At Inspirations Studio in Toronto, women who have been impacted by poverty, trauma and mental illness can find a safe haven.
It’s a social enterprise project of Sistering, an organization where low-income women can learn pottery and business skills to gain a source of income.
Judith, a member of the studio was homeless and jobless, but eight years later she has a different story to tell.
“Today I’m making my own work,” she says. “I’m getting paid for it, I have income that I didn’t have before. I can support myself, take care of myself.”
Judith can now afford her own apartment from the money she earns from the one-of-a-kind pieces she creates, owing the change in her life to the women who helped guide her to a fresh start.
“Any woman can come into Sistering, anytime 24-hours a day, seven days a week,” says Patricial O’Connell, executive director of Sistering. “There’s food, there’s comfort, there’s a sense of community and family.”
Inspirations Studio is staffed by professional potters. The space provides a platform for women to re-build their confidence, self-esteem and dignity.
“They’ve inspired me in many ways, but just their courage,” says Theresa Morin, manager of the social enterprise, Sistering. “They are a really unique group of individuals who have very strong connections with each other and they are rebuilding their lives one pot at a time.”
For Judith, everything she’s done in life, everything she wants to still do in life are the inspirations behind her creations which brings a sense of joy and accomplishment at the end of each day.
“Sometimes I come in and I’m not in a good mood,” she says. “But by the end of the day I feel great because I look and say, ‘Oh I did this, wow!’”