Remnants: The Social Life of Sewing Winter 2023

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Weaver Ann Hamilton calls fabric our “second skin.” As a baby, you may have been wrapped in a blanket that was stitched by a loved one. More likely, that piece was mass-produced in a distant place, by strangers who labor in conditions you may never know. What does it mean to surround ourselves with objects about which we have no knowledge and to which we have no organic connection? Recently, more and more people are taking up this question — as makers, historians, entrepreneurs, and activists. In this course, we will become makers as well as students of the crafts we are practicing: quilting, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, cross-stitch, and sewing (by hand and by machine). Just as members of a quilting bee gathered around a frame to assemble fragments collectively, we will talk together as we sew. We will discuss slow fashion and farm-to-closet sustainability, reuse and upcycling, #blackmakersmatter and the intersection of social justice and ecological integrity. We will trade images by our favorite artist-activists, such as quilter Bisa Butler and textile artist Victoria Villasana. We will video conference with makers such as quilter Zak Foster, knitters Denise Bayron and Brandi Cheyenne Harper, recycled-denim artist Eliu Hernandez, and embroiderer Han Cao. We will invite local makers to join us in person. Above all, we will sew, stitch by stitch. Through mindful making, we will reconnect to the magic of objects and the power of community. Note: This class will be a safe space for students of all gender identities and expressions. Reading may include: This Long Thread: Women of Color on Craft, Community and Connection; Fibershed: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists and Makers; Worn: A People’s History of Clothing; Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of A Needle; All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake; Vanishing Fleece; and Knitting for Radical Self Care.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 12
Expected: NA
Class#: 1037
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: Final project or presentation. All members will take part in an end-of-term exhibit and slow-fashion show open to the community.
Prerequisites: No experience or equipment needed
Enrollment Preferences: Students will be selected based upon a one-paragraph expression of interest and statement of intention. Preference will be given to students who have little to no experience with needlecraft or making-by-hand. Craft instruction will be provided.
Materials/Lab Fee: $140
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
SLFX Winter Study Self-Expression
STUX Winter Study Student Exploration
WELL Winter Study Wellness

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