Slavic and Eurasian Studies

"Sewn on the Streets" at Fusebox Festival

Thu, April 24, 2014 | 301 W 2nd Street

11:00 AM - 2:00 PM

This year's Austin Fusebox Festival will feature an event hosted by textile artists Monika Jakubiak of Warsaw, Poland, and Rebecca Layton of Austin, Texas. Sewn on the Street will be presenting three performances during the Fusebox Festival (see link for dates). Our site will be a symbolic mock-up of a clothing factory, in which members of the public will be invited to sit down at a sewing machine and try to make their own shirt. We will offer to pay them for making it the amount equal to the wages in one of the countries where most of “fast” fashion clothing companies operate. We will provide a paper pattern for the shirt, fabric to stitch, and our hands to help.

Passersby will stitch a garment in the amount of time and with the average pay that a sweatshop worker would receive for making it, pointing out the hidden cost of making “fast” clothes in the cheap, dirty, get-it-now global market. What is the true cost of what you're wearing and who really pays in this global economy?

Sewn on the Street is a collection of public workshops and dialogues at various locations throughout the festival, inviting the community into the 'fast versus slow clothes' discussion.

This event is free and open to the public.

Learn How to Sew, and Why We are Bringing 10 Sewing Machines to City Hall

And for those interested in getting involved - and learning some technical sewing skills in the process - we are offering free sewing workshops (see dates below). Before the festival, we invite you to learn the art of sewing, cutting, and operating a sewing machine. No previous experience needed. A sewing machine is very human-friendly and one needs to spend no more then 15 minutes to start sewing. We will train you in how to put the parts of the pattern together, and a bit about the true cost of most our clothing. We would then ask you to participate as a facilitator in one of the pop-up "sweatshops" during the festival. We will give you all of the sewing know-how, and understanding of the basic principles of the project, for you to be able to assist participants.

We invite you to attend at least one of the following workshops:

Sat. April 12 from 2PM-5PM

Sun. April 13 from 2PM-5PM

Mon. April 14 from 6PM-9PM

Come to our Happy Hour Meet and Greet (please RSVP by email) on Tuesday April 15 to share a drink and some food and help us cut and prepare for the sweatshop installations, and talk to folks who are interested in “slow” clothes.

All workshops and Happy Hour will be held at the Fusebox Office, 2023 E. Cesar Chavez, Austin TX 78702.

Layton and Jakubiak first met in Jaipur, India, in 2010. They started a conversation about art and craft then, but their shared enthusiasm for Indian textiles was just the starting point. Both artists were born in 1970 under strikingly different circumstances. Monika grew up in Communist Poland and Rebecca in the Reagan-era Cold War 80s of the United States. Though they lived parallel and very different lives they both came to appreciate hand-wrought textiles; Rebecca through learning from her grandmother’s hand-sewing and embroidery; and Monika through learning how to make clothes from her mother out of necessity in Poland and working for a brief spell in a Polish clothing factory.

Sponsored by: Austin Fusebox Festival and Polish Cultural Institute in Warsaw

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