I came from Fortaleza, a very populated city in Brazil. However, I remember my childhood surrounded by my neighbors. At that time, we had time and space to chat and play. Me and my friends, all the same age, used to play on the street, a dirty road, everyday, while our parents and relatives, all women, put their chairs on the sidewalk, sharing coffee and cakes, talked about daily life and struggles, soap opera, while they crocheted, embroidered and kept an eye on us. Even today, being 12.000 km away from my hometown, I am still in touch with some of my old chaps.
But life changed. Today I don’t know who my neighbors are and probably so do you. Life became too busy. We don’t have time to stop by, even less to bake cakes to share everyday. Our lifestyle made us distant from those who are geographically close. But it doesn’t mean we want to be secluded. It’s just that now our social life is more practical, comfortable and safe when mediated by the internet. We are constantly using technology to stay in touch with those we care.
The Best Wishes Project is an experiment for the Textile Narration course, in the Fibre and Material Practice program at Concordia University. My idea for this project is to unite both direct and indirect forms of getting in touch with members of my community – the city of Montreal, Canada – by leaving small handmade toys on the streets where people unknown to me (and maybe people I know!) can easily find and take them home. In exchange, I will attach a little card with my “best wishes” and inviting these people to send me a picture by email or to publish it in their social network with the hashtag #bestwishesproject saying how finding this toy impacted their day. They will “know me” through the toys I leave and contact me through internet. An exchange: a toy for a photo! It’s my way to say “bonjour-hi!” and for whomever find it to answer me back.
Although the toys are little animals and monsters, my project aims more adults than children for the simple reason that grown-ups sometimes forget to play and have fun. I don’t believe that adulthood must be serious all the time. In fact I think that all adults kept their inner child alive and they will relate to the project. If nobody finds nor wants the toys… I think they will embellish the city anyway, in a cuteness guerilla action.
The toys were all handmade by me and some friends I invited to be part of the team Best Wishes. Our meetings happened during February and March 2017 and were super fun. We all discussed together what to do next, how to do, learned how to embroidery and sew and also where to leave the toys, reinforcing the sense of cooperation and community. The initial idea was to make 100 toys, hide them in the city during March and see what happens. Then… who knows? Maybe we make more. Maybe we go to other cities. Let’s see what happens first
Follow us: #bestwishesproject
Stella Furquim & kids