Threads of Creativity: Making T-Shirts at Ottawa Technical Secondary School

Threads of Creativity: Making T-Shirts at Ottawa Technical Secondary School
Posted on 11/14/2023
Threads of Creativity: Making T-Shirts at Ottawa Technical Secondary School

At Ottawa Technical Secondary School, a group of students turned t-shirts into a canvas for their creativity, voices, and imagination. Guided by their teacher, Adrianna Sustar, students in the Communications Technology class transformed their ideas into one-of-a-kind wearable art.

The students began by designing concepts for their t-shirts. Some of the designs expressed the joy of a personal passion, while others challenged the status quo. The group worked with design software like Photoshop and Canva before finalizing their designs in Adobe Illustrator. 

They brought their designs to life using specialized printing technologies available at Ottawa Technical Secondary School. Last year, the school was fortunate to add an industry level large-format inkjet printer/cutter and a heat press to their Trades and Technology program. The equipment is not only available to students for projects, but it also supports a fully functional student-run print shop that works with other schools and community partners to offer professional and affordable printing services. 

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Ms. Sustar's class aims to help students become creators of culture, not just consumers. As students express their voices and explore their identities, they gain technical skills that prepare them for exciting career and post-secondary pathways. Perhaps most importantly, these experiential learning opportunities build students’ confidence in their ability to turn their vision into a reality. As the next step in their journey, the students are learning marketing skills to share their creations with a wider audience.


“The students experienced the joy of collaborative creativity and learned what the word awesome really means. The source of awe came from within, which resulted in incredible learning. The intense focus during the heat pressing and then the sheer joy of seeing their creations literally become before their eyes has sparked further interest in design and production.” – Jason Rama, Principal

“It is great for students to make digital designs, but the magic happens when they turn those digital files into something that they can hold in their hands. Sometimes there is a gap in Comm Tech for students who need that tactile component, and using equipment and experiential learning opportunities like this can fill that gap and give students the ability to connect with their work in a more meaningful way.” – Adrie Sustar, Teacher


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