Today we share our final MAKESHIFT post (for this year) of observations and thoughts from participants.

Many have already written, photographed, or posted about their experiences during the week.

Compiled below are reflections and lingering thoughts to help continue our MAKESHIFT conversation into next year.

Keep in mind (and close to heart) what is valuable and inspiring as you design, create, and make.


“I was so honored to be asked to participate in the Makeshift event. I felt a bit like an interloper, since my creations are much more ephemeral than most of the other art represented by the extraordinary people involved. The makeshift song we created, as a whole group, was thrilling. The audience participation was so much fun, and so inspiring. Creating as a community is something that sustains me, like food and water. The community I work with of musicians, audience, crew and collaborators of all stripes, sustains me and gives me strength and courage to do the solitary and sometimes isolating work of a writer. This idea, this FACT, was brought into such beautiful and stark relief at the Makeshift event. I recognized once again that in creativity, the sum is often greater than the parts.” – Rosanne Cash

“I loved everything you did for the Makeshift event. But what I loved most was getting a chance to hear from people in completely different areas of craft/design. Having a chance to come together–while making something, like our yarn necklaces–and to talk about the intersection of these areas in community—that’s enormously valuable, especially since I do much of my work alone and, as a result, I crave input from others in neighboring fields. Some of my best inspiration comes from trading ideas with other creative friends, and that happens on a grander scale when we’re working in different areas. We can build ideas from sharing and from exchanges like this.” – Liesl Gibson

“Being a part of Makeshift 2012 made me realize that sometimes being very far away geographically and seemingly out of the loop is such an archaic notion when people are connected by their truest intentions and passions. I have been living in Bulgaria off and on for the past two years, and I occasionally feel a bit sorry for myself when I think that I might be operating very far away from NYC, what many view as the epicenter of art, craft, design, fashion, and style. I love my life in Sofia and the connections I have made with very talented makers in villages and communities throughout Bulgaria. Makeshift 2012 made me realize that the textile research and cultural inquiry that I have been doing overseas is even more connected to rural American craft traditions and slow fashion than I might have surmised. This has energized me to go forth and let people here know that what seems so far away and unattainable is something that they have known about all along. It is something that their grandparents and great grandparents honored, and it is something that does not have a high price-tag or require a travel visa to be a part of. Makeshift is happening in every pocket of the globe, as the next generation rediscovers what the act of doing, undoing, and sharing is all about.” – Abigail Doan

“One Saturday afternoon in Florence, in one of our many conversations leading up to Makeshift, Natalie and I floated a simple 1-step experimental plan about how to ignite “making a shift”: If you want to make a shift, start making something!

The evening at The Standard was, for me at least, a beautiful lesson in how true this can be.

It’s mysterious: How is it that making things together–songs, beads, finger-knitting, stories–also creates a feeling of community?

Here’s another question: Once we’ve created this feeling of community, what do we want to do with its precious momentum?

During the week of Makeshift, I wove a seat for a chair (with a lot of patient help from Cathy Bailey and Andrew Wagner). I reverse appliqued a cover for a journal at the sewing circle, seated next to and across from both near and dear old friends and brand new ones. I met amazing people who will become friends and co-conspirators, and introduced old friends to one another. I was in the same room with Tift Merritt.

In the week following Makeshift, these experiences and encounters are continuing to grow and fructify. And I’m admiring my chair from a distance, recommending that everyone else who either lives in my house or visits it do the same. Unlike some of the splendid and sound creatures created at the Chair Workshop, mine is more or less a loosely and not very expertly woven potholder.

Now I’m curious: What do we want make together next?” – Jessamyn Hatcher


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