WORK. It's what we do, what we obsess over, celebrate, complain about, get paid for. We may call it Art, but it's still work. Particularly for creative types, where we do our work must have something to do with how it turns out, for better or worse - yet we rarely get to see behind the curtain.

We would like you to share something about your special place where creativity blooms. So where do you work?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Free Mending Library

 Michael Swaine mends clothes for people for free. Let me repeat that. Michael Swaine - an artist and ceramics instructor at CCA - takes a day each month  for mending, sewing and repairing clothes for people in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco. He calls this the Free Mending Library and he's been at it for more than a decade.

 What first caught our eye is the simple economy of his operation. His rolling cart with a foot-treadle sewing machine, mending storage and built-in umbrella is spare and to the point. Michael started this - project? endeavor? -  as "Reap What You Sew" pushing his cart around town, basically looking for people who might want his services. Before long he figured out two things: 1) the Tenderloin was the most interesting neighborhood for human interaction, and 2) it's easier for people to find you if they know where you will be.
Michael eventually settled in outside the Luggage Store, an art collective at 509 Ellis Street, where he mends for free on the 15th of each month. He has hope that the Free Mending Library will expand naturally, as others with talent or time show up to simply help fix things - be that clothing, appliances, resumes or whatever. All are welcome - to give help, accept it, chat, debate or just share some time.

This may be a trend - the Amsterdam the Repair Cafe was founded 3 years ago, with all the community and government support one might expect from the Dutch.

In San Francisco, Michael Swaine remains a solo act, but there is real work happening here. Not commerce, not emerging technologies, not automation. For Michael the reward is that human interaction.

You can read more about the Free Mending Library HERE.  thanks to Darby Minnow Smith and GRIST.
You can see a short feature HERE

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