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.
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…
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.
Among the most meaningful things I’ve ever found in a thrift store was a pair of dresses I unearthed at the Goodwill in Durham, North Carolina. One was a white summer dress with a fitted bodice and a full skirt dotted with embroidered flowers. The other was a pink sequined number straight out of an old Italian movie. What made the dresses so arresting wasn’t their cut or color, or even all the flowers and sequins. It was the fact that inside, attached to the labels, their former wearer had pinned stories: “Picnic. 1957. Hillsboro, North Carolina.” “Eastern Star Dance. May 8, 1958. Danced with M.K.”
On Tuesday night, as part of MAKESHIFT, we invited members of the audience to write their own worn stories. Rosanne Cash, Cathy Bailey of Heath Ceramics, and Natalie read excerpts of their stories to inspire us.
To begin the evening at MAKESHIFT @ the Standard Talks, Rosanne Cash opened with a performance of “Fair and Tender Ladies,” a traditional Appalachian folk song that has been recorded by many singers. The song had been performed by her step-mother, June Carter Cash.
Rosanne began by sharing her thoughts on crafting and writing music. In turn, she asked the audience to collaborate and “craft” a new song from the original version. This posed the question: “What can we learn from the field of music as we creatively approach a collaboration between amateurs and auteurs, makers and users?”
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
Thank you to everyone who braved the rain and came out last night for MAKESHIFT at the Standard Talks. On behalf of myself and all of the panelists, we appreciate everyone’s enthusiastic response to MAKING.
It was a beautiful evening. As a group, we crafted a song and sang together, finger-knitted, and shared our ‘worn stories.’ Throughout the day, we will share some of our MAKESHIFT moments here.