Category Archives: domestic

a month in the midwest

I’ve temporarily traded NYC for a month on the road – visiting friends and doing some mini-residencies to refine and develop a real wearable clothing line, the next step for the PowerSuits project.


Last week I took part in an art residency at Have Company in Grand Rapids and had a great time meeting all the amazing people of that town and getting to know the life of a store owner. I finished up a bunch of old projects that had been haunting me, hosted a romper-making workshop, and had an amazing photo-shoot with Carson Davis Brown — looking forward to the PowerSuit pics that come from that afternoon of fabric forts and metal mountains.



Now I’m in Yipsilanti, inhabiting my friend’s Juliet and Narooz’s lives by housesitting, hanging out with their cat Gingerale, and eating all the pickles in their fridge. I am so enjoying having the space to myself; it feels like playing ‘house’.


My goal for this residency is to create 4 rough drafts of pieces that I love and want to produce on a bigger scale as part of the PowerSuits line. To do that I’m creating at least 3 variations of each piece, 12 pieces total. The categories are: Jumpsuit, Blazer, Basic Dress, Basic Blouse. These are pieces for fantastic daily wear, uniforms for a magical and powerful life.

So far I have a bunch of starts — some very standard shirt and dress combos, some weird crazy costume pieces. I want to have the final pieces be a bit of both: totally wearable while also a bit weird and crazy. More pictures over the next few days.

Thanks for your ongoing support of all things PowerSuit y’all…. I’ve been very much in my head these last few months, but this summer is the summer of sewing. more making less thinking GO!

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work hard; spring is coming

Two weeks in and I’m already behind. As always I’ve taken on too many projects and committed to a million meetings — all of which are awesome and incredible and fun and or necessary and I can’t possibly say no. This weekend I had a chance to sit down and sew. I have two projects to show you today for the past two weeks of this project.

But in my head, I feel like I don’t have anything to show you. I have been making up a lot of stories as to why these two pieces “don’t count” or “aren’t good enough.” I want this project to be about making domestic, wearable garments, but I also want to create crazy outrageous non-functional costumes. These aren’t really outrageous or costume-y, one isn’t even completed, and the other is actually cheating because I didn’t make the whole thing from scratch.

OH BUT WAIT, I made up this game – and I didn’t even really make up all the rules yet. The only rule is work. This game is about producing instead of thinking, it’s about making things instead of making lists. These garments are two steps forward towards a clothing line, a coherent project, a next step, a clear vision. So here we go.


For these past two weeks, I created two everyday-wear garments responding to my very immediate environment and personal state of being. These pieces are about planning, preparations, utility, warmth, bundling up for the last bit of winter, dreaming of the adventures ahead, suiting up for times when I’ll be out making and doing and walking around in these costumes. Work hard now, spring is coming.

The first piece is a pair of overalls. I’m almost finished but need to sew in the snaps, and find the right hardware for the straps. The trickiest part was the side-openings, as I didn’t want to have a center fly. I am hoping when finished it’s the right combination of loose fitting for easy bending and moving, but tight enough to feel like it’s made just for me.


The second piece is a cozy cozy sweater for a cute-lumberjack. I took an old “dad” sweater with a big V neck and added a fleece collar, lined with fuzzy red plaid underneath. It is surprisingly very warm, and I’m excited to ride out the last bit of this winter wearing it.


The only rule is work. Keep working. Keep going. Stop thinking, just make.


p.s. yes, I make my patterns out of “Latino Firemen” posters from MFTA.

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FOR AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!

vanilla cake with cashew and honey sesame seed buns, black-bean (gluten free) chocolate cake meat patty (was good, probably would be better with a few recipe tweaks), pineapple cheese slices, berry relish, yogurt “mayonnaise” dressing. vegetables were only used for garnish.

this is my new july 4th tradition. an aliyabarbeque original.

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PowerWoman Breakfast

As a semi-culminating event of my Wassaic Project Residency, I hosted a PowerWoman Breakfast. A team of Powerful Women cooked pancakes for the Business Meeting while blasting a montage of business-related music. All in attendance wore a PowerSuit or a piece of the Wassaic Suit Collection, a limited edition series of wearable Business Blazers that combined nostalgia, business, and power into one costume.

All the suits and many of the materials were sourced from 8 Firehouse Road, a house which over the period of my Wassaic stay was going through a period of upheaval and starting over — cleaning out all the materials from it’s diseased resident, who happened to be a very classy small stature man who wore a great suit.

As I was gathering all these suits I realized that they were a bit of a love-letter to Wassaic. They held so many memories of this man I do not know and of the town he lived in. I also have been carrying around many items and pieces of my past filled with memories. I used the excuse that these were “art supplies” as a reason to keep them around. But like the family of 8 Firehouse Road, it was time to throw some shit out.

I combined the found items and my own collections into a series of wearable PowerSuits, imbued with power and nostalgia.

At the PowerWoman Breakfast Business Meeting we discussed power in relation to what we are wearing and how we take on different personae, and the world relates to us differently based on what we are wearing. We touched on topics of class and perceived wealth, and how that relates to how you are received or related to by the world. We talked about wearing make up and “grown up” clothing and how different employers have required different levels of “professionalism” at work. We talked about the differences in what is “business appropriate” for women versus men, and about the difference between wearing a suit and being one of the crowd – wearing what you think you should be wearing – versus wearing a suit and owning that power, and being your own person inside this “costume”. We talked about how we feel more comfortable in different costumes depending on our context, environment, and location.

Everyone spoke and the discussion was so real and vivid, with each person contributing a story or thought from their past. We had the Wassaic Project residents, staff, and local people from Amenia there, and it was lovely.

The pancakes were DELISH as well.

I’m so excited for where this project is going next! I envision multiple performances in multiple locations. One PowerWoman Breakfast in a diner with everyone wearing the same color suits. Another performance in a corporate Manhattan office with many ladies in suits busying around sewing and sorting and doing very important business related tasks. Another performance in a local hand-made tailor shop

Maybe all the performances feature a Corporate Breakfast? Maybe the commonality is just the suits, and the activity of the Meeting changes. Maybe each performance features a different set of suits, made specifically for and with materials sourced from that location.

As a Wassaic conclusion, I was really pleased with how the event turned out. It incorporated so much of what I had done there over my two months, and so much of the materials that I had brought and also found while there. I’m excited to be launching into the next phase of the PowerSuit project! in the city, in far away places, in your house, in mine, left & right, up & down!



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wassaic community passover 2012


Filled with friends old and new, with delicious foods, with ceremonies, singing, art, rocks, rituals.

quotes from participants:

“I was hesitant to come to the seder, based on my past experiences of Passover, but this was really great. I really loved being a part of this!”

“Thanks so much for facilitating Seder! I appreciated the social justice-y readings et. al. very much. Lovely all around.”

“Thank you for putting this all together. The Seder was a great experience!”

“Yeah, what what WILL make this year different from all other years?”

I CANNOT WAIT to keep updating the digital (powerpoint) haggadah and distribute it earlier next year for you all to use.

jeff washing his hands ceremonially for the whole table

dipping the karpas (also note classy cardboard matzo cover with gold pen embellishments)

no young children were in attendance at our seder (minus Gilvey, age 2 months), so we watched this cute girl on youtube sing the 4 Questions. And then added a fifth question — “How will (we make) this YEAR be different from all other years?”

do-di-li sung by the Milwaukee Children’s Choir (awesome).

breaking the middle matza for the afikomen

maggid — a Jewish Rock Opera

spilling a drop of wine for each of the ten commandments

the meal with Wassaic Farmer friends!

Handmade seder plate, made with much assistance and inspiration from Jeff and Breanne.

Ashley’s crazy Chocolate Matza Face Dance:

so good.

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walking performance: collaboration with Tiny Tim Riggins

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO VIEW THE STORY >>>>>> [View the story “walk with riggins” on Storify]

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