MAKESHIFT 2012: REVERSE APPLIQUÉ AS METAPHOR

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.

Browse her website, look for all of her titles, and be inspired.

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…
xoNatalie

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MAKESHIFT 2012: CRAFTING FASHION @ BILLY REID

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 MagarMaria 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.

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MAKESHIFT 2012: JESSAMYN HATCHER

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.”

I’ve since learned from my friend Emily Spivack who created and edits a blog about clothing and memory to call these stories “worn stories.”

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.

Here’s Natalie’s.

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MAKESHIFT 2012: ROSANNE CASH

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?”

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MORE MAKESHIFT 2012

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

Join us for our Crafted Fashion pop-up shop tonight at the Billy Reid store 6pm-until at 54 Bond Street in New York City, with a performance by Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Tift Merritt at 8pm.

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MAKESHIFT 2012

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.
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MAKESHIFT 2012: TALK. MEET. UNITE.

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.

MAKESHIFT 2012: INTRODUCING CATHY BAILEY OF HEATH CERAMICS

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.

Heath Ceramics: An impressive view from within from Heath Ceramics on Vimeo.

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SEED BOMB UPDATE

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.

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