folks to decorate and personalize their planters - buttons, necklaces, textured fabrics, ribbons, so many things! She encouraged the young ones to help each other out, and supported them to feel comfortable trying new things - like trying the glue gun.
I personally really appreciate adults who prioritize allowing kids to guide themselves when doing art projects, and Denise is this type of person. Because she let people direct their own projects while supporting them when they needed it, everyone created planters that told stories and reflected their individual personalities, like the kid who decided to hide "treasure" in the potting soil. Denise's workshops are great! One seven-year-old even told his big sister it was his second favorite thing they had ever done together!
Board Member, Our Social Fabric
Denise is a pleasure to work with - a fountain of positive energy, an engaging teacher, and the definition of a "people person". She's also organized, creative and social media savvy. When our Transform Your T-Shirt workshop hit an unexpected hurdle, Denise took it in stride and never lost her professional, positive attitude. She's someone who actively reaches out to others and creates connections between people - a community creator in a city that often prefers to be cool and passive.
Librarian, Mamquam Elementary School
Denise came to our school and worked with the intermediate grades (4-6) to upcycle old wool sweaters into tree ornaments. We sold them at our annual Christmas Craft fair to help earn money for our students to go to camp. The kids had such fun sewing and creating with Denise, and she really sparked a lot of enthusiasm with creating hand-made crafts! Many of them went home inspired and sewed with their families over the weekend. Thank you, Denise, for introducing the kids to upcycling and crafting!!
Business Development & Educational Programming, Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver
I had the pleasure of working with Denise on a series of "upcycling" workshops she facilitated in Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver's ReStore. Denise brings an absolutely infectious positive attitude and creative zeal to every project she takes on. Not only was she professional and organized she was approachable and made sure that participants of all ages were comfortable and having a great time creating their upcycled treasure. I would absolutely invite Denise to host another workshop!
Project Manager, Creative Expressions Art Nights
Denise has been a guest instructor for an art based project I manage in the community. I have also attended one of her Crafternoons as a participant. I highly recommend Denise as she has been a sheer delight to work with! She has no shortage of positive energy and creative ideas to share. Her professional and ethical approach to affordable upcycled crafting is truly inspiring!
Thrifty By Design is the adventures of Denise Corcoran, a North Vancouver based community catalyst, crafter extraordinaire & upcycler of things.
It all began one fateful day in August 2008, I bought an old Singer sewing machine at a garage sale in Gibsons, BC for $10. My $10 included the sewing machine plus a lesson on how to use it. Just the basics but that was everything since I knew nothing about sewing. I didn't take any home economics classes in high school - I was an art nerd. I knew all about silk screening and photography but cooking and sewing were one big mystery. Even now I struggle!
Join me for an upcoming TBD Crafternoon. Find my listing of upcycling workshops, events & general crafty happenings here.