The Austin Chronicle

Fusebox Festival: Sewn on the Street

By Anne Harris, April 15, 2014, 3:32pm, Chronique

Can you stitch up a garment in the same amount of time as the average sweatshop worker? Find out at the Fusebox Festival's Machine Shop Series as textile artists Monika Jakubiak of Warsaw, Poland, and Rebecca Layton of Austin invite you to take a seat in their pop-up sweatshop and make garments on the spot.

"Sewn on the Street" is an interactive event at City Hall Plaza, where passersby will stitch a garment in the amount of time and for the average pay that a sweatshop worker would make it. Seeking to point out "the hidden cost of making 'fast' clothes in the cheap, dirty, get-it-now global market," the event asks the question, "What is the true cost of what you're wearing and who really pays [for it] in this global economy?"

Layton and Jakubiak first met in Jaipur, India, in 2010. They started a conversation about art and craft, 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 while Rebecca was raised in America during the Reagan-era Cold War. 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 clothing from her Polish mother out of necessity, as well as working for a brief spell in a Polish clothing factory. Be downtown for your lunch hour next Thursday, it may be the most interesting midday break you've ever had.

April 24, 11am-2pm
City Hall Plaza
301 W. Second St.

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