Last Friday, before we left for New York for an inspiring week of MAKESHIFT, we received wonderful news: the cotton seed had been planted. The week before, Jimmy, K.P., and I met early in the morning at the site of the cotton field, prepared to spend the day planting. However, the soil needed to be broken up more finely in order to allow the planter to properly cover the seed. This set us back a few days, but after another day of plowing to break the soil, Jimmy was finally ready to plant.
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…
Thank you to everyone who came out to The Standard, East Village Penthouse to sew for MAKESHIFT. Here are some images from the day. More of the conversation to come!
Crafting Fashion, a pop-up shop curated by Alabama Chanin and Billy Reid, featured designers- Alabama Chanin, Susan Cianciolo, HEATH Ceramics, George Esquivel, Hugo & Marie, Imogene + Willie, Pamela Love, Leigh Magar, Maria Moyer, Billy Reid, Albertus Quartus Swanepoel, Tucker, and Kenlynn Wilson. Thanks to everyone for the great turn out. And a bigger thank you to Billy Reid and his staff for their hospitality and Tift Merritt for the beautiful performance.
We had the best intentions of posting lots of pictures and stories from our Makeshift event yesterday and the day just got away from us. There IS so much more to come and to write about, but for the meantime, here some great pictures of the making process at The Standard East Village on Tuesday night. More to come soon… xoNatalie
Our conversation for MAKESHIFT is about finding the point where the professional worlds of craft, fashion, design, and DIY intersect. It is our belief that the simple act of MAKING will be found at that point of intersection. However, it is also our understanding that this convergence has yet to be defined, because there are nearly as many interpretations of it as there are people in the world.
We believe that by MAKING together we will become more aware of how to use our understanding of this intersection as a tool to affect change in our local communities at the micro level, and the world community on a on a grander scale.
This may seem like an idealistic goal. It is idealistic, but there are growing numbers of writers, thinkers, designers, and creators who believe it is attainable.
“When I Was a Very Small Boy,” the Ettore Sottsass essay about the act of making , embraces the idea that when we are young, we don’t have preconceived notions about what or how to make, we just DO. And in DOING we learn. In the last paragraph, he says, “I’d like to find somewhere to try out things, together…” In keeping with the Sottsass essay, we believe that by taking ourselves out of our comfort zones and trying something new, we can evolve together. This evolution is attained by exploring, not thinking or judging.
As design and craft professions (of all mediums) have emerged, walls have grown between these practitioners and new ways of thinking. By living and working within these walls, we close ourselves off from new experiences and more evolved ways of thinking and doing. MAKESHIFT is about reawakening to the wonders we find when we move beyond those walls and step out of our comfort zones. Our hope is that, by initiating this step and beginning this conversation, we will find a natural— and comfortable— meeting place that fosters unity. We further believe that by finding this meeting place, every maker, as well as the designs, products, and lives they touch, will be enriched.
Join us tonight @The Standard, East Village, at 7pm for the first of our MAKESHIFT events for New York Design Week.
Cathy Bailey of HEATH Ceramics has frequented this blog for a number of years as a friend and a colleague. After loving her work (and her) from afar, we were fortunate to collaborate with HEATH Ceramics to produce a line of table and dinner wares that were launched last fall.
Cathy (her husband, Robin), and I share much of the same passion about design, craft, and local production. Next week, Cathy and I will share the stage at the Standard Talks. This coming Tuesday, Alabama Chanin presents MAKESHIFT: Shifting Thoughts on Design, Fashion, Craft, and DIY, our first event in a series of many as we continue a conversation on the intersection of design, fashion, craft, and DIY.
A few weeks ago, we took to the streets of Florence to spread wildflower seeds guerrilla-style. We tossed our homemade seed “bombs”, seed encapsulated clay balls, into alleys and onto vacant areas – hoping to add more color and beauty to our community.
With the amount of rain that we have been receiving lately, every growing thing has been sprouting up and up toward the sky. Yesterday, retraced our steps to see if our dispersed wildflowers were making progress. There were no full blooms yet; however, we are starting to see small dots of the color purple in Olivia’s yard.
When Andrew Wagner was asked to moderate the MAKESHIFT panel conversation as part of New York Design Week 2012, he jokingly insisted that he be considered MC rather than moderator. That’s exactly the type of robust, experienced personality I look forward to sharing the stage with next week at the Standard Talks, as we discuss the intersection of design, fashion, craft, and DIY.
We’re happy to introduce Andrew on our blog and welcome his participation in MAKESHIFT. His long- running list of big DIY ideas and achievements makes him a veteran in that community. As “What You Make of It” columnist for the New York Times, he has recently delved instructions on how to turn an old rusty bicycle into a beautiful hanging lamp- Isamu Noguchi style- and how to repurpose egg carton trays into stunning and sturdy stools.