Sunday, October 20, 2013

Artisan Workmanship as an alternate to Child Labor and Unethical Corporate Operations

I have a vision. It includes fabricating all of our own clothing. Why? It's simple. Somewhere, someone is working for pennies a day to provide me a means of obtaining clothing at a very cheap price. That same article of textile, may also be by the brow sweat of a child, only then to be shipped around the world and in the process unnecessarily using fossil fuels to gratify my personal needs. We rarely shop new in our home. For that very reason, someone making a good profit at the expense of a less fortunate people. A people who, if they were offered true opportunities for growth and advancement, may find themselves in rewarding trades and caring for the needs of their own families in a way that is much more economical than what they have been forced into as their only option for survival. Here, in my small corner of Carleton County, I strive to provide for our own needs economically. Often times it includes a lot of second hand deals, yard sales and hand me downs. I often find myself in a place where finding suitable clothing that both reflects my values and emits an essence of who I am, can be hard. Skirts, in particular are hard to find. I prefer long skirts, and being rather tall, I have a hard time to find a good length that is practical for me. I have made many of my own skits. I have big plans for this winter to create a pattern for pants that my Husband and Children can wear. Seems the male gender is extremely hard on jeans (at least in this home), and my gent's often require odd sizes. I often find myself sifting through my children's clothing and weeding out inappropriate options. For example, we don't allow skulls and cross bones on the kids clothing, or rebellious slogans..but they are often gifted to us, or passed on and land here. I also find myself sorting through my tops. After having been enlightened to the complex and often controversial topic of modesty, I have found more and more that the slim fit and v-neck style of women's fashion tops is both not for me and hard to avoid. And so, I have come to a place where using my practical sewing skills, has shown a benefit to my family. Each year I learn more about how clothing is designed, and how to piece it together. Each year, I add a few pieces to my own closet, and now I am ready to offer those options to the other members of the home, with their willingness.

As part of broadening my audience for the hand sewn, died, and artisan graphics I create, I am also offering a selection of items for locals to enjoy in. My wish is for them to value quality artisan work, that has come by way of ethical and sustainable means where the workers get paid an honest pay. The only true way to voice the concerns about child labor and reject the caste systems in India is through a boycott. When we refrain from enabling the big corporations with our hard earned cash, they want to know why. They have men in suits hired for a large salary to research consumer behavior. If we, as the mass of consumers (North America?) would put our money where our mouth is, then we can be change. When they see the money going to ethical and sustainable providers (instead of their own, inhumane operations), they can and will respond to that by adopting those same values, or go broke). I am but one person, but my desire is to offer an alternative to mass factory, and low wages. 

-Bohemian Hand Bag-

I have spent some time working with fabrics these past few weeks. Today I finished a very special piece. I name it "Tribal Ink". With patience, I watched as my hands worked the bare muslin into its form. Then I used the ink from wild forage shaggy mane mushrooms to base dye the textile, and then pattern dye with a mixture of  hand picked local blueberries and home grown spinach. Rinsing the final debris away, to reveal the colors is always such an exciting moment. Ahh..perfect color. Up-cycling some remnant fabrics, I add character and interest to the structure. And finally, the long awaited hand printed graphics are created. This is the second of my -Bohemian Hand Bag- collection. The first has been kept as my personal favorite. I temptingly gazed at the collage, and longed for it for my own personal use...but hey, how many hand bags are *really* practical? Ahem..One. 

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