Potholder Rugs weave all sorts of things together. Since I started recycling clothing, it has become apparent that my work is actually all about mixing our culture together at the base. Setting the stage for random assortments of people to find connection and allowing them to discover how much they love each other.
This aspect of my work began as a happy accident and has moved toward center stage. When my product first came to the marketplace back in the late 1980s I imagined all the people who wore the clothes that were cut and pieced together. As time progressed, the makers of all that cut up clothing came to mind. . . . in far away places with less than stellar work conditions. . . … making clothing for us that we deemed so inconsequential that we discarded it before it was worn out.
The ridiculous American demand for excess (particularly clothing) never leaves my mind.
What if we ‘fat Americans’ all stopped the demand. We all just woke up one day and realized the damage we are doing to the planet, our collective diversity and culture with our over-consumption? Life could be simple and whole.
I get on tangents.
If there is one good thing about Donald Trump its that he has inspired me to show how connected and interwoven we, as people on the planet, actually are. Let me explain.
As Shire City Sanctuary, where my studio is housed, hosted the Berkshire County Bernie Sanders Campaign Headquarters last winter, I got all amped-up and excited about the idea of a government that actually represents its people. And - I got super disparaged by the bigotry and ignorance that seems rampant in some of the other candidates’ campaigns.
A magical opportunity arose for me on April 23rd.
April 22nd, 2016 marked the 26th Earthday. To honor this sacred day – I participated in a groundbreaking for Great Barrington’s newest community garden with a Clothing Drive and Community Potholder Rug Weaving. My friends, Alan and Nancy Timmons in collaboration with The Great Barrington Fairgrounds, orchestrated the event. While a tractor filled raised beds built by volunteers, fledgling gardens were being nurtured and caressed with loving hands. Soil was turning; there was face painting, live music, jesters, food and drinks.
When Alan asked me to participate he suggested I hold a clothing drive – for material for my work. What a WONDERFUL idea! I was stoked to finally have a way to support a community event in a mutually beneficial way! With his suggestion I was inspired to bring along a big loom and weave a Potholder Rug onsite with some of the donations. It was super inspiring to witness the day unfold. From the moment I arrived there was support and assistance with smiles and able hands.
From loom construction in the morning, cutting material all day and finishing the edge of the rug right at the end of the day eager helpers were abundant. A true woven community, in, what Smithsonian says, is the best town in the country for lifestyle.
We used donations gathered that day to make 3x5ft Potholder Rug on site. Visitors brought along sweaters, sweatshirts, t-shirts, and fleece tops no longer useful to them. They cut and knotted and warped and wove. At the close of the afternoon event the rug was complete and over 30 people had contributed to its construction.
Today we have a super amazing rug made by many diverse hands on the same mission. It is for sale in my online shop with proceeds going to support the Great Barrington Community Garden. I have a feeling that this is the first of many community events where I can participate in this way. Take a gander over to my online shop and take a look at the finished rug and know that with your purchase the garden will be fed, grow and feed.