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Jackie Abrams, owner of Jackie Abrams Baskets, crochets a basket using used plastic bags in her Brattleboro studio on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. Abrams is teaching a class on crocheting with plastic bags Jan. 27 and Feb. 10 and 24 with proceeds going to Groundworks Food Shelf.

BRATTLEBORO >> With an up-cycled twist on basket weaving, a three-part workshop — taught by local artists Jackie Abrams, Carol Barber, and Sandie Page –— will benefit the Groundworks Food Shelf.

The workshop, which takes place on three Wednesday evenings (Jan. 27 and Feb. 10 and 24) at the Marlboro College Graduate Center on Vernon Street, will cover the art of making yarn from used plastic bags to crochet strong, colorful, and multi-purpose tote bags.

"I have been offering this workshop in Brattleboro since 2011, always to benefit the Brattleboro Food Shelf. It is a great way to use those plastic bags, and to create an environmentally friendly bag," said Abrams. "Instead of a quilting bee, it is a plastic crocheting bee and it's always fun."

In 2008 and 2009, Abrams developed a fair trade enterprise in Pokuase, Ghana, working with a group of Ghanaian women, focusing on the use of materials that usually litter the environment. The women learned to crochet with plastic bags, creating handbags and wallets, which they sold to supplement their subsistence livelihoods.

Workshop participants are encouraged to collect bags from friends and family to be used in the course to make baskets, shopping bags with handles, covered jars, and even sculptural forms.

Those interested in the course may register with Jackie Abrams by calling 802-257-2688 or by emailing The course registration fee is $35 for three classes, with all proceeds benefiting our region's largest food shelf.


Groundworks Collaborative is the agency created from the recent merger of Morningside Shelter and the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center. The newly merged organization continues to provide all of the services offered by each of the agencies, including the operation of our region's largest food shelf, and our region's only shelters for our neighbors experiencing homelessness.

For more information on Groundworks, visit