We are in New York City this week for our third year of the MAKESHIFT initiative. MAKESHIFT is, at its core, a conversation about the intersections of fashion, design, craft, and food, and how each discipline can better work together to elevate those principles.
Alabama Chanin has set up shop at our friend Lisa Fox’s beautiful East Village store, lf8, for the month of May. lf8 (elevate) is also featuring the work of photographer Mary Ellen Mark, as well as a special performance piece by musician and friend Allison Moorer. Event details are as follows:
Tuesday – Sunday
12:00pm – 6:00pm
80 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10003
The pop-up features works by Mary Ellen Mark, the Alabama Chanin collection, and one-of-a kind, indigo-dyed Alabama Chanin garments and accessories, alongside the lf8 collection. Visit in the afternoons from 2:00pm until 4:00pm through Friday, May 16 to sit with Allison Moorer and sew, talk, sing, and conspire.
Allison is sewing in the shop’s window not only because she likes to, but “because she wants to take part in a conversation about connecting hands, needles, and thread – to make a living art instillation of a person making something,” and to also celebrate the work of all those involved with MAKESHIFT.
Below, Allison shares her thoughts from her time spent sewing in the window on Tuesday.
He walked in looking for the cigar bar that used to occupy the space where I sat just inside the door, right at the window, making my quilting stitches. He seemed confused. He asked Carrie, who manages lf8, where it had gone. She did her best to direct him toward the new locale for the stenchy establishment, and as he turned to walk out he took a quick look around the shop and at us and said, “So what is this now, woman’s work?”
Carrie and I both laughed and said yes, we supposed it was.
Woman’s work. Work for a woman.
I don’t know about y’all, but I work pretty hard and spend very little time being pampered or sitting on my tuffet eating truffles. And the same goes for every woman I know. I’ve got a four-year-old son that has made me physically stronger than I’ve ever been before; and I’m a singer/songwriter, so that means I’ve spent years throwing instruments around and have moved my share of amplifiers and cases, and have even loaded a van or two. I may not look like much but I’m no delicate flower. Yes, my hands are nimble. I can make nice, even stitches. But they can also wrap around the neck of a guitar, wield a hammer or wrench when they need to, be firm guides for my little guy, or solid sisters for my friends.
They do woman’s work all the time.
I suppose I could have been mistaken for someone not quite so dimensional, as I sat in the pretty blue chair that Lisa Fox, proprietress of lf8, put in the window for me to sit in while I worked the red stitches into the turquoise Alabama Chanin DIY coat kit. The cigar-hunting man didn’t know that I was finding rhythm in my labor of supposedly feminine art as I loved my thread and worked it in and out, like I was taught to do by previous generations of women. Women who did women’s work. He didn’t know that I was finding songs, poetry, and most importantly, a few non-gender specific thoughts there. But I was quiet as I sat and sewed. I was serene. I was being seen and not heard.
Woman’s work. Work for a woman. I could make the woman’s work list right now but I’m not going to. I’m just going to shake my head, smile, and know exactly what a woman’s work is, as I remember that sometimes it’s just when you think you’re getting somewhere that someone comes up and wants to blow smoke.
P.S. Thank you to Lisa and Allison for sharing their MAKESHIFT photos with us. Follow the conversation on Twitter and Instagram: #alabamachanin and #makeshift2014.