I wish the photographs I’ve taken of what I’m calling the Violet Birds of Paradise Top did the print of the material any justice. It’s beautiful cotton I found while thrifting out of state, and this top has gone through several incarnations just to prove how dedicated I am to it. I first started making it in a hurry with my last machine. My last sewing machine had terrible tension issues, and would make anything I was sewing look, well, like crap. After ripping it apart and remaking it however, I’m truly in love, no madly in love with this top.
Me Made May continues on! There were a few days where things got a little barren in the me-made department so I was wearing a lot of me-made jewelry. This top, however, makes it easy to continue. I love the combination of peach and violet. I also just love the color peach. This morning I read an article that critically examined the idea that one should do what they love, and took a socially aware stab at analyzing anyone who choses to do what they love instead of contribute to…actually I’m not sure what. The author did not give any solution to the problem. I walked away from it feeling like I’m supposed to get a job at a corporation for the sake of refusing to do what I love because beauty begets evil. While the socialist in me appreciates their rigid stance against frivolity, the artist in me cried a little. I’m not sure the author understands that for so many of us, not creating is not an option. Creating is the nourishment that feeds my soul.
I spend a lot of time altering and mending people’s clothes. I like to call it restoring. I don’t love restoring every article of clothing that comes to me, but I like it enough to do it for money. And I do it for a bigger reason: I believe in minimizing waste by repairing, consuming less, and in turn exploiting less. Yet restoring fits in so flawlessly with what I do it would be impossible not to offer it as a service. My point is, I think most of us in the creative industry do things that we don’t Love with a capital L to satisfy other parts of us whether it is to get by, or to contribute to a greater vision of how we would like to see the world. While the author in the aforementioned article believes that we’re a bunch of self-centered, narcissistic, egoists, I believe that many of us are idealists and we have to pursue our ideals with passion or we crumble against the backdrop of the very injustice that the author talks about. There are the privileged creative professionals whose parents paid for art school out of pocket and co-signed the lease of their Brooklyn lofts (the author literally uses this as an example), yes there are those ones. There are also those of us who learned our trade through growing up with barely anything. Those of us whose parents said, “If you want x,y,z you better figure out a way to make it, because we don’t have the money.” Our artistry sprung from our working class roots. We aren’t capital C Capitalists.
The lace back piece on this blouse came from another blouse that I ripped apart to turn into other projects, in the same effort to minimize my interactions with sweatshops to put it bluntly. I reuse and restore endlessly. I can make magic happen with the stupidest of ingredients, discarded clothing found on the street, scissors, and a little thread. If you give me scraps, I’ll turn them into bias binding. I don’t need a lot, just a place with a table to sew and floor to cut patterns on. I would never advocate for love over denying the basic human rights of others. I only argue that there is a middle and in the middle I sewed this top. In the middle I’m someone who owns a business and still goes to anti-Capitalist protests. I don’t know what that says about me, but I do know that I put love into all of it, in the most idealistic, optimistic way ever. It’s really all I have to give.