Upcycling with Shorti J., the Cottoncandifro

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Shorti J.

Shorti J is an artist who expresses herself through photography and fashion. She recently went viral on TikTok and Instagram. A multifacedted creative, Short J challenges and inspires with her creative vision. 

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 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.


Insights from this episode:

  • Shorti J’s sewing story
  • How the alteration process of her clothes led her back to wholeness
  • How her healing is connected to her creativity
  • Insights into her writing and poetry
  • Insights into her creative vision
  • Being a muse in her photography
  • How she incorporates fashion and photography
  • Shorti J’s thrifting process


Quotes from the show:

  • “I lost a significant amount of weight, and since I can’t replace all my clothes, I’m gonna learn how to fix them until I gain the weight back, and it just went from there” —Shorti J. in “Stitch Please”
  • “It’s such a beautiful story the way that you talk about your healing being attached to your creativity” —Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “Art has always been one of my outlets, like I used to write poetry heavily” —Shorti J. in “Stitch Please”
  • “There are so many times in our lives where it seems as though we really do have to remind ourselves that we have the potential to create and make the things that we need” —Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “I’ve always been the main subject within my photography mainly because I’ve always wanted to model” —Shorti J. in “Stitch Please”
  • “Fashion and photography go hand-in-hand” —Shorti J. in “Stitch Please”
  • “It’s one thing to have art speak to you, it’s another thing to listen and to know how to respond” —Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • On her thrifting process: “I only buy things that I am drawn to” —Shorti J. in “Stitch Please”


Stay Connected:

Lisa Woolfork

Instagram: Lisa Woolfork

Twitter: Lisa Woolfork


Shorti J.

Twitter: Shorti J

Instagram: Shorti J


This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.

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Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.