Tuesday, 15 November 2016

care* package

*: Care for the world, care for ourselves, care for the world and ourselves as a part of it.

Traumatised by the election result? A psychotherapist's recovery guide (written for us Brits after last year's general election but transferable, I think, to anyone who needs it)

Not a style of music I'd usually listen to at all but this track has been shown to reduce anxiety by 65%! (And here's more of the same)

Okay, the world's gone nuts [video] - Russell Brand himself is proof that radical change is possible!

"the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we now find ourselves wide awake: neoliberalism" - Naomi Klein's analysis; more about neoliberalism from George Monbiot here

Autocracy: Rules for Survival

Perspective  [video] - Laniakean and proud..

Choose your history [video]

From 2012: "This social movement can’t achieve its goals if people think it’s essentially some kind of niceness revolution." This seems like an important point for the sewing blog world, which is so extremely nice.

A Wild Love for the World [audio] - and so many other fascinating and wonderful episodes of On Being; hours of heartening, deepening, and important conversation there

"The most fundamental part of a new plan is this: do not do the same damn thing all over again and expect different results" - from a writer who saw this coming and still somehow didn't expect it

For those of us not in the US, let's not to be too distracted from what our own governments are doing

Long watch from way back in 1992: Manufacturing Consent [video] (short extract here about how the media frame and limit debate, and the relationship between media and advertisers)

A favourite guided meditation: may all beings awaken, and be free [audio]

And the background of the term "care package", which I knew nothing about until today

p.s. A few of these links are from The Guardian, and you might notice them asking you to donate money to the newspaper. As much as I like some of their writers, The Guardian isn't always the progressive force it should be, and it's awash with big-money advertising; if you've got money to spare there are media organisations that I consider more in need and deserving of donations (e.g. Morning Star, Democracy Now!) - not to mention plenty of charities and NGOs.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

internet clippings

Duolingo is a website full of free language courses, all set up in a way that makes learning fun and a bit addictive. (Jag talar svenska!)

If you've ever wondered what to do with all those strips you trim off your PDF sewing pattern pages: Moravian stars. And if you want to practice your Norwegian, these paper stars are nice too (the pictures make enough sense on their own).

The only thing better than doing a personality quiz is getting your partner to do one and then reading aloud the detailed description of exactly what is so annoying about them (I'm INFP, he's INTJ).

You can volunteer your time on all sorts of science and history research projects through Zooniverse. I've been identifying antelope on the Serengeti, without leaving home.

Chef Brendan McDermott is giving Pam Howard a run for her Favourite Craftsy Tutor title - and his class is free! Essential viewing if you cook and also value your fingers.

The innovative LSO Play website lets you get up very close and personal with the orchestra and conductors (of course it's no substitute for hearing them live at the Barbican, which you can do for just £10).

I've been enjoying the conversations between Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond on Dear Sugar Radio.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Fashion Revolution Day: who made your fabric?

As a sewer, the answer to the question, "who made my clothes?" can often be, "I did!" I'm a long way from having an entirely me-made wardrobe - not sure I'm even aiming for that - but I do really enjoy noticing that pretty much every load of laundry we do now includes at least one thing that I sewed. Who made my clothes? Not an underpaid, exploited worker in a dangerous factory somewhere: I made them myself.
If I stop there, though, at that feeling of pleasure [virtuousness? self-congratulation??] at being able to sew my own clothes, I think I'm missing the point of the question. Cutting and sewing fabric is just the final stage of making a garment. It's understandable that it's that stage that comes to mind today, because we're commemorating the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster that killed 1,133 (or more) people who were mostly garment workers. But there's a lot of work that goes into producing clothing before the cutting and sewing happens - starting with growing cotton (or flax, hemp, bamboo, nettles, pine trees, banana palms...) from seed, or raising sheep, goats, silk worms, or llamas, or maybe drilling for oil, through all sorts of processes (some much more complex/polluting/resource-hungry than others) just to make yarn, and then onto dyeing, knitting or weaving. People are involved at every step. Much has been done to make our home-sewn clothes before we ever pick up our scissors.

So instead of using Fashion Revolution Day as a celebration of home-sewing, a kind of fun warm-up to Me-Made May, maybe we could adapt the question so that it serves its intended purpose: to encourage us to think about people we often forget, who work to produce the goods that we buy. Who makes my fabric? Where are they? Are they working in safe conditions? Are they paid a fair wage for their labour? Can they unionise to defend their rights? Is their neighbourhood impacted positively or negatively by the production of the cloth (or the raw materials for it) that I buy?
With so much choice confronting us when we shop for fabric (or clothes), it's hard to keep sight of these issues. We all prefer not to ask uncomfortable questions, and instead we get caught up in the search for - or the thrill of finding - just the right shade of blue, the perfect drape, the ideal amount of stretch, the prettiest-ever print, and all at a good price... We don't actually believe that any of those things are more important than the safety and well-being of our fellow humans, but we're easily led to behave as if they are. I "need" some turquoise striped jersey - but not like the person picking the cotton needs a living wage and protection from deadly pesticides. We forget to think of it that way; the point of Fashion Revolution Day is to remind us.