MAKESHIFT began three years ago as a conversation about the intersection of the disciplines of design, craft, art, fashion, and DIY—and, on a bigger level, using this intersection as an agent of change in the world. Since then, we’ve explored making as individuals, and how making as a group can open conversations and build communities.
For MAKESHIFT 2014, we have once again partnered with Standard Talks in New York to host the conversation, and will cover a range of topics, including raw materials, craft, fashion, global communities, food, and the act of making. 2014 James Beard award-winning chef Ashley Christensen will also participate in the discussion, helping answer the question: What can design learn from food?
If you are in New York this month, stop by lf8 for A Makeshift Pop-up Shop featuring works from the newest book by photographer Mary Ellen Mark, the Alabama Chanin collection, one-of-a kind, indigo-dyed garments, and accessories alongside the lf8 collection. Friend Allison Moorer participated in a special performance piece in the shop this week and documented her experience.
Alabama Chanin and lf8’s Lisa Fox are also hosting an intimate sewing workshop and fund-raiser at The Lower East Side Girls Club Center for Community. We selected this location because it is a source of empowerment for the community’s girls and women. Gael Towey’s film “Portraits in Creativity: Alabama Chanin” will be screened, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.
We are taking topics and conversations from this year and expanding them as we prepare for an even bigger MAKESHIFT 2015. We look forward to more collaboration and conversation.
Thanks to our friends, partners, and collaborators at The Standard East Village, The Lower Eastside Girls Club, Lisa Fox and lf8, Ashley Christensen, Gael Towey, Mary Ellen Mark, and Allison Moorer.
MAKESHIFT POP-UP SHOP + ALLISON MOORER
We are in New York City this week for our third year of the MAKESHIFT initiative. MAKESHIFT is, at its core, a conversation about the intersections of fashion, design, craft, and food, and how each discipline can better work together to elevate those principles.
Alabama Chanin has set up shop at our friend Lisa Fox’s beautiful East Village store, lf8, for the month of May. lf8 (elevate) is also featuring the work of photographer Mary Ellen Mark, as well as a special performance piece by musician and friend Allison Moorer. Event details are as follows:
Tuesday – Sunday
12:00pm – 6:00pm
80 East 7th Street
New York, NY 10003
The pop-up features works by Mary Ellen Mark, the Alabama Chanin collection, and one-of-a kind, indigo-dyed Alabama Chanin garments and accessories, alongside the lf8 collection. Visit in the afternoons from 2:00pm until 4:00pm through Friday, May 16 to sit with Allison Moorer and sew, talk, sing, and conspire.
Allison is sewing in the shop’s window not only because she likes to, but “because she wants to take part in a conversation about connecting hands, needles, and thread – to make a living art instillation of a person making something,” and to also celebrate the work of all those involved with MAKESHIFT.
Below, Allison shares her thoughts from her time spent sewing in the window on Tuesday.
He walked in looking for the cigar bar that used to occupy the space where I sat just inside the door, right at the window, making my quilting stitches. He seemed confused. He asked Carrie, who manages lf8, where it had gone. She did her best to direct him toward the new locale for the stenchy establishment, and as he turned to walk out he took a quick look around the shop and at us and said, “So what is this now, woman’s work?”
Carrie and I both laughed and said yes, we supposed it was.
Woman’s work. Work for a woman.
I don’t know about y’all, but I work pretty hard and spend very little time being pampered or sitting on my tuffet eating truffles. And the same goes for every woman I know. I’ve got a four-year-old son that has made me physically stronger than I’ve ever been before; and I’m a singer/songwriter, so that means I’ve spent years throwing instruments around and have moved my share of amplifiers and cases, and have even loaded a van or two. I may not look like much but I’m no delicate flower. Yes, my hands are nimble. I can make nice, even stitches. But they can also wrap around the neck of a guitar, wield a hammer or wrench when they need to, be firm guides for my little guy, or solid sisters for my friends.
They do woman’s work all the time.
I suppose I could have been mistaken for someone not quite so dimensional, as I sat in the pretty blue chair that Lisa Fox, proprietress of lf8, put in the window for me to sit in while I worked the red stitches into the turquoise Alabama Chanin DIY coat kit. The cigar-hunting man didn’t know that I was finding rhythm in my labor of supposedly feminine art as I loved my thread and worked it in and out, like I was taught to do by previous generations of women. Women who did women’s work. He didn’t know that I was finding songs, poetry, and most importantly, a few non-gender specific thoughts there. But I was quiet as I sat and sewed. I was serene. I was being seen and not heard.
Woman’s work. Work for a woman. I could make the woman’s work list right now but I’m not going to. I’m just going to shake my head, smile, and know exactly what a woman’s work is, as I remember that sometimes it’s just when you think you’re getting somewhere that someone comes up and wants to blow smoke.
P.S. Thank you to Lisa and Allison for sharing their MAKESHIFT photos with us. Follow the conversation on Twitter and Instagram: #alabamachanin and #makeshift2014.
MAKESHIFT 2013: CHAIR WORKSHOP
On Sunday, as part of MAKESHIFT 2013, we co-hosted a Chair Workshop, modeled after the MAKESHIFT 2012 workshop, Crafting Design, sponsored by Partners and Spade. This year we teamed up with Build It Green!NYC (BIG!NYC) and Krrb and invited an array of makers to join us for an afternoon of collaboration, innovation, and chair re-design. While our event at The Standard focused on conversation (though there was plenty of making going on as well), the chair event has evolved into a make-centered occasion where a community of designers work both independently and together through skill sharing and mutual encouragement.
The event was held at BIG!NYC’s restore facility in Brooklyn – a warehouse filled with doors, fireplace mantels, sinks, mirrors, tiles and a number of other goods, much of it vintage and antique, acquired through donations and offered at low prices for those looking to save money (and the landfill) in home renovations. Or in the case of friend Kerry Diamond (of Cherry Bombe Magazine) and her chef/partner Robert Newton, the interior of their third and most recent restaurant, Nightingale 9, was designed with salvage bought from BIG!NYC.
All chairs were donated to BIG!NYC and given to participants, who repaired them, embellished them, or in some cases, completely repurposed them by combining aspects from more than one chair into a singular new creation. The energy was high and creativity sparked.
Various supplies from the Alabama Chanin studio included 100% organic cotton jersey scraps and pulls, thread and needles, stencils, and tools. Build it Green! provided essential tools like hammers, nails, screws, drills, staple guns, heavy duty adhesive, paint, brushes, and even a hair dryer.
Amy Devers from “Fix This Yard” on A&E joined us to help guide designers in the nitty-gritty of furniture re-doing, along with Andrew Wagner of Krrb. Kristen Wentrcek of Wintercheck Factory came and made an awesome love-seat/bench from three chairs.
As our guests finished up their chairs, a DJ played, Brooklyn Brewery ales were imbibed, and local fare was devoured.
Most of our makers left their chairs with BIG!NYC to be auctioned off with 100% of proceeds going to help support the restore facility and staff in their efforts to keep landfills clear of reusable debris. Natalie and the Alabama Chanin team also worked on a chair – a bench actually – with the help of Amy Devers and friends Gael Towey and Kay Gardiner, which will be auctioned off as well.
A huge thanks to our co-sponsors, Build It Green!NYC and Krrb, and to all the designers who braved the drab weather to join us for this great event.