When April’s parents first taught her how to do laundry, she never expected she’d end-up talking about it on TV. She probably didn’t think the chore could be so relaxing either. But here we are in the Sparkle Bright Laundrette, doing an interview for the end of the six o’clock news, about the soothing sounds of the washers and dryers.
“There’s a Zen thing going on,” she says. “There’s the perfect balance of things.” Especially when you combine the hum of a Maytag mantra with the buzz of coffee from next-door’s Caffé Fantastico.
Perhaps it was in the meditative state between rinse cycle and tumble dry, that April noticed how many things were left behind. “And not just little things – sleeping bags, blankets, beautiful clothing.”
The management at the iconic Quadra Village business confirms it – two to three full loads of laundry are left behind every week. It all ends up in a black bin in the corner before being donated to charity. April was inspired by all the colours and textures she found in there and began re-purposing what couldn’t be re-used. The professional illustrator started cutting, stitching and gluing. “I swear this hand was a third bigger than this one because of all the cutting I was doing,” she joked. When she was done, forgotten laundry was transformed into original art. She describes one of the fabric collages hanging on the Laundrette’s walls as, “a takeoff on the beautiful art you might see at a Buddhist temple.” It features rainbow socks, soap that promises to clean your soul, and a figure in the centre wearing quarters for earrings.
April says she hopes her unconventional art will inspire others to make the most of the mundane.
“Maybe there’s something in (their) own life that (they) could make into something extraordinary.”
As the videographer captures footage of a mandala that April’s made from socks, I ask if – after all the time she’s spent with lost laundry – she ever found the elusive match for that inevitable single sock. April takes her final sip of coffee and answers: “Third ring of Saturn. It’s full of lost socks. That’s the truth!”
Adam Sawatsky is an anchor and reporter at CTV News Vancouver Island. On weekends, he hosts ‘Eye on the Arts’ on CFAX 1070.