Sketch to Stitch: NY Fashion Week with Sahara Clemons

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Lisa Woolfork

Lisa Woolfork is an associate professor of English specializing in African American literature and culture. Her teaching and research explore Black women writers, Black identity, trauma theory, and American slavery. She is the founder of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. She is also the host/producer of Stitch Please, a weekly audio podcast that centers on Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. In the summer of 2017, she actively resisted the white supremacist marches in her community, Charlottesville, Virginia. The city became a symbol of lethal resurging white supremacist violence. She remains active in a variety of university and community initiatives, including the Community Engaged Scholars program. She believes in the power of creative liberation.

Sahara Clemons

Sahara Clemons is a multimedia artist and designer born in Washington D.C and based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Clemons revels in the fluidity of artistic mediums and interweaves painting, textiles, and dance in her creative process. Her work explores the intersection of race and gender and provides commentary on the socio-political forces that shape identity. Her work has been shown at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Second Street Gallery, The Bridge Progressive Arts Institute, and McGuffey Art Center. Clemons is a YoungArts alumni and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Rhode Island School of Design.

Insights from this episode:

  • How to go from ‘sketch’ to ‘stitch’
  • The techniques behind textile manipulation
  • The importance of defining your purpose when doing creative work
  • Tips for overcoming your fear of making mistakes and taking chances
  • Being creative when you don’t have a lot of resources

Quotes from the show:

  • “I feel like I’m a very conceptual person when it comes to making, and I think it always starts off with the story. Mainly I think the core aspect of that is making it personal and authentic to my journey as not just an artist, but as a person.” – Sahara Clemons, Stitch Please, Episode #202 [05:53]
  • “I think too often we think about sewing or fashion and manufacturing, but that’s not all that you’re doing and this is one of the reasons I think that fashion is art. The same things that we see in art, or the things that go into making art, go into making the garments that we ultimately see.” – Lisa Woolfork, Stitch Please, Episode #202 [08:51]
  • “What I appreciate about fashion is that idea of community-building and bringing people into the clothing.” – Sahara Clemons, Stitch Please, Episode #202 [11:35]
  • “I wanted the collection to go through the transition of a person’s mindset when it comes to body exploration… knowing that it is a healing process rather than, ‘this is okay, my scars are okay.’ With all of society and you yourself, it’s hard to feel that way and it’s really challenging to go through that process, and that’s what I wanted to share. That it’s more about this healing and embracing a new perspective of yourself rather than an immediate dopamine rush of what it is, because it is hard sometimes to let go.” – Sahara Clemons, Stitch Please, Episode #202 [25:40]
  • “I paralleled [pearls] with this idea of feeling like your body is an antagonizing force. Seeing how you can turn that around and how that creates in yourself this beauty and thing you have to overcome with yourself is a powerful journey that ends up being very beautiful.” – Sahara Clemons, Stitch Please, Episode #202 [35:40]

Resources Mentioned:

This week’s episode is sponsored by AccuQuilt

Stay Connected:

YouTube: Black Women Stitch

Instagram: Black Women Stitch

Facebook: Stitch Please Podcast

Lisa Woolfork

Instagram: Lisa Woolfork

Twitter: Lisa Woolfork

Sahara Clemons

Website: Sahara Clemons

Instagram: sgcoriginals

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This episode was produced and managed by

 Podcast Laundry

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Sign up for the Black Women Stitch quarterly newsletter

Check out our merch here
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Stay Connected:
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Facebook: Stitch Please Podcast

Hosted by Robert Payne