Fringe Association is a must read blog that I greatly admire and have followed for several years. It was through Karen Templer's creative explorations that I found the inspiration that was to become Craftstitute. It's been fun to watch where she goes with her knitting - we are radically different in our approach to learning handcraft skills. I greatly admire her methodical skill building, while never having the patience to do anything but jump in with both feet and learn as I go.
She is also looking at the world of fast fashion and requesting off that train to nowhere. Recently, she linked to a video called "Unravel," which tells in beautiful colors and the lilting intonations of the Indian women who work in the factories what happens to our unwanted clothing. It is quite stunning, the industry that has been created out of western nations' clothing addiction. But what was truly interesting was hearing the rationalization of the Indian women for why Westerners have and discard so many clothes. "Maybe they don't have enough water to wash them," one woman generously posited as she sat among the mounds of scraps.
I love clothes. I really do, but I don't particularly care for shopping, mostly because I don't like what the fashion industry is offering. Skinny jeans? Dangerous to your health and mostly unflattering. Spanx? Hahahahahaha. Also dangerous. And what about the stuff that escapes? And the unrealistic body images that the fashion industry is selling us? See Spanx, above.
I wish I had embraced sewing as a teenager. It simply never occurred to me to make the clothes that I wanted then, which were vintage and flapperish and very difficult to find. Now, I think about clothes before I make them because it is a consuming process to select a pattern and fabric, to spend the time cutting and pressing and sewing and finishing a garment that becomes a part of your everyday wardrobe. The deliberation is part of the joy in making something, and it feels good to take time to weigh decisions. A print might speak to you while on the bolt, but is that print something you will actually wear? Can a pattern be amended to skim over more generous curves? Should it be?
Recently, a friend of ours built a canoe. He documented the process on Facebook, the failures as well as the successes, and it was such a rich community experience as he mused publicly about how to proceed. We got to be a special part of the action when he took the block printing class and printed the canvas prior to stretching it over the skeleton of the boat. It was something we don't get to do so much anymore, watch someone build something from nothing with their own hands. It's part of why I love knitting so much, watching a project start from an idea, a bunch of yarn, and some needles, and slowly evolve into a beautiful finished object - a sweater, a hat, a scarf, a blanket - from the work of someone's hands.
We plan to offer more upcycling classes and opportunities, so keep an eye out for those as we move into summer. One more day of school!