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The recently re-vamped restaurant and venue Strange Matter at 929 Grace Street cobbled together diverse local businesses and individuals to give eight free, hands-on workshops. Friday, May 14 at 4pm the event kicked off with an arcade tournament on the old school games that line Strange Matter's walls, a clothing swap will follow and an exhibition by local artists will make its debut. Saturday and Sunday the workshops began. Anyone who attended had a chance to learn how to embroider, make a dental dam, fix their bicycles, screen print, create an urban garden, make a beat and chart their menstrual cyles.
The seed of Strange Matter's DIY Fest was planted when staff members and the owners of Rumours Boutique, around the corner on Harrison Street, got to talking about events that would be good for Richmond. The idea was germinated when word spread to local businesses, many of which Strange Matter and Rumours already had relationships with.
Richmond staples Ellwood Thompson's, Bunnyhop Bicycle Shop and the Fan Free Clinic along with a handful of individuals soon agreed to donate their time and specific expertise to make the event happen. Ron Rogers, front of house manager at Strange Matter, said the idea behind DIY Fest was to empower people to be self-sufficient.