Sunday, June 21, 2015

Unintentional Armor II

I. Forgiving Our Fathers

Oh, hey, it's Father's Day. So I'll just post this link to the end of Smoke Signals, one of my favorite films, when Thomas recites from the poem "How Do We Forgive Our Fathers" by Dick Lourie:

"If we forgive our Fathers what is left?"

II. Armor in Process

I'd picked up little squares of metal mesh in the alley (what's this stuff for?). Keeping with my unintentional armor theme, yesterday I started to stitch them onto denim.

When we look at something we've sewed, do we remember where and with whom we made it?

I had sewing company all day--three friends came in the afternoon, and in the evening, one showed up to sew and another to nap on the couch before she heads off on a long road trip tomorrow. 
Falling asleep to the murmur of friendly voices... I remember this from childhood but not much since.

v  These wire edges could tear flesh---I'm going to wrap them.

The flower/feather  ^  is from an old skirt from Esther--I stitched in color.

III. Stitched Book

Wandering a depopulated blogosphere, I've come across a group of still-active bloggers: hand-stitchers.

Mandy, for instance, at Thread and Thrift, maker of an amazing Fabric Book, with pages of collaged worn fabrics. I chose this page from it as an example, below, because of its button shadows:

This gives me ideas. I used to make books out of found paper, but not found textiles.  Most of the fabric the thrift store recycles is not beautiful old stuff like this, but some of it is.

IV. Your T-shirt Abroad

I was indexing a book on Ebola, which led me to this photo exposé in the NYT:  
"Braving Ebola, photos and interviews of those who labor and those who survived at an Ebola treatment center in rural Liberia", by Pulitzer Prize–winning photojournalist Daniel Berehulak.

Most of the people are wearing scrubs, because they work at the treatment center, but this little boy, below, is wearing a T-shirt no doubt exported as secondhand clothes from the USA:

Only about 20 percent of all clothes donated to charities are sold in their shops. (That's certainly the case where I volunteer.) The rest are sold for pennies a pound to traders. 
 See NPR's, "Afterlife of American Clothes".

It's great to resell or recycle fabric, of course, instead of putting it in the garbage, 
but one of the effects of exporting used clothes from the US is to take away business from local textile workers, like this tailor in Malawi > > >
from Leila Darabi blogging for Everyday Trash: A closer look at what we throw away.

Because of its impact on the local textile trade, some East African countries may ban import of secondhand clothes, and others already restrict it.

I keep coming back to the same guidelines for myself.
(Hm. Now I've written them out, they could apply to stuff that's not stuff too.)

1. don't buy so much expendable, unnecessary new stuff in the first place

2. take care of and repair the stuff I have 

3. make beautiful, interesting stuff out of other stuff

4. restrict the manufacture of stuff that's going to become burdensome. 

That last one would involve political will. 

It would take some hard, good work for us as a society to imagine and construct a system that didn't produce so much garbage. 
Seems unlikely this will happen voluntarily. Might be worth it though...


Michael Leddy said...

That stuff sure looks like wire lath, something I saw many times when working with my dad the tile man.

Zhoen said...

Going for wearing the same clothes until they fall to bits only worthy of garbage. After being grubbies and rags. "Men's" clothes make that easier.

I don't know if I've forgiven my father so much as learned compassion for his failings. And only then, after he'd been dead a few years. I certainly hold no bitterness, only sadness.

The Crow said...

I watched Smoke Signals, after reading about it here. Thank you, Fresca. I needed to see that.

Julia said...

Love the unintentional armor--beautiful!

Fresca said...

MICHAEL: Hey, thanks, that's it: metal lath! I googled it--had had no idea.

ZHOEN: I like Bp. Tutu's definition of "forgiveness", along the lines of "to relinquish the right to revenge yourself on those who've hurt you."

CROW: I'm glad to introduce the movie--I've seen it many times.

JULIA: Thanks! Let's have a stitch together again sometime.