I adore our American Flag Quilt and have it as a year-round staple in my home. However, I decided to make a throw for certain casual, summertime activities, like bundling up my daughter Maggie on a cool night or setting a simple picnic at the creek.
“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair.” –George Washington
The flag is the centerpiece of American cultural imagery. Growing up in the 1960s and 70s, the flag came to mean so many different things: pride, controversy, rebellion, commitment, more, so much more…
It has taken me decades of living, working, and traveling the globe to understand my own relationship to this symbol of our great nation. I have grown to love the flag in all its incarnations – as a reminder of where I come from, our collective history, and, of course, of the wise and honest standard to which I believe we are raising our repair.
I spent the last week sick in bed. It is not in my character to lie still or ask for help, but a severe ear infection developed into all sorts of other infections, followed by a viral infection a week later, and culminated in an allergic reaction to antibiotics after 14 days.
A friend reminded me last night, “Perhaps you just needed a week in bed?”
A week, perhaps, but two?
I am not a good patient and never have been. Honestly, I was miserable. However, I did find time to read magazines, watch an impressive list of movies that I have been trying to get to for over a year, and, in moments, just looked up at the ceiling. I have to say that my daughter was a gem, brought me water, lay with me, and read books.
So today, for Sustainable Design Tuesday, all I can think of is that sometimes we just need to take a break, lie still, to keep going. So, I offer you a little break and a couple of highlights from my two weeks (more or less) in captivity:
Selvedge Magazine never disappoints—and the May/June issue is no exception. I fell in love with a little story on page 9 about Tajika Haruo Ironworks, in Ono City, Japan that has been “producing handcrafted copper scissors and shears for over four generations since its founding in the Showa Period.”
Now, I love a good pair of scissors and try to keep one pair in each room. We have the kitchen shears, children’s craft scissors, four different pairs of hair shears (since I am known for midnight hair chopping and need good tools), paper scissors, embroidery scissors, and a few vintage pairs for no particular purpose—other that the fact that they are beautiful.
Selvedge sites Analogue Life as a source for the Tiajika scissors, and I briefly got lost there.
Today I received a beautifully packaged c.d. from the talented Tift Merritt. The c.d. features many of her new songs that will certainly be heard during our work days in the studio.
We had the pleasure of hearing Tift’s amazing voice at her performance for the opening of our pop-up shop at the Billy Reid store in New York.
We hope to see Tift in New York, or perhaps Alabama, very soon.
As we were in the planning stages of MakeShift, Andrew Wagner told me that he didn’t want to call our talk at The Standard, East Village a “Panel Discussion,” but rather a Circus, or Carnival, or Party, or Making, Doing, Conversing—anything but a “Panel Discussion.” This idea made a real impact on the how the event (and all of the events around MakeShift) unfolded. We didn’t quite reach the level of Ringling Brothers, but I think that we started a beautiful conversation that is continuing to GROW.
Today, I take inspiration in a book (and my Mother’s Day present this year from Butch and Maggie) which has quickly become one of my favorites.
Today we share our final MAKESHIFT post (for this year) of observations and thoughts from participants.
Compiled below are reflections and lingering thoughts to help continue our MAKESHIFT conversation into next year.
Keep in mind (and close to heart) what is valuable and inspiring as you design, create, and make.
Just in time for Memorial Day reading, Refueled: Issue 9 has launched.
Get cozy. Get inspired.
Happy Memorial Day.
Take time to celebrate the men and women who make this country great…
And thanks to our friend Chris Brown for his beautiful take on this land we love.
Home from Makeshift 2012 and there are SO MANY ideas still stitching themselves together in my mind. Tomorrow we are back to our regularly scheduled programing; today we rest (and think and plan).
Makeshift 2013 anyone?
It’s a mouthful. But then, as people (and especially Southerners) do have an undying love for the complexity of words, stories, and the beauty of textiles.
Last Tuesday night at The Standard, East Village, we were riveted by Jessamyn Hatcher’s stories of processing unwanted clothing in a clinic format. Today in New York City, you have the rare and amazing opportunity to experience Human-Textile Wellness first-hand with a stellar team including Jessamyn, Professor, Global Liberal Studies, NYU, Hanna Astrom, Designer, Sarah Scaturro, Textile Conservator, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (and incoming conservator at the Costume Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art), Michelle Zahabian, artist and co-owner of JEM, and the fascinating Emily Spivack, Creator and Editor, Worn Stories (www.wornstories.com) and Sentimental Value (www.sentimental-value.com).
Run, don’t walk:
You are invited to attend a
HUMAN-TEXTILE WELLNESS POP-UP CLINIC
Sunday, May 20, drop-in from 11am-3pm
@ JEM Fabric Warehouse
355 Broadway, between Franklin and Leonard
BRING A PIECE OF CLOTHING TO REPAIR, ALTER, OR TRANSFORM AND A WORN STORY TO SHARE
The Human-Textile Wellness Center is a research lab run by Jessamyn Hatcher that documents people’s relationships to their clothing, and a place where you can come to repair, alter, and transform your garments, and share stories about textiles that are meaningful to you.
Meridith McNeal, “Palm Portraits” (used with kind permission of the artist)
Our sewing circle at The Standard, East Village was a rich mixture of folk from a range of professions and diverse lives. Cathy Davidson, one of our first time sewers, has written the most beautiful essay about her time with us and created a fantastic example of Reverse Appliqué as metaphor: Reverse Appliqué @alabamachanin or How the Shallow Distracted and Lonely Pundits Miss the Beauty.
Here you can read just a snippet from her observations on the day:
“We sat quite quietly, talking, introducing ourselves, and, in my case and Ken’s, learning how to do things like: thread a needle (you bring the needle to the thread, not the reverse), tie a knot, love the thread (to get out the kinks and align the polymers in the cotton plys).
Here’s the secret: when the world seems too connected, too overwhelming, too full of work, the hand-work of sewing slows it all down.
Here’s the other secret: all those tiresome handwringing pundits, who think that, because young people (and all the rest of us) spend a lot of time online, that means, ipso facto, that we’ve all become shallow, distracted, and lonely: well, those pundits just need to spend more time–a lot more time–with some of the connected, wired people I know: we wired ones also love to make things. We connected learners also love DIY. Those are not contradictions, they are continuous parts of life. Why don’t the tiresome pundits realize this? Why do they make us into stereotypes, automatons, not complex and multi-dimensional human beings, stitched together in all kinds of ways, by all kinds of circumstances.
Think about the possibilities for the handstitched, the handmade that the Web makes possible. Outlets like Etsy allow handwork and handcraft to thrive by providing a vehicle, without intervention of an overseer or price-gauging middle-man, to reach the people who want it, an online bazaar (the original metaphor of the World Wide Web: it’s not a cathedral–with flying buttresses and other stable architecture but a crowd-making, on-the-fly-suited-to-the-needs bazaar). Heath Pottery thrives now online. Alabama Chanin thrives online. And those of us who live so much of our lives online, also know the preciousness of, well, hand sewing, of reverse application, as metaphor and lifestyle.”
Be sure to read the entire essay here: Reverse Appliqué @alabamachanin or How the Shallow Distracted and Lonely Pundits Miss the Beauty and her brilliant new book, titled Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn.
Thank you to Cathy and everyone who has added their voice to Makeshift 2012.
Join our growing conversation by contributing in the comments section below and by using your voice in your own community…