November 21, 2011

Reflections on My Internship at Breedom Public Sewing House

November 21, 2011 - Stephanie Levine (‘12) reflects on her internship with a local up-and-coming crafting institution.

November 21, 2011

When I was looking for an internship earlier this semester I was looking for a place that seemed to combine the joy of crafting with a sense of community. Although it doesn’t look like my thesis will be going totally in this direction, the creation of community through crafts definitely will be something that I plan to look at.

I was lucky enough to get an internship at Breedom Public Sewing House, a public sewing studio and pretty much craft space for anything you could possibly think of–for example, this weekend, Breedom is hosting a benefit concert for Journey for Joey, a group traveling across the country raising money for suicide prevention.  

Breedom is located at 32nd and Hawthorne which means there is a A LOT of foot traffic. One of my favorite things to do is just hang out at the studio and talk to people that wander in. A lot of people come in just because they are curious– they’ve never heard of a public sewing house before. Once inside, almost everybody has a crafting secret to admit–something they’ve always dreamed of being able to make on their own. Usually Bree will ask them what they make and it’s really neat to hear people talk about the things they’ve made themselves. Sometimes people are professional craftsmen and sometimes they are chatty 12 year-olds that will tell you about the Halloween costume they glued together, but whoever they are, its really neat to see the pride people take in talking about things they’ve made. The most memorable person who has wandered into the studio was an elderly woman who started tearing up when she walked in, and told us she’d been thinking about having a place like Breedom for decades, but never had enough money to do it. It was really touching. 

In my independent study that I did with Professor Hillyer last year we thought a lot about the alienation of industrialism: the distance between consumer and product. Being around Breedom has gotten me thinking about this a lot, especially about the connection between a work, the crafter and the material. How does knowing the process of creating a good change its meaning? What is it about this connection that is drawing people to the DIY movement, especially as an expression of Post-Industrialism?  These are some questions I’ve been thinking about as I prepare my proposal for my thesis.

Last week, Bree wrote a (very flattering) posting about what I’ve been up to at the shop, which can be found here:

ALSO, I am teaching a knitting class in January! Come, it will be fun.