MAKESHIFT: THE CONVERSATION
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 (see the growing reading list at www.alabamachanin-makeshift.com).
“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.
Jessamyn Hatcher teaches fashion studies and the humanities in the Global Liberal Studies program at New York University. She is working on a book called Deep Wearing: Materiality, Affect, and the Politics of Fashion, as well as a biography of Hortense Mitchell. She is the co-editor of an upcoming volume about fashion and globalization, and is also the co-editor of a book on gender theory called No More Separate Spheres!: A Next Wave American Studies Reader (Duke University Press). As the creator and director of the The Human-Textile Wellness Initiative, Jessamyn has developed a research laboratory and as a wellness clinic for people-clothing relationships.
Melanie Falick is the publishing director of STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books, an imprint of Stewart, Tabori & Chang and Abrams Books. The former editor-in-chief of Interweave Knits magazine, she is the author of five books (with over 400,000) copies in print, including Weekend Knitting, Knitting in America, and Kids Knitting.