Wednesday, December 5, 2018

New Studio Space

Working out of your home has good and bad points. The convenience is awesome but I personally find it is hard to maintain focus. Thus I have finally given in and rented a studio space away from home. It is walkable, approximately 1 mile from the house and it has natural light. These were two of my main criteria when I started looking. I am still getting settled in but I am getting there. .

Eventually a schedule will develop and all the bins will be sorted.

One of the things that is amazing about the studio is we can now move in the storage area in our basement, it is no longer wall to wall totes :). I still have some things to transfer over to the new space but I have been going through a type of separation anxiety (What if I end up not having something at the house when I need it). Trims, buttons, elastics are all things I still haven't moved. So far only threads have made it to the studio, Oh and my grommet press and accessories. What I really want is the best of all worlds, which is why I still have some sewing machines at the house. Maybe someday I will reach a point where I will be able to separate work and freetime. Truthfully this will never happen but it doesn't keep me from dreaming about that sort of structure.

A beanbag, TV and a DVD player means it is easy to have Bring Your Daughter to Work Days.  The TV/DVD player is also perfect for me to binge watch TV series while I am creating. It has been great rewatching some old series, just finished Cleopatra 2025, am currently watching Pushing Daisies and next on the playlist is Warehouse 13.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Creative Update

Posts have been a bit scarce in the last while. This is partially due to the fact that I have been taking a variety of courses while I determine which direction IsaTe's Designs should take in the future. Since moving to Seattle I have had to rethink how and what I want to create and it has taken much longer then expected to sort out the logistics of my business. It has been a time of refocus, learning and change.

Creating new designs that are less dependent on sizing has been a goal during this time. IsaTe's Designs has always been focused around repurposing clothing, comfort and one of a kind. Often a client would fall in love with an article of clothing and it wouldn't fit. This has always created some difficulties as more often then not I could not recreate the garment in their size. This is a definite problem in how I create. A problem that became more prominent when I moved from Ontario to Seattle. It became much harder to satisfy clients who had now become long distance, the one on one aspect differed greatly. No longer was I as attuned to their body fluctuations or changes in their lives and wardrobe needs. So lots of thought as to what direction IsaTe's should go has been occurring. 

One of the changes that has occurred is the creation of CleavageandGeekage. This is going to be focused more on custom clothing, lingerie, cosplay and my interest in pop culture. You can check it out at CleavageandGeekage 

Below is a sample of two new designs which are not dependent on sizing. Both just slide over your head and provide drape and layering to any outfit. The one on the left is made from repurposed golf shirts and has the feel of a shawl. The one on the left made from repurposed t-shirts has actually become a staple in my wardrobe. It is perfect for those overcast cool mornings and evenings in Seattle. It provides a bit of warmth without bulk around the neck and/or adds a little flair to an otherwise basic ensemble. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Who? or What? Is A Luddite

Nowadays a Luddite means someone who is not good with technology, only uses old technology, or dislikes technology. It is a term which has been revamped numerous times and taken on a life of its own, you can hear it used as an insult or as a label used proudly. But if we look at the history of the word it has an important place in the history of the Industrial Revolution.

Ned Ludd was the leader of the Luddites but he is in the same place in history as Robin Hood, was he really a person or a fictional character? Ned Ludd was a young apprentice who was rumoured to have wrecked a textile apparatus in the late 18th century. The Luddite movement could be seen as an early form of branding as they created a whole backstory. They signed letters with "Ned Lud's Office, Sherwood Forest", declaring it was the poor against the rich. Protesters often marched wearing women's clothing claiming to be "General Ludd's wives". In Yorkshire they attacked frames with massive sledgehammers they called "Great Enoch", after a local blacksmith who had made both the sledgehammers and the frames. If this was occurring today they would be social media darlings and constantly getting news coverage.

 The Luddite Triangle represents where the main occurrences of activism happened, the Counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. These Counties were greatly affected by the Industrial Revolution and the middle classes vastly changed. The Luddites in the Midland Counties were comprised mostly of workers in the framework - knitting and lace trades. The Yorkshire Luddites were croppers from the woolen industry, who were supported by other skilled workers such as the saddle-makers.

 After centuries skilled, middle-class workers lives were being upended by the machines replacing them with low-skilled, low-wage labourers in dismal factories. Thus early incarnations of "Fast Fashion". The workforce was changing and most artisans were unprepared. They had been accustomed to working limited hours, spending time with family, and making decent wages for their skills. Now with the introduction of automated looms and knitting machines being run by unskilled labour their livelihoods were being threatened. Also due to Trade being barred to Napoleonic France and any nations friendly to them the British Textile Industry was suffering a economic decline, this along with the rise of food prices caused anger among textile artisans. 

Most Luddites were not actually opposed to machinery aka Technology. They felt the use of machinery was a way to get around standard labour practices and only benefited the factory owners financially. Negotiations to acquire minimum wage, minimum labour standards and the possibilities of workers pensions were rebuffed by factory owners and the government met any protests/strikes with military action. Protesters who were arrested were often imprisoned, exiled to penal colonies or even executed. At one point there were more British soldiers fighting the war against Luddites then fighting Napoleon. 

Many types of handbills were posted  offering rewards for the capture of participants of the movement. The resistance movement escalated and in 1812 the death penalty was introduced by The Frame Breaking Act. The most intense activity occurred between 1811 - 1813, activity started to decrease with the rescinding of the Orders in Council(1812), some wage and usage concessions, and some reduction in food prices. Though attacks were still documented until the end of 1816.

This movement brought the rights of workers to the attention of England. People were forced to look more closely at the positive and negative effects of having an industrial society. It also brought about the idea that technology is never neutral and some can even be harmful. Karl Marx in 1867 noted that it would be some time before workers were able to distinguish between the machines and the form of society which utilizes these "instruments" and their ideas. The era of the Industrial Revolution and the Luddite Movement are still pertinent to today's society and can help us understand our diverse reactions to technology today.