Welcome to Leafclutter
Last spring I had the pleasure of working with Helena and Amber of Alula Editions on a tote bag for the Open Engagement conference in Portland, OR. The conference was about a kind of art many people have termed "social practice" or "relational aesthetics." As such, we wanted to design and make the bag in a way that embodied these concepts.
We heard about Portland's vibrant food cart culture, so we invited a bunch of fun folks to go out with paper and Sharpies to draw food carts, such as The Big Egg and Wicked Waffles. We then turned these drawings into a repeat pattern for fabric and a bunch of generous helpers up in Portland silk-screened and sewed them. Conference attendees were greeted with a tote bag full of conference materials that doubled as a guide to Portland food cart cuisine. Thanks to everyone who participated!
By the way, Alula Editions is totally cool. It is an art subscription service where you receive four limited edition textile objects a year made out of original fabric designed in collaboration with both artists and everyday folks. Their first official edition is made with Jason Jägel (see below). And their second, based on plant drawings made by hikers, is also in the works. Check 'em out.
Fabric for first object edition, Alula Editions with Jason Jägel.
I designed this clothes tag to honor the best of what clothing can be in this world: something that connects us to the earth and each other in positive, beautiful ways. Clothes tags are usually the only tiny snippet of information we get about an item's history: "Made in China," "100% cotton," etc. This amount of information is so small that it is almost meaningless. Furthermore, is it even noticed? I believe that our failure to create (demand?) a new clothes system that treats the earth and people well is really a failure of the imagination. Perhaps China is too far to go to find out for ourselves, but if we can tell stories - true stories - about the peoples and places wrapped up in the production of clothing, and if we can keep these stories and images in our heads, I believe our clothing will begin to speak to us in different ways and with new meanings - meanings that lead to the creation of careful relationships and healthy methods of making.
The tag exchange:
The tag above is intended as an intervention - as a way to introduce and cultivate the kind of imagination and awareness that is a prerequisite to ecologically and socially conscious shopping habits. Here's how it works: You send me one (or more) of your clothes tags and a self-addressed stamped envelope, and I send you one (or more) of these tags in exchange. Then you sew this tag into your garment, as a reminder and statement in support of healthier clothes. As your garment gets passed on to friends, little sisters, or thrift stores, the tag takes on a life of its own and becomes a surprise snippet for future readers and wearers. If you're about to give away a load of clothes, consider sewing these tags into them first. The tag can also be sewn on like a patch.
These tags were woven in the Eastern USA from synthetic fibers.
*There is a suggested donation of $1 per clothes tag to support the continuation of this project. If you can contribute, just include the donation in your envelope with the tags for exchange. If you cannot contribute, please limit your request for tags to 5. Thank you.
PO Box 5358
"Care Instructions" is part of the Changing Clothes project.
Posted August 2nd, 2008 by Lea Redmond and filed in made by Lea, social practice, you can participate