Week 35: Sewing Rebellion

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with Carole Frances Lung, biographer (and sometime impersonator) of Frau Fiber Textile Worker, founder of the Sewing Rebellion.


The Sewing Rebellion began in the fall of 2006 in Chicago, initially as a monthly free sewing workshop and clothing exchange. In January 2007, acknowledging that a rebellion couldn’t happen once a month, weekly Sunday afternoon meetings were established until May of 2007, when Frau Fiber went itinerant. Frau Fiber’s intention is to bring the Sewing Rebellion to communities around the country — and more recently to Haiti — where she lays the ground work for an economy of what she calls “STOP SHOPPING, START SEWING.” The Sewing Rebellion furthers the emancipation from the global garment industry by teaching and learning how to alter, mend and make one’s own garments and accessories. Textile work and activist Frau Fiber and / or regional chapter organizers distribute their knowledge of the garment industry, pattern making and sewing, encouraging the reuse, renovation and recycling of existing garments and textiles in the creation of unique items tailored to individual tastes and body shapes.

Whereas many of the plausible artworlds we have looked at over the past months have focused on the worldmaking potential of new digital technologies, the Sewing Rebellion has strove to pick up an older, “ur-analogic” thread — stitching, weaving, sewing, garment making — as an alternative to consumerism. More than that, the Rebellion explicitly links this activity to labor… perhaps the most crucial component of any plausible life world.



Week 35: Sewing Rebellion

?: Hi Steven, Hi Carole

Carole: Hi

?: Is that you Carole  We've got Salam with us, did we lose Steven already?  Steven is joining up from Salt Spring Island which I don't know where that is.   Let's add Steven back real quick, and then we will get started.

Steven: OK, I'm back

?:  Before we get started, if you're listening in, just be sure to mute your audio to allow for as clean an audio broadcast as possible, if you need help doing that just let us know, otherwise I'm going to turn it over to Steven to introduce Carol and Sewing Rebellion.

Steven: Thanks [inaudible 0:02:04.4]

[Steven cuts off]

?: Well listen, I'll introduce you, although admittedly I'll just basically be reading what we wrote to that people are all on the same page, and then you can take over and whatever gaps I leave you can fill those in as we go, does that sound alright?

Carole: Sure

?: So Sewing Rebellion began in the Fall of 2006 in Chicago initially as a monthly free-sewing workshop and clothing exchange, in January 2007 acknowledging that a rebellion couldn't happen once a month, weekly Sunday afternoon meetings were established until May 2007 when Frau Fiber went [itinerant 0:03:02.3].  Frau Fiber's intention is to bring the Sewing Rebellion around the country, and more recently to Haiti, where she lays the groundwork for the economy which she calls "Stop Shopping, Start Sewing" the Sewing Rebellion  furthers the [emancipation 0:03:16.3] from the global garment industry by teaching and learning how to alter, mend and make one's own garments and accessories.  Textile work and activist Frau Fiber and or regional [inaudible 0:03:27.1] distribute their knowledge of the garment industry, pattern-making and sewing, encouraging the re-use, renovation and recycling of existing garments and textiles in creation of unique items tailored to individual taste and body shapes.  Whereas many of the plausible art worlds we have looked at over the past month have focused on the world-making potentials of new digital technology, the Sewing Rebellion has strove to pick an older analogical thread, stitching, weaving, sewing, garment making as an alternative to consumerism.  More than that, the rebellion explicitly links the activity to labor, perhaps the most crucial component of any plausible life-world.

So hopefully that ties in more or less what you do, but obviously, we want to hear from you about the specifics of projects you've been working on and where you guys are at now.

Carole: Ok, well I think it's really important in the context of my work to consider my background in the garment industry,  I actually worked in the apparel industry for twelve years before I went to graduate school and got my MFA and started to make this body of work that is I think slowing processing my experience working in the industry.  Working in an industry that I love the material culture of, but I never really liked the politics and didn't appreciate that way that bodies are portrayed and the labor politics and things like that.  So, I think the Sewing Rebellion came into being about the same time that I was travelling to Germany and I studied at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, in a MFA in public art and new artistic strategies.  It was at that point where I think I gave myself permission to make work about what I knew and about what I know - and what I know is garment production.  I realized, when I came back from Weimar that I had this skill set that was being lost and wanted to give it away.  So that's how the Sewing Rebellion came into being, fortunately there's some great spaces in Chicago, like Mess Hall, that allow one to present free workshops and not have to pay rent for a space.  So that's been one of the struggles I think, with the Sewing Rebellion and having it grow, there was always the search for space, or people that have space that they can host the event, so it is met in everything from private homes to public sewing spaces.  The Brooklyn chapter meets at a community sewing space, and there's actually two chapters in Los Angeles; one is on the east side, which is meeting in a someone's studio space, Jennifer Bruce's studio space, and the other one meets in hands-on3rd which is in west Hollywood.  Then of course the Mess Hall chapter continues to meet and it continues to evolve and I think basically at this point, I'm trying to get the Sewing Rebellion to operate without Frau Fiber actually having to participate.  So, does anybody have any questions about that at that point?  I'm just talking into space here, it's really funny!

?: No, yeah it might feel a little awkward at first, but believe me we're all listening and thinking, and really if there are links to specific works, or images or whatever you want to include…

Carole: Ok, well I think the national blog, which is sewingrebellion.wordpress.com

?: Yep, we've posted that, and Salem also posted a couple of other ones…

Carole: Ok, so what happens on the blog side, and I guess that's where I utilize public access and the internet, is by posting instructions, I try and distribute monthly.  Sometimes it's quarterly, it just depends on other things that are going on at the time.  It's really important I think for the Sewing Rebellion that it is a free event, I know that the Brooklyn chapter does have to charge I think a $5 donation because of space, but otherwise they are free events and that's important; and I also think it's really important that each chapter has their own identity, yes they're under the umbrella of the Sewing Rebellion, but it's really about coming together and building a community of people who are interesting in increasing the life of their clothes, and however that transpires is fine.  The LA chapter did a screen printing workshop last week, or last month, and so the instructions that also go out are optional, they're there, people want to use them but they don't have to.  One of the things that is happening now is the chapters are starting to make suggestion for instructions, and then I go ahead and type them up and format them and all that kind of thing.  What else about the Sewing Rebellion?  I'm just looking through the blog…

?: Yeah, I mean, you can pause and find specific things you want to share with us, so don't feel like you have to be rushed to talk through everything up front, this is very informal, very casual, and as you talk the gears will be spinning, and we'll start to formulate questions and ideas.

So far it's really wonderful and exciting, Steven is doing a play-by-play and so there's various threads that are happening simultaneously.

Carole: And I think it's really important to understand too that the Sewing Rebellion has become one out of several projects, and  I like to say that Frau Fiber has this multi-national corporation that she's forming and the Sewing Rebellion is one element of it.  The other element of it is knock-off enterprises which primarily are solo performances wherein Frau Fiber knocks-off regional apparel, so she did a performance in 2008 of knocking-off Hart Schaffner Marx suits in Chicago and Hart Schaffner Marx suites have been manufactured in Chicago for a really long time, and they're starting to slowly move their production off-shore, and so she does these commemorative sewing-performances that are durational in nature, oftentimes attempting to mimic what an actual garment workers' day would be like.  So like in the performance in Chicago, she was working 12-hours shifts, 6 days a week, and then only allowing herself one little ten-minute break a day to go the bathroom and have a little bit to eat.  Then most recently I'm doing, or Frau's doing a piece in Los Angeles that is supposed to start on Thursday although the pedal-powered sewing machine's not finished yet, and she will be knocking-off a Forever21 shirt which kind of looks like a cross between a work-shirt and a military shirt, and it's part of their American brand, which is manufactured in Taiwan, the label is super funny because it says [The American brand, manufactured in Taiwan 0:11:33.8] and she's going to be recreating these shirts in front of Forever21 stores, the flagship store in Highland Park, Hollywood, Santa Monica, there's another  store in west Hollywood, and then in front of their corporate headquarters, which is on the southeast side of Los Angeles.  

That's a couple of the on-going projects of knock-off enterprises, and then also most recently is the "Made in Haiti" work, which started in December 2009 but Frau Fiber was invited to attend the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince, which was hosted by a group of found object sculptures who are consistently denied visas to attend their exhibitions in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and so a British curator and one of the artists came up with this idea to bring the international art world  to this neighborhood in Port-au-Prince.  So for that project, Frau Fiber was looking at the process of used apparel and where it goes and our apparel ends up in developing countries like Africa and Haiti and what it's done is it's made a local garment production, so in Haiti you have this tradition of tailors that are trained in the French methods of tailoring and they're incredibly skilled, they basically are losing work because everyone is buying these second-hand clothes which are called "pepe", so I met this tailor whose name is [Jonas surname 0:13:22.8] and we've worked together three times now, I actually just came back last Thursday from Haiti, and he and I worked together on developing garments that are repurposed from the pepe, and then I bring it back into the States.  We started a second collection this time around, which is stenciled t-shirts which are done by some of the younger artists that live in the neighborhood and then we also started a collection of backpacks that are made from overalls, so that's a full-scope of what I've got going on right now.

Steven: You listed a number of really ambitious projects, I was wondering if we could take a closer look at one of two of [inaudible 0:14:25.5]

Carole: Sure

Steven: [inaudible 0:14:27.8] needles and thread… how they work… the most recently one actually, the Haiti project

Carole: How the project works?  Well, the first time how the project worked was hold on one second, I just want to get a statement up here.

How the project worked originally was I, as Frau Fiber went down to Port-au-Prince, and the curators new that I was interesting in working with pepe and was interested in working with a tailor, and fortunately there's a couple of tailors living in the neighborhood, so I interviewed both of them, and ended up working with one that was a little bit younger; the older tailor, he wanted me to pay him $150 a day, and it was a little bit out of my budget, so some of the important questions for me with doing the Made in Haiti work were asking the tailors and negotiating with the tailors on what they felt they should be paid every day.  At the time too I knew that there was discussion in Port-au-Prince about wages, and there were several student groups that were trying to get wages increased to $5 a day, but there is some garment manufacturing that happens in Haiti, Hanes and I think David's Bridal used to manufacture in Haiti, I don't think they are anymore, but there are some lower-end products, and they said that they would pull-out if the wages went up to $5 a day.  The minimum wage was set at $3.09 a day, and there's lots of questions about whether or not that $3.09 actually gets paid and how it gets paid.  Primarily the workers do work on a peace-rate wage, oftentimes are expected to produce what way beyond can happen in an 8-hour day, so they end up working 12 to 16 hours a day, and they still don't make their quotas.

So it's really important to me as thinking about this project too as it's an art project, but it's also becoming like this business, that the tailor have a voice in how much he makes, so after many discussions with Jonas, we agreed on $50 a day, which is a little bit about $8 an hour I guess when you break it down to an hourly wage, which I think is totally fair, and for the skills that Jonas has, he's highly highly skilled, and all the work is also produced on a treadle sewing machine, power's not really reliable in Haiti and so almost all the tailors that I saw all work on the old treadle Singer sewing machines.  Once I had established with Jonas that we would be working together, then we set about getting a bundle of pepe, so the pepe actually was called Kennedy and it was instituted by JFK as charity to provide developing countries with clothes, and I think at some point it probably was free and distributed freely, but today it's a very vibrant economy both from the US side and also in Haiti.   And so if you can afford to get a bundle of pepe, you're an entrepreneur; you can resell the stuff on the street and actually become a shop.  There are pepe shops all over the streets of Port-au-Prince, I have an article on the blog, let me see if I can just stick it in there really quick.

?: I'm just curious, this is all very new to me, but pepe jeans, it's that name aware of the way that word is used?  Or is it just a coincidence because of the name Pepe as a first name is popular.

Carole: There's a jean brand called Pepe?

?: I think so

Carole: That's awesome!  It could be a name, I don't know if there's any relationship between those two things.

?: It sounds like I'm curious about the language because you're also talking about, well first of all you're talking about Frau in the third-person, and then you're also talking about you being engaged in a corporate model, or an actually corporation if you so-call it that, but I'm wondering how language plays a role in either the performative aspect or also the way that you write about it and the way that you think about it and the way that, you know the satellite Sewing Rebellion collectives are communicated with… I'm curious what role language plays in your work, or in the work of the Sewing Rebellion, or in the work of Frau..

Carole: It's really funny because as a kid I was a terrible writer, I struggled with it so much, and had to go through all this special-ed stuff to learn grammar because I grew up in southern California and they never really taught us grammar in public school.  The last year of graduate school I just spend with advisors that were writers, and really wanted to, it was really important to me to have that skill down and so now, when you ask that-- this is the first time this question's ever been asked, and I think that language is an incredible, it's so important to the work, it's so vital to the work, and the way that I contextualize it.  I think that-- you made the comment about the Frau, and sometimes I talk about her in the third-person, and I still get really confused, because I have this other person, and then I'm trying to always keep them in check.  I can do that much better in the written form than I do when I present stuff thus far, especially talks and things like that.   With the language of the Sewing Rebellion, it's so important, and I really want that rebellious language to come through when people are hosting a Sewing Rebellion so the whole Stop Shopping and-- I don't think it's bitter or unhappy, it's more of like a milder revolutionary language, or soft guerilla language that has a critique in it if you so want to understand that, but at the same time it also has a playfulness.

One of the things that started with the Made in Haiti project, especially when I started working on the blog and was reading all these newspapers articles about the garment economy in Haiti and I just started hacking those articles and putting Frau's voice into them and taking parts that I wanted from them and erasing other parts so there was an article that came out early in November, I think I wrote it--maybe it was in December--  oh yeah; Frau Fiber's tough job in Haiti..

?: Yeah, if you want to post it, that would be great.

Carole:  Yeah.

and it was an article that had been written about Bill Clinton and the work that he was going to be doing, and how he was named special envoy to Haiti and so I basically appointed Frau Fiber as a special envoy to Haiti, and on the uniforms that I made for the work in Haiti, they had patches on them saying "Special Envoy 100% Good for Garment Workers" and I've continued that practice throughout this project, and actually the blog, I have a solo exhibition in Appalachian State that open up on September 17th, we've actually created a newspaper, it's four-page newspaper that highlights important moments throughout the blog and the collection and the visual dictionary that I made to help communicate with Jonas, because I don't speak French, I don't speak Creole, but now I'm learning Creole little by little.  It was a Creole-English-German picture dictionary of sewing terms, I don't think I've put that on the blog yet though.  So yes, language is incredibly important, and it's really fun to play with, I really enjoy playing with these articles, and sometimes they're kind of screwed up and I'm not such a good editor for myself, I need to get some help with that…

?: I think that's one thing, writing in language is something we can all work of for life, it's one of those things that nobody's perfect in.  I mean I think, I just posted a little quote from the blog that posted, the Tough Job in Haiti, and I think it's amazing how it reads very authentically but at the same time you can definitely get a sense of the humor and the underlying critique of the language that is being used.

Carole: Right, right and I think humor is so important, especially with dealing with this stuff because I think when I was in my early 20s I was like this bitter punk rock kid, and it was great and everything living in New York and really poor and angry, but I don't want to be that way anymore.  I think that people tend to repel from that, and so the humor allows access that maybe I wouldn't otherwise have.  It is sneaky in a way too because it gets people in and then they realize overtime "Oh right, this is some serious stuff, I need to think about".

?: I think even, just when earlier this evening you were talking about the workers getting--if they're going to bump them up on the $5 a day figure, I mean something like that is just, it's really unfathomable, and I think to some extent the language being playful at least gets you into that discussion and from there can feed you things subtly or not so subtly, and I think that's a really great strategy, a really great tactic.

Carole: Yeah, thank you.  Well it's amazing to just think about $5 a day when I was in Haiti this last trip and decided to do this t-shirt stenciling project, I chose to work with three gentlemen, and there's all sorts of issue about gender in Haiti too that I'm trying to negotiate; primarily the artists that work from this neighborhood are all male, there's one or two young girls, but most the women in Haiti are very busy doing child-rearing, although the men participate also, I don't want it so seem that… they definitely are active as a community rearing, but their time is spend doing that kind of stuff.  That was one of the questions I had about artists when I was there was like "where are all the women?" but anyway, I ended up working with these three guys and I paid them each $5, it was all I had left in my budget, but then they'll get paid form the t-shirt itself -- I'll send them Western Union their additional funds, and this one guy Claudel, Claudel was doing this amazing [new-inspired 0:27:25.5] images in black and white, he  was really obsessed with black and white and the unification of black and white, and all this kind of stuff, and so I paid each of them, and I've never seen anybody get so excited about $5 in my life, and he was just like "Today is a good day, today is a great day" for $5 and Haiti's expensive, people think it's low-wages so it must be cheap to live there, but it's not because everything is imported, so the cost of living is really high, and $5 will get you a meal and a couple of beer and that's about it.

?: Yeah, I mean that really points to, and I'm sure Steven could speak much more eloquently than I can on the subject matter, but it really calls to mind this idea of the alienation of the worker.  Be it from the assembly of a product, or the fact that the wage in which they're earning producing a product wouldn't even allow them to purchase the product they're making.  And that's incredibly alienating from just a very humanistic stand point; the relationship you have with your craft, and knowing that what you're producing is unattainable and yet you are producing it.  I think that's something we don't often think about unless we're reading [Marx? 0:28:58.4] or getting hit over the head with something like that.

Carole: Right, and I think that was something like what I started the Made in Haiti project, I really wanted the products to sell to the wealthy, and there is an elite in Port-au-Prince they live in Pétionville and they live behind these giant walls and they have palatial estates on the hills.  When you go behind those walls it's like walking in to me Newport Beach California, it's shocking.  I had a couple of people that saw the product, they thought it was really wonderful, but they were like, and they own boutiques and they were like "my clients would never buys this" because those people want to buy Chanel, Louis Voitton or the latest French, British, New York based designers, they're not interested in shopping conscientiously let's say.   That was really disappointing to me because for the sale that we did at the Ghetto Biennale I tried to keep the prices as low as possible but still kind of cover the expense that I paid just to pay Jonas to make sure that was covered.  While the people in the neighborhood loved the garments and maybe it's inspired them, I know it has inspired them to repurpose their own garments, even at $5 it was too much, and so that idea of not being able to afford what it is that you make is very much alive and well, even with Jonas the tailor, I'm paying him $50 a day, he still couldn't afford the things that he's making.

?: Right, after basic costs of living, food and everything else.

Carole: Yep, well and like this last trip, all the money that he earned, which was $500, his mother passed away while he was there and so it paid for her funeral, so it's like you think you might get ahead, and then shabam, your mother gets hit by a car, and the next thing you know all the money you were earning, that you were maybe hoping to get a passports so you could possibly to the States and maybe do some work here whereas that's lost in the blink of an eye, it's really kind of a bummer.

?: I was thinking about, and I want to just say this over the audio as well is please anyone who has a question feel free to chime in via audio or we can start a running list of questions and comments in the text as well so please obviously as they come to you go ahead and jot those down or chime in.  That said I'll just post a quick questions which was when you were talking about how the clients really wanted  Louis Vuitton or Chanel, or something like that, have you ever appropriated the logos or create work that's appropriating that market?  In an effort to make that comment about what's desirable or how it's made, It's authenticity, I mean we talk about authenticity in terms of painting, but also in terms of a brand or a logo, and I find that to be completely bizarre and hard to fathom, but we know it's in existence obviously because there are knock-offs of originals, but brand names.

Carole: Well and I think that idea of knock-off and branding is embedded in the work through, like the vocabulary of [inaudible 0:32:43.4] enterprises which is knock-off enterprises so it's playing with the idea of what is a knock-off ad why are things knock-offs, although the Frau was knocking things that are made offshore primarily so she's kind of knock-off the cheapest of the cheap and actually it becomes in a way more expensive because it's made with domestic labor, it's made by this artistic labor, the fabrics are purchased in the States and are more expensive.  So it's like this up-grade knock-off I guess, and then, also within the projects there are logos that are created and brand identities that I'm always playing with, like the Sewing Rebellion has this Sewing Rebellion patch which I've actually had produced as patches and there's a whole series of purchase of [inaudible 0:33:33.8] patches that you can earn, so it also mimics notions of girl scouting and achieving things, pretty much project that I do I do develop some kind of brand identity or look to the paperwork, it gets done on letterhead, oftentimes there's business cards, particular blogs, but I haven't really gone into knocking-off  high fashion stuff in that way, there's two projects that I can think of; one was [Hacking good tour 0:34:10.9] that started in New York, I don't know if they're still making stuff, but they started this project where they actually did more knock-off designer looks using old clothes and repurposing the clothes to make them have this designer feel, and then the other project is [name 0:34:29.0] Micro Waltz where she developed a knitting program so that her idea was that people would knit logo like the Nike swoosh and create their own branded hand-knotted leg warmers and things like that.  Maybe I feel like with those two projects they're kind of covering that and I also feel that when you repurpose a logo like that, it's almost like you're drawing attention to that company, and for me, maybe I don't necessarily want to draw attention to a specific company, but to the broader concept of apparel production and how our clothes are made and that there are a set of hands that go behind that work even though they have special machineries that makes it much easier to sew a seam together, it's must faster, but you still need those operator's hands.It is a skilled labor, it's not unskilled, so…

?: I think that in a way through the chat we're also addressing issues simply based on labor, I mean obviously you are going to Haiti paying people, of course it's a better way than maybe they would get otherwise, but are you ever conflicted with the process in which you go in, you establish a relationship and of course you said, in case you're sending royalties back to the workers which I think is incredible; but what level are you self-critical of the process if at all?

Carole: I think I'm constantly self-critical of the process, I mean going to Haiti was actually one of the hardest projects I ever did and I almost backed out right before; I was like "What am I doing?  What am I thinking?  I can't go to Haiti and make art about labor, this is ridiculous this is totally insane" and I muscled through and the first three days I was there, I was like "I don't know if I can do this project, it's so problematic, oh my gosh, what am I doing?  Is this right?" and then I realized that the thing that I could do that would benefit the most would be to provide jobs and how important and how desperate everybody is just to work, and they'll work even if they're not going to get paid, they still will help you set up the site.  The site where we did the Made in Haiti project, the dirt got swept and repaired, and I was not allowed to do that, and there were certain things that… I was looked at as the boss and I really had a hard time with that because I was so used in my practice being the one that was doing the labor, and all of a sudden, I became management.  I was really struggling with the whole notion that Jonas wanted me to tell him what to do, and I kept saying "But I want to work with you" he was like "No, you need to tell me what to do".

?: Do you ever just impromptu get behind a sewing machine and work with them?

Carole: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah; but I had to earn that, I had to hang around and watch Jonas work and then finally he would let me sew, this last trip I was allowed to cut and prep stuff, but he's actually much better at the machine than I am too, he's better at operating it than I am, it's really important to him though that he does the labor, that is super super important, and part of it is my whiteness, you don't let some white woman come in and do the work for you- that's terrible!  That's just not what you do.

So there's a lot of things that I think I face every trip I go down there, but then also what's happening between Jonas and I is we're realizing how much we have in common, and how much the skills that we both have; Jonas knows how to crotchet, I know how to crotchet, when I was working in the [inaudible 0:39:09.2] this last time like there's a lot of time I spent waiting, I started cutting up T-shirts and making beer Koozies for everybody and Jonas just thought that was the best thing ever.  We're starting to share out skill-sets a little bit more, and I think in a few more trips we probably truly will become collaborators, and it will be where I wanted it last December, but it's taken some time.

?: Well again like anything when we were talking about language, it's a form of communication in terms of those shared skill-sets and being able to communicate it through a process or craft…

Carole: Definitely because we definitely, the sewing words in French are very similar and used as sewing words in English, so there's things that is like that language we can both speak and can understand pretty clearly, and then through doing drawings and things like that you can totally figure out how to accomplish things.

?: Steven has posed a question a little while ago and I don't want to let it get buried so maybe I'll just read that to you so it gets out there.  He wants to know "I'd like to hear about how Frau Fiber engages with the art world, in other words the dominant art world, I really appreciates how she injects art into the garment making economy, but what about when those commodities and their production realities are re-territorialized, not just in the first-world economy but in the symbolic economy of art, maybe you can say something about the Ghetto Biennale to approach that issue.

Carole: [laughing]   

I know how to answer that really, let me think about it.

?: If you need to reference it, because there is a lot there, it's in the chat there, I can post it again in fact; take your time with that, there's a lot there, and I think really what Steven is asking is much of the plausible art world is trying to tease out which is, what is the relationship?  One foot in, one foot out?  Trying to stay out of it, is there a dialogue between the worlds in which you are engaged, and also THE art world?  Or are they completely separate entities?  I mean I don't know that they are ever separate identities completely but…   

Carole: No I don't think they're separate, and I think that the art world in many ways supports-- this is the way that I'm trying to make it work, is that I'm trying to get the art world to support the social practice world.  So for instance, I would have never gone to Haiti if it wasn't for the Ghetto Biennale and being invited by an academic to participate in that.

Also, I have this solo show in Appalachian State and I think I'm more involved with the academic; What is the art world I guess is a good question what I have.  I'm not involved in the commercial art world  let's say, although sometimes I think that it would be good to have that other audience that then supports the work that happens in the field, but I view them as different audiences.  So I approach each one very differently primarily the performances happen out in the world, let's say, like in Haiti or in Los Angeles you know, it's out in the street, it's happening live, and one of the things that I'm starting to do is really question how that material--because there is material culture that comes out of these performances, how that gets reinterpreted for the white box, or the white pew, and how that gets reinterpreted for an art audience.  One of the things that happens, I gave this presentation of the Symposium at Northwestern last Fall and it was about a work I had done in New Orleans, there I created this pedal-powered sewing machine and the idea was that I was going to help people rebuild their domestic space by making table cloths, linens and things like that, and I had done a site visit the January before and went down at May to do this piece, which was part of an exhibition called Pathogeographies that was at gallery 400 at Chicago; and they funded $500 of the project so when I went down in May then to do the work, it had gotten hotter in New Orleans, duh, and people had started retreating into the insides of their homes and not coming out.  So for two weeks, I basically set up these little shops all over this neighborhood and it took two weeks to get one customer.  I really felt like for me, in a lot of ways that project had failed because I wasn't able to serve the community the way that I wanted to, but when I showed the documentation and then gave this talk at the Symposium, everyone was like "But the documentation is wonderful, the images are wonderful" so as an art piece, it was successful, but as an act of generosity on my part, I felt like it was a failure.  I think that was one of the things that's made me realize that the art world and then the world where I engage in this work are two very different things and I approach them very differently.  I'm starting to think about, I don't like doing performances in galleries, I did one in March at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, and I just was really uncomfortable with it, it seemed very staged, and it lacked spontaneity and I just don't like it, so I'm not going to do that anymore.  I shouldn't say I'm not going to do it anymore because I don't know what's going to happen, you should never say never but it's not going to be my first choice, and you have to negotiate these things within institutions because they find  out about you because of this informative work that you do, and so they want you to do it in their institution and you're like "Well that's not what I do for institutions" for me, I'm really comfortable with displaying the objects in an institution, and having people have an experience through objects.  I'm even starting to pull away from photography and I actually do not like video at all; so everyone's always saying to me "You should do some video".

?: I'm curious, just as a follow-up  to that -- not specifically for you to tell us why you don't like video-- but  it might be telling in a sense, things that we've discussed over the course of the plausible art world's discussions are both the power and the problematic of the archive, how is something documented and to what end?  Does this become a precious object that exists under a vitrine of some sort or is this photos that document the trip? and so and to what end? Is there something that you keep for yourself to sort of document the work so you can revisit and see what was successful and what wasn't, or like you said, is it something that lives as something potentially exhibit-able in an institution and I think oftentimes I'm really weary of the archive, it scares me, but at the same time, I think it's got great potential, but much like propaganda, it's got potential for a particular use, for a particular audience.

Carole: This is true, this is true, I like the idea about it being propaganda in a way.  I guess for me the archive, or the material cultures that is created aesthetically it's something that I love, I love scissors, I love sewing machines, I love a collection of pins on a table, I love stacks of cut cloths that are ready to be put into production; it's an aesthetic of garment production that I really truly and enamored with; I love a stack of cloth

?: I can imaging smell too, I mean I don't often sew, but I'm sure that there's a certain smell to fabric, or fabric stores that is very present.

Carole: Yeah, I never thought about smell before, I'll have to think about that, I guess sometimes if you don't oil your machine it starts to smell a little bit like burning metal or something; and sounds are also I think are really important, but I still haven't figured out how I want to incorporate that and not have it seem too staged.  I mean, I really see the art world and then my career as an academic is what fuels this and allows me to make the work, I couldn't make this work if I didn't have a full-time teaching job and if I wasn't getting invited by various institutions to come and do pieces that pay me an [inaudible 0:49:08.5] then allow me to do that piece and then maybe do another piece.  So I guess I view the art world as a funding mechanism.  Which is weird because there isn't really all that much money, but for now that's how it's working

?: and it's not quite at the level of bloody money or anything

Carole: No, God no!  I think one of the things that happened too which might be in Haiti was that you met these artists and they make work because they want to sell it, and so most of the international artists that came to work in this neighborhood were doing social practice types kinds, and they all make really ephemeral work and none of us were represented by commercial galleries or anything, I think there was one.  Actually the artists of the [inaudible 0:50:07.4] probably made more money off their work than I have; like someone purchasing an object, that kind of exchange.  I was talking to one of the older gentlemen, I like was "You've probably made more money than I have" and he's like "Well why do you do it if you don't make money out of it?" and it just really makes you consider why you do it, and then I explained to him I have this teaching job, and it supports the work, so I don't have to be involved with the commercial gallery scene and it allows me more freedom to do the work I want to do without having to depend on it selling and making something that people are going to desire as an object to have in their home or have in their collection.  so we had many interesting conversations about those systems, and then it also made me realize the luxury that I have to be an artist that makes work that doesn't need to sell in a gallery setting; that is not my primary income, and of course I basically work like two jobs or three -- I work all the time, as many of us do to do these project that we're interested in, but it's also because we're in this place that we have the ability to do that.

?: Do you have, and this is completely self-serving, and again please, anyone with questions- I feel like I'm directing this discussion and I don't mean to be at all.  Do you feel like your role within your teaching life and your creative professional life as an artist or as Frau, is there an overlap there, and because again I'm trying to tease out this relationship between your creative practice and the art world--or in this case, the academic  world--and again, you've talked a little bit about that, but for instance are there aspects to your teaching that I imagine you're not simply teaching someone how to crotchet, but rather to infuse that process with the potential for activism, or social…

Carole: Absolutely, absolutely, I teach at [inaudible 0:52:32.4] East Los Angeles, it's a commuter college of about 15000 students, and I'm in the art department, but I was hired to teach in the fashion option, which I struggle with everyday that I'm teaching fashion.  I'm teaching students who want to go and get jobs in the [inaudible 0:52:50.2] industry in Los Angeles primarily, and the demographic of the community is about 95% first generation Hispanic Americans, and their parents work in sweatshops, and I have them reading texts about labor politics and gender and I teach them basically, like when I was teaching this introduction to sewing class, it was the Sewing Rebellion, teaching them how to repurpose clothes and redesign clothes.  I try really hard to bring these discussions to the surface and to allow the students to be aware of the politics of the industry that they want to work in.  I think for the most part, that's not what's talked about in the fashion industry or in institutions that are teaching fashion, it's all about decoration and beauty, bottom-line marketing and making sales  and so I think that my students are getting something a little different from the average fashion program, and so far I've been able to get away with it -- no one's really complained to the dean or anything, so it seems to be ok.

?: I imagine you run into the occasional student, just by sheer numbers and statistics, but that is really not interested in that, they want to know how to do a seam properly so that they can get a job, so that they can, in their eyes, better their life or assist their parents and get them out sweatshops, or whatever that might be.  How do you address that?  How do you wrestle with that and say "Yes, that's super important and you can totally use these skills to do that, but it's also important; like we were talking about, understanding language or whatever, to be able to communicate those ideas or be aware of how they're being subtly used against you , if you will.

Carole: Well, one of the things I tell them is that in Los Angeles there's a number of 2-year programs or trade schools where they can go and learn the technical skills of apparel production, and there and a bachelors of art program, so I'm always telling them "You in a bachelors art program, it's not like it's not a trade school so you're here to learn the technical stuff as well as the intellectual stuff and the critical stuff that goes along with it."  So while they're learning how to sew a seam, they're also doing a reading, or they're also considering--like there's a second-level sewing class where I have them break into teams and each team becomes a little piece-work production factory, so they have to choose a garment, they have to reproduce it, they have to cut it in piece-work style so they understand they system under which garments are made and hopefully they get some empathy into the expectation, and I time them and give them time-limits and they have to get so much work done in this amount of time so they also feel the pressure of what it's like to be a garment worker; and so I hope when they're in situation when they're maybe applying that pressure, maybe they might reconsider it a little bit.

?: Are you having them read Adam Smith and Division of Labor,

Carole: No, but I should

?:  It just came to mind; do you really want to be that pin making? you know?

Carole: I have them read; there's a book called… oh my gosh it's completely just left my brain.

?: Well we have a question to fill that; Michael at Base Kamp is asking he says "I'm interested in outsourcing as a form of activism, any thoughts on that and/or more examples?

Carole: What do you mean outsourcing as a form of activism, do you mean like outsourcing or activism?

?: You guys want to chime in a Base Kamp?  Please do.

Carole: Ohh, outsourcing labor as a form of activism…

?: Michael, I don't know if you're available to hop on…

Carole: So give me an example, I guess I do not really understand.  I guess I am trying to relate it back to my own work, so then is Jonas as a form of outsourcing activism?

Michael: Hi, sorry the question is a little vague, but I heard about a book, which I have not read, it's called the Two-hour work-week [inaudible 0:58:20.8]

I guess I'm interested in outsourcing as a form of activism because a lot of people associate it as a sort of potentially negative thing, you know, you get the cheapest labor that you possibly can, in order to get a product of itself, I'm interested [inaudible 0:58:44.6] where you're outsourcing labor on some level maybe, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but it's a form of activism, if that makes sense?

Carole: Well I mean, I think what makes it a form of activism in the case of Jonas is that I'm paying him $50 a day which is almost ten or fifteen times what the minimum wage is, but also I've had conversations with people that are also starting economic developments in Haiti, this is where we perhaps differ; they want to pay people the minimum wage or piece-work rates that are incredibly low and so that's probably where the activism lies is that I'm negotiating with the labor force and trying to realize what they feel they're worth, also saying, this is what you're worth.  And I think Jonas is worth much more than that, but the product that we are developing just doesn't have that kind of dollar return yet.  But one of the things that popped inside my head is like Jeff Koons because he has so much work outsourced and there's something about that that I'm curious about in the sense of like what is he paying these people that are making his paintings, and then do they get a cut when it sells?  Are they getting a bonus when it sells?  Or is it just this one-time deal; they make the work, it's finished and they got paid whatever little teeny tiny bit of money and he turns around and sells it for millions of dollars.  So I guess I'm always questioning that and how labor is used.  I think there is tones of exploitation of labor in the art world, and in the fashion world, just the use of interns that we've all participated in, and I'm sure encouraged, just like this free labor.  I was in residence of this space called Elsewhere in Greensboro North Carolina, and Elsewhere is this really interesting space, but they have--and I told them this in my exit interview-- a major exploitation of labor that is horrific, and it's really upsetting to see that happen in a place where we're supposed to be enlightened or something, right?  Because we're critiquing and we've read this stuff, but yet we still are willing to exploit these interns and those students to achieve our goals.  I mean, I have just as much problem with that as with garment workers not getting paid.

?: Thanks Michael,  I think it was very helpful to hear your thoughts.  any other questions or thoughts out there, I'm really curious to sort of open this up into maybe more of a discussion if that happens organically.

Female: Yeah, I was thinking about when I was in the 80s and I was involved with [inaudible 1:02:12.3] workshop and the problem is that a lot of people think "oh wow, we're hiring the handicapped and isn't that wonderful" and everything like that but the problem was people [inaudible 1:02:25.7]I was involved with that and there were times when I wasn't getting any money at all [inaudible 1:02:34.3] and then if you're on social security [inaudible 1:02:39.4] or anything like that and really it got I felt, a lot of people were really unhappy but not only that but it was work for really people with no brains.

Carole: Right, I mean I guess there's something on the blog here that talks about playing with NGOs and working in Haiti and, I mean I think people have really good intentions,; like I'm trying to have good intentions with the work that I make, but sometimes those good intentions end up being on the disastrous side when for whatever reason you're just not able to pay people a fair living wage, and so that you don't end up being like stuck.  I think that everybody things "Ohh these garment jobs" which tend to be like some of the first jobs that go into developing countries, "It's good for them, it helps" and well yeah, it's better than nothing when you're desperate, anything will help, but is it really good?  Are there other things that can happen? I want us to question it, I do not know what the answer is, I don't have an answer.  But, I think that as a people that have all this intelligence to go into other countries to do work, we need to question our intentions all the time, I think that's really important too as artists making work in the social realm that we ask ourselves all the time "Is this really right?  Is this going to be good for the community? Is the community's voice going to be heard? Am I doing this for my own benefit; why am I doing this?" I think that those are important questions to ask.  

?: Yeah, absolutely, I mean I think in a way we all do that, even just in our lives, but maybe not to the extent that we're really engaged in the critical process to the extent of which, as you were saying earlier at times, almost withdrawing from projects based on those concerns.  I think certainly on some level, we can't necessarily withdraw from all the aspects of life that we don't agree with, there are so many things that I'm a walking-talking hypocrite, and maybe that's a curious question that I have for you.  Obviously being so aware of how garments are produced and where they're produced; do you buy new clothes?

Carole: No, I make all my own clothes, and I've even started making my own underwear because I think underwear for women is really unhealthy, I think that we should go back to things from the 20s the [inaudible 1:05:52.8] that are like silk and loose cottons.

?: [inaudible 1:05:56.7] the quality of the fabric being bleached or whatever

Carole: It just doesn't like breathe, especially like I'm a full-figured woman and then so you get a little sweaty here and there and your body needs to breathe.  I think that like micro-fibers and spandex is the worst thing you can put on your body because it just doesn't let you breathe, and everybody's wearing it.  There are some interesting conversations because there is a point where, like one of the things that's happening is when I first discovered Frau Fiber and first started performing, I really became her like completely in a way.  One of the things that's been happening over the last couple of years is that I'm trying to separated, like we're Siamese twins, and I'm trying to form the Frausen Identity and my own like Carole Francis Long as biographer, as artist that's also interested in some other projects and then, so how those play out.  And then also like Carole Francis Long professor.  So I have like this uniform I wear when I teach in my lecture, and it's kind of like a jumper that has the top of overalls so it has a skirt on it and these pockets, and whenever Frau's present, she always is in some very stern, unattractive uniform that's either like a dark green or dark blue, it's very drab, and then this other part of me is starting to come out, which is much more feminine and playful and like when I went to Haiti this last trip I made myself a couple of nice cotton dresses because it was so hot.  I had a bunch of discussions with the artists in the [place name? 1:07:50.8] they were like "this is not your artistic political dress, why are you wearing this?"  And they were really perplexed because during the day they would see me in these uniforms, but then at night I was wearing these really feminine full-skirted kind of fitted cotton dresses that looked almost like the 1950s, but they also look a lot like Haitian peasant dresses.  I was trying to explain to them that  while I have this artistic dress that I wear when I'm Frau Fiber, I also am Carole Francis, and there's times when I just want to be a little softer, or a little lighter, and more playful, and wear bright colors and that's another part of my personality that was kind of dormant for a long time while I was developing Frau and her identity.  So that's been really interesting to see that evolve too but yeah I don't buy [inaudible 1:08:50.0].

?: Sorry we're just adding Steven back, there was a little…

Carole: You don't have a question about the Stop Shopping?

?: Do you see it?  Oh, yeah right there, sure

Carole: Yeah, if everybody followed my example there would be an extinction of outsourcing, but I think there's part my project that's totally futile.  Sometimes I like to think about that it would be so great if this actually worked, but then I also realize that it would put a lot of people out of work and so I'm a little conflicted about that.  I also think that there's also this connection to, if it was sewn in a way that was not gender-specific, like it didn't put women back in the home sewing, that's something that I'm really concerned with sometimes, and it depends on the community that I'm working in.  Like when I was in Greensboro I thought these skills that I'm preaching have a relationship to the extreme right, conservative religious like Christian-extreme right, and it made me a little nervous, and at the same time it is a politic of the left as well, but it's like a younger, hipper kind of person who's probably an artist or something and they're choosing to live this way, and [repatch? 1:10:38.3] their clothes and there's a politic to it.  There's a part of me that would really love Sewing Rebellion to be a part of elementary education so that everybody knows how to put a button on their clothes if they want to.  So they have the choice, but they have the skill, because it's so much about having choice, and if you want to choose to use your tailor, your dry-cleaner, you can do that, or you can do it yourself.  But so I feel that my work is incredibly futile, it's wonderful to romanticize and to be utopic about, but every utopia pretty much fails.

?: Yeah, actually Cassie earlier sort of commenting on sort of pros and cons about items or garments that are made in the USA which is outsourcing, she said because at this point it's become almost impossible to make money and still pay workers what they're worth

Carole: Right, right, and there is some stuff but it's really expensive

?: Right

Carole:  It's incredibly expensive.  And so it does make it for a certain class of people who are going to buy stuff that's made in the United States.  Forbes magazine, my dad was always trying to make me read Forbes magazines and sometimes it's good to know who the double is; anyway, he had given me this thing out of Forbes that was all this Made in the USA men's wear stuff, and the things were gorgeous, these brilliantly crafted leather shoes and these suits that are just gorgeous, but it's like, they were so far removed from the everyday person; the everyday person can't afford that stuff, it's kind of like the Hart Schaffner Marx suits, which are the suits that Obama wears; they're very expensive, but some part of the suit is still made in Chicago, so people like the president can wear it, the rest of the country is going to go to wherever they go and buy something that's cheap.

?: Sorry again, we're just adding Steven.. this has been incredibly illuminating on a variety of different levels, especially just in terms of talking about your art practice and the personas that you take on; and it seems like those personas are not just about creating art work but for as Salem is pointing out, the amazing quality of having different uniforms that represent… and I think oftentimes only identify that with like our mechanic jumpsuit, in a way, and this is pointing out the obvious at this point, like your clothing in essence represents your job; not explicitly all the time, but it's like--what's that old saying, something about you can tell a lot by a person's shoes…

I think that the work seems to me at this point to operate on so many different levels that I can see how you being self-critical could in essence be paralyzing, in other words the work wouldn't happen at all.  So I'm wondering what gets you over that, I mean you talking about being self-critical and sort of backing-up, but what--and I'm not asking for like tell us your end goal, you want to change the world?  But like

Carole: Of course!

?: But maybe that is it! Is that it? I mean you say that the work is futile but there's got to be something for you like this glimmer of hope like when you were in Haiti; what was it that made the work, you want to do it again and again and again?

Carole: I think that the thing that makes me want to do my work again and again and again is --and you're not going to believe this-- but in a lot of ways I'm an incredibly introverted person, I don't like going out and meeting people, but if I have this action; this kind of thing I can do that helps me meet people it's the meeting of the people and the intimate conversations that are hard -- whether it's sitting in the Grand Rue all day, or someone coming in and talking about their mother trying to teach them how to sew and what a failure it was, or interviewing-- like when I was in North Carolina working, meeting these people who had grown up in mill villages in North Carolina, and under this social system in the United States of the company town, and then meeting people that work in the [inaudible 1:15:52.7] there was this one weaver named Millie, and she's been weaving for 55 years, this high-end Levi Strauss salvaged denim, so it's the contact that I get with the public that feeds the work, and keeps inspiring me over and over again.  

?:  I don't mean to come back to it, but I'm really curious now, it seems to me also that part of meeting these people is finding out more of their story.

Carole: Absolutely, and the research, like I love the research that I do, like before I did the project in North Carolina, I think I read like six different books about the mill villages and the mill towns in the south, and then to read these texts as a starting point, so that you have something to bring to the conversation too hopefully, but then it comes alive through the people I meet.  So it's the same way with like reading articles about the garment workers in Haiti, and then having that opportunity to work with Jonas and sit with him, and get to be friends and colleagues through this action of sewing is a thing that's so fulfilling to me, and I think it's the thing that keeps me motivated and to keep making work, because there's so much to learn, there's just like so much history related to the garment and textile production and it's been the backbone of the global economy for centuries for thousands of years, like cloth is this universal thing that everybody has some kind of story or connection to, and people have seen it made in their homes, in their grandparent's homes, or they worked in the industry, I mean the garment industry in the United States was one of the hugest industrialized in the country and provided our initial wealth, but people don't want to know about that, and they just view it as blue collar workers and everybody wants to escape from being blue collars or some reason, I don't understand it but…

?:  Have you ever been [subused? 1:18:22.6] by those experiences by those knew relationships to the extent that that's where you wanted your work to be?  In other words, to turn--not to necessarily turn it into a Ken Burns documentary about sewing--but I mean have you ever thought about your work being more didactic in that way?

Carole: No [laughs], no really, I mean, I think that there's other people that can do that.  I think that my.. I guess in a lot of ways I don't want this conversation [inaudible 1:19:03.0].

?: Right.

Carole: Conversations between me and the people I'm talking to, and then it's kind of like my job as artist--or this is what I view my job as-- is to process those conversations and put them into this performance or this object, so like one example of that would be the work I did at [inaudible 1:19:22.2] at the North Carolina project which was, it was called Revolution Textiles with the People, and it was part instillation into Elsewhere space, it's a selling a room/archive of their textile collection, and then sewing with the people part was meeting with these former mill families and talking about their history which they feel has been lost, their like in their 70s, and they want some form of commemoration before they die basically.  They've been advocating with the city and nothing really much has been happening with that, and so I meet these people, and it's another one of those moments where I realize they're incredibly conservative, their politics are the exact opposite of what my politics are, but at the same time, I felt it was really important to have their voices heard, and to have this lifestyle acknowledged, and what I ended up making was this quilt--it was a four by eight foot quilt that on the front side was like a landscape of the White Oak Mill and the mill village, and it looked very country-craft let's say, just a terrible word to describe, it definitely was reflective of the community.  On the back side though it was all denim, and I'd found this text from 1907 from Hog River that talked about the shift in the workers' work week from 66 hours to 60 hours a week, and what they had to agree to in order to get that shift.  So we quilted the whole thing together with this text, and there were places where the text wasn't legible, and that was what I'd call a happy accident where the [chalk lines? 1:21:26.4] got erased and I was like "You know what, we're just going to go with it" so the text was very fragmented, and then because I had invited the community to quilt with me, there was all different levels of skill involved, and so one of the things that kept happening is people's threads would get really knotted on what would be the front side, and so it really became this metaphor for  kind of like the disappearing history, but also like a messy history, so the front of the quilt was very beautiful and really nostalgic, but then there were all these knots and these tangles and these intentional flaws so I said to people just leave it, and that was really hard for folks as well just to create this mess.  At first glance, this history seems so picture-perfect and very romanticized, but when you dig a little bit deeper you find out it's pretty contested and quite controversial, you know there was a lot of issues of racism, there was a lot of violence associated with the textile mill towns and their lack of letting people unionize and all sorts of interesting things that I hope are able to come through in that object.

?: Awesome

Carole: Ohh, you found that Elsewhere press release

?: Yeah, I kind of just typed up the words and it popped up.

Are there thoughts or comments or questions out there as we sort of, not that we're nearing the end, but we've got about 20 minutes left, and we're trying to keep it to 8o'clock exactly, again I feel like I've been dominating the questions, but it's been really engaging; I really wanted to thank you up front for filling in really last notice -- not filling in, but joining us.

Carole: Oh you're welcome, I was glad I had the opportunity to.

?: This is sort of the question you keep in your back pocket for when there's a lull; what's next?  What's in the horizon for Frau Fiber and for Sewing Rebellion and all the different projects that you have?

Carole: The Sewing Rebellion, I think I want to, well actually I'm going back to North Caroline to install this show, the Labor Trade Show at  Appalachian State and we're going to do an instructional video, so that's something that's been in my thought for a really long time in terms of one way that I would consider using video, so we're going to do an instructional video of a technique that Jonas taught me in Haiti, a way of binding a neckline or an armhole on a garment, like finishing it, and in terms of the Made in Haiti project, the next step in that is to, I think become a non-profit and start finding some stores that will carry the product and work on a little bit better a statement for the project that helps with getting people to purchase the product, and I think one of the things that I've been struggling with because I've been a little bit busy the last few years is that I want some reflexive time to look at the work and think about the work and what's next.  I live in Long Beach California right now and I'm fascinating by the port of Long Beach, and every garment that's produced outside the United States pretty much comes through the port of Long Beach, so we'll see what happens.

?: Specifically like something that you might want to address is the shipping process…

Carole: The shipping process, the shipping routes and yeah,  something that I'm also continuing to research in North Carolina, I'm really interested in the structure of the mill villages; one of the people I interviewed in North Carolina said that the mill [inaudible 1:26:19.5] was more socialism in the United States, and that statement has kind of grabbed me, and so I hope to do some more research there, and try and look at really what that system was and there's some beautiful architecture related to the mill villages and early textile production in the south after the civil war.  I think I'm looking more domestically now, for a while I was doing a lot of work in Europe, and not that I'm still not interested in the landscape, but I just feel like there's a lot to do here, and trying to establish a headquarters and I think I'll be in southern California for a while.

?: The shipping process reminds me of the centre for urban pedagogy who did this map of train lines and truck routes and shipping lines, and I just posted the link in there, it just kind of popped into my head as you were describing it, but there's a certain interest in terms of the threads and lines of shipping and how that informs the production process as well.

Carole: Yeah, especially with Los Angeles, one of the things that has kept the Los Angeles garment industry alive is that it deals with juniors and the junior market turns over too fast, it turns over like every three months, and so having stuff outsourced to China just isn't economically viable, because you don't have the long turn-over rate, like instead of every 6 months, you've got to turn stuff over  every two to three months, so that's one of the things that's left a little remnant of a garment economy here in Los Angeles.

?: Salem sort of posed a question earlier saying; How can people support your work in Haiti?  and / or how can people start their own Sewing Rebellion group?  She says "Hello Philly".

Carole: Oh, those are good questions, if you want to start a Sewing Rebellion, you just have to send me an e-mail and let me know that you want to start one and that you find a spot, and then I send you all the instructions or send them as PDFs and you them printed out, and you just start meeting.  You just meet under banner of the Sewing Rebellion.  It's pretty simple!  

?: How can people support your work in Haiti?

Carole: The work in Haiti, I'm actually hopefully in the next couple of weeks going to get all the new garments uploaded, so they'll be on the blog, and you can buy them off the blog, or if you know of any stores, if you're a shopper and you go into some funky little international store that you think would be a good spot, or if you want to have--I'm just talking from the top of my head, if you want to have  a trunk show, I can send the pieces to you and you can have a little party with your friends and sell pieces.

?: Awesome

Carole: That would be great!

?: Salem says; Cool, thanks!

Carole: Great, thank you Salem

?: This is the time in the evening when the texts start to come to life, and those threads start to happen

Carole: This looks cool, the Art Flux University, oh I think I know that group actually, I'll have to have another look at it though, thank you for that.

?: Yeah, a group of critical companies, as Steven puts it

Carole: That looks cool, I'll have to check that out.

Yeah, you can contact me at fraufiber@gmail.com

and then the other links were already … what's another [cut? 1:30:57.2] development?

Thank you guys for these links.  It's amazing how much fascinating information there is out there.  So hard to keep up on all of it.

?: Well, you are it too, right? At least for tonight you are.

Carole: Yeah, for now I am

?: Twitter and Facebook are abuzz with Frau

Carole: oh really?  I'm on Twitter and I've never used it.  I only signed up so that I can get bleeps from the guy who own the [name of hotel 1:31:47.3] after the earthquake, he was like, my vein of news that was the news that I would listen to [inaudible 1:31:54.3] from Port au Prince, and he has something like 16000 followers now, crazy.

?: Has that ever sort of filtered in, I know it was part of the description that we have on our website, but how in the past few weeks we've been talking about digital technologies or forms of new media that are being folded into in our practice in some way, shape or form, not necessarily being it and only it, but I mean, have you ever thought about using digital technologies in some way, shape or form; or do you?  I mean you use the blog…

Carole: I use the blog, and I use the internet to e-mail and whatever, to send out information and Carole Francis Long is on Facebook and she announced Frau Fiber's activity when things are happening.  I've been encourage by people to use Twitter and things like that, but it just, I haven't gotten, I just don't have time.  It's just like one more thing, and I totally need to update my webpage as you can tell, it's been like two and a half years now or something, and it's one of those things that I don't have the finances at the moment to pay someone to do it, and I don't have the time to do it myself.  Or I should say I'm not making the time, I'd rather sit at my sewing machine and make new underwear than "tweet", or work on my webpage.

?: I'm not sure how but there's  connection there and I don't know what it is, but making underwear and tweeting sounds very related and I'm not exactly sure why.


Carole: It's like different modes of communicated I guess on some level

?: I don't know I just feel that there's got to be a connection

Carole: I think one of the things that I wish I had more skills about too is being able to-- I would like to do a book or some kind of a document for the [inaudible 1:34:23.3] that would be downloadable, so there's things like that where I really feel like the internet is this place for free information and a free distribution for information, but I don't realize, I don't use it as good as I could, and I'm aware of that,  so just as a way of getting information out there.  So we'll see what happens with the instructional video, If I like it, you might start seeing more Frau Fiber videos up in the world.

?: Awesome.  Steven has a quick comment/question Carole, when you talk about Long Beach port it came into my mind that there's been a lot of talk about real-time garment production on ships exploiting workers onboard huge ships always at sea hence avoiding what little labor law there is; having them produce garments between ports to be offload to tailor need

Carole: And then you can also say with some of the ships you can say it's made in the United States.

?: Nice, that's great

Carole: Yeah, like the US has production in Guam, but they can put "Made in the USA" on the labels

?: What about like Puerto Rico?

Carole: I think that Puerto Rico says Puerto Rico, but I'm not sure, I just know the one about Guam, so it's amazing how you can get around these laws if you can afford to have a ship and all that stuff, but even free-trade zones are crazy things, like it's such a crazy concept, we're just going to make this zone in this country an area of free-trade where we can pay all the laborers whatever we want to pay them and, that's it.

?It's not even necessarily that it's bad, just that that's the way  it's done is bad

Carole: Well, I don't mean to say whether it's good or bad, because on some level it's good, it is providing with people some amount of income, so it's just exploitative I think is the thing, that's kind of disheartening, and it's been that way since forever, the garment industry it's just bopped around the United States, and then it went to Mexico, and then it went to Asia, and then it keeps looking for new places to exploit labor, and right now the wages in China are going up, so yeah, probably things like the sea-faring garment companies or looking to Haiti and finding another desperate company that's willing to have its working taken advantage of under the guise of some kind of economic development.

?: It’s also just a bit dubious and misleading to be able to use say Guam to be able to say "Made in the USA" there's a certain cache to that, and in and of itself is misleading and dubious, not that it's not necessarily bad for the people of Guam per se, but there is something very suspect to me about that.

Carole: Well, in a lot of ways in the US we're a little bit better because at least we label our garments, when I was doing work in Europe and Ireland and Germany, they don't put any kind of labels on their garments at all, there's no labeling laws, to you don't have any idea where anything is coming from, you have no clue.

female: Do they [inaudible 1:37:55.5]

Carole: Yeah, I think they put those labels on but there's no like where things are made.

?:  Are there specific laws to the United States in terms of labeling?

Carole: I think there are but I can't rattle them off on the top of my head, but I know that they do have to put country of origin in them, they do have to put fabric  content, and care-- how the garment is supposed to be cared for.

?: We'll have to have you back in  a couple of weeks so we can put together a quiz of some sort

Carole: [laughing] No quizzes, I'll be back in school by then.  I should make that a quiz for my students, that would be better

?: I'm sure they'd love you for it.

Well Carole, this has been an incredible presentation and talk and I think all of us have been completely invested in all of the different aspects of your work, I don't know if there are any final questions but we've got about five minutes left before we wrap up, I think maybe Steven is writing something.

Totally, inspiring presentation, I agree completely.

If there are any things that we didn't talk about that you want to talk about but I think we feel like we covered most of the bases.

Carole: I thought I would give you guys a little bit of sound of my sewing machine because I'm trying to finish a uniform for this performance, so I sew on an old Singer, it's black, it's embellished with gold leaf, it is power operated, I have a treadle machine waiting for me in Colorado, but I haven't been able to get to it yet.

[Carole start sewing machine]

?: That thing sounds medieval, at least via Skype, it sounds like a torture device.

Carole: It is, it's like a [inaudible 1:40:18.9] it only does a straight stitch, I don't like fancy machines.

?: As Steven just wrote:  It sounds dangerous, [inaudible 1:40:29.8]

It has a bit of a guttural sound to it, it's exciting.

Well thank you so much, it's been really wonderful , and I think as Scott puts it at the end of each one, we'd love to follow up, stay in touch and continue this dialogue in some way, shape or form, and you'll probably be hearing from us again soon.

Carole: Sounds great, that'd be wonderful I'd love to come back, maybe one of these days I'll actually be in Philly or something.

?: Yes, totally, and of course you're always welcome to join us every Tuesday 6 to 8, and I guess that's it.

Carole: Great, thank you so much!

?: Thanks Carole so much!

Carole: Have a good night

?: Thanks everybody, good night.