Studio Tissue 8 with Chris Cooper

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Host: Lisa Woolfork is an associate professor of African American Literature and Culture. Her teaching and research explore Black women writers, the fiction of Black identity, trauma theory, and American slavery. She is the convener and 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 became a founding member of Black Lives Matter Charlottesville. She remains active in a variety of university and community initiatives, including the College Fellows Program to reshape the undergraduate general education curriculum.

Guest: Chris Cooper is the owner of Studio Tissue8 and is a Master Seamstress with over 30 years of professional experience specializing in bridal/wedding gowns. Having started sewing for dolls, Chris has transcended all her fears and become a master seamstress and shares her gift of sewing through her store, Studio Tissue8, which offers various services, including its signature Valet Service for Alterations.

Insights from this episode:

  • Insights into Chris’ work
  • How Chris is sharing her gift of sewing with other people
  • Chris’ journey into sewing
  • How she came up with the name Studio Tissue8
  • Her journey running Studio Tissue8
  • Chris’ commitment to sharing her gift of sewing
  • How sewing allows her to think and process her problems
  • Chris’ fear of getting started on her journey and how she overcame it

Quotes from the show:

  • “I distinctly remember thinking that it was a gift [sewing] because it was never hard for me, it kinda just came to me” – Chris Cooper in “Stitch Please”
  • “It was gifted to you so you wanna offer that and amplify that so that other people can have the benefit from it, but also know how to do it themselves as well” – Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “There is something about that fabric in my hand, and the sound of the sewing machine that just puts me at total ease” – Chris Cooper in “Stitch Please”
  • “I don’t think ‘I can’t do’ it’s just that I have never done it before” – Chris Cooper in “Stitch Please”
  • “Something that I tend to think about fear is that sometimes your victory is on the other side of fear” – Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “You’re never gonna do anything that you wanna do unless you get yourself out of this fear thing” – Chris Cooper in “Stitch Please”
  • “Fear is what pushes you, fear is what makes you do things that are out of your comfort zone. If you don’t have fear, then maybe something is not right” – Chris Cooper in “Stitch Please”
  • “When I have fear, it sometimes helps me to get the additional information and to find possibility models” – Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”

Stay Connected:

Lisa Woolfork

Instagram: Lisa Woolfork

Twitter: Lisa Woolfork

Chris Cooper

Website: Studio Tissue8 

Instagram: ​​Studio Tissue8 

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[00:00:00] Lisa Wolfork: Hello, stitchers. Welcome to stitch, please. The official podcast of black women's stitch, the sewing group, where black lives matter. I'm your host Lisa woo Fort. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax.
[00:00:21] Lisa Wolfork: And get ready to get your stitch together. Hello everybody. And welcome to the stitch please, podcast. I am your host Lisa Wolf fork. And as I say every week, this is a very special episode because for this episode I am talking with. The one, the only Chris Cooper who, you know, how they say, say it with your chest when you're really proud of something, when you really know you are who you are, Chris Cooper today, folks is saying it with her chest.
[00:00:49] Lisa Wolfork: And if you were a Patreon supporter and why are you not, you totally should be hashtag paid black women. You would see that Chris Cooper. Is a master seamstress. And [00:01:00] I am not guessing I am affirming because she has told us this and it is right there on her shirt. So welcome Chris to the podcast. Thank you so much for being with us today.
[00:01:11] Chris Cooper: Hi, Lisa. Thank you so much for having me. I feel so honored. I watch you. And most of the time when I watch you, I'm in tears, so I can early see and hear what's going on, but thank you so much for having me on I'm. So honor.
[00:01:24] Lisa Wolfork: This is such exciting development for us. I am super, super glad to learn more about your work, to talk about studio tissue eight, to talk about Coutour sewing, fashion, designing all of the stuff that you do, all of the products and services that you offer.
[00:01:38] Lisa Wolfork: But I wanna begin at the beginning and for what I. See from your story is that you started at a very young age with almost like a mission driven sewing project. So can you talk about some of your, I was thinking specifically about the stack of naked dolls that you were given as a child to work on.
[00:01:56] Chris Cooper: That was the very beginning. Unbeknownst to me, I would be where I [00:02:00] am today, but my sister, who at the time worked for corporation and they had community groups and things of this nature. And she belonged to the women's group. I think it may have been called something else, but it was the women's group and they were this particular Christmas.
[00:02:14] Chris Cooper: They were charged with dressing doll babies, and taking them back to their community. So she brings these doll babies home. It's a box of doll babies. I think maybe it's 16. I wanna say, well, maybe not that many, maybe 10 or 12, but they're all neck time. My mother's raising four girls basically by herself.
[00:02:30] Chris Cooper: So here comes my sister with eight more or 12 more girls that eight clothing . And so my sister fabulous dresser, but knows nothing about dress making. None of us knew anything about sew. My grandmother had given my mother or sew machine that was in the closet. It was a Kenmore, it was in the closet. And I was like, well, I can't let the dogs just sit here.
[00:02:50] Chris Cooper: We gotta do something. And so I just started playing around with my mother's pillowcase I thought she was gonna throw me out the house. I was eight years old. That would've been [00:03:00] hard.
[00:03:00] Lisa Wolfork: That would've been very hard. That would've been very hard. It would've been very hard to become Chris Cooper, master seamstress.
[00:03:06] Lisa Wolfork: If your mama put you out at eight for cutting up her good pillow cases, but she did not find out. So we continue. So
[00:03:12] Chris Cooper: I kept trying and trying until I got something that looked close CLO for doll babies, and I did 'em all and my sister took 'em away, but I remember as I was doing. I remember saying to myself, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
[00:03:29] Chris Cooper: I mean, it was almost like that. Wow. And so then I proceeded to teach myself how to sew, messing up a lot of fabric. And there was a store, I think it was called gay Lord. At that time, it changed to many things, but I think it was called gay Lords. And they sold fabric and they had patterns. And then there was another store, downtown Wilmington called joy trim, where you could get shrimp.
[00:03:50] Chris Cooper: And I mean, they had everything, you name it. I think they sold everything but cars. Wow. And so between my mother's pillowcases and sheets and the store that was in our neighborhood and the store [00:04:00] downtown. I just taught myself to sew a little later on. Maybe when I was about 12, cuz I was in junior high school.
[00:04:06] Chris Cooper: There was a gentleman who lived in my neighborhood. His name was Joe broski. He graduated from Parson. I think he was originally from Pennsylvania, from Chester, but he lived in Wilmington. He found out about me. He took me under his wings. He became a mentor. And it's so funny because when he took me under his wings, he was embarking on a stage, play costume me for a stage play.
[00:04:29] Chris Cooper: Okay. He threw me right in, he was like, this is what you're going to do, do it. And I was like, I've not done this before. And everything that I've done up until this point has been for me, no one else has seen it. So, I mean, I learned on the fly. I really did. I learned on the fly. And so you were
[00:04:46] Lisa Wolfork: 12. Are you saying that when you were 12.
[00:04:50] Lisa Wolfork: You were working on costing a stage play. There was another interesting detail in your bio that I wanna hear more about. And I wanna hear if this was before or after [00:05:00] on your side, it says that you were like maybe in sixth grade or so that you took a formal sewing class and that you ended up knowing more than the teacher.
[00:05:07] Lisa Wolfork: Yes. And so I'm like, wait a minute. I'm like how. So sixth grader, no more than the teacher does about sewing. Was this after you started working with this designer or even beforehand,
[00:05:17] Chris Cooper: it was during, it kind of happened at the same time, but it was back when schools offered home economics and you had to do the whole circuit, the block cooking, sewing, clean, whatever else.
[00:05:28] Chris Cooper: Right. Sewing of course was my. Choice at that time, the teacher, she had just graduated. I don't even think they do this anymore, but she had just graduated from college and she was technically doing an internship. I think they named it something else back then. But she was doing an internship. Now I think about this.
[00:05:45] Chris Cooper: What are you 22 when you graduate from college? She comes to the city, goes to an all black school. Okay. So it's a white lady or black lady. She's white. Okay. She's 2122. And she's in this school, the school, it was called Burnett middle [00:06:00] school with had eight floors. Wow. Eight floors of African American kids.
[00:06:04] Chris Cooper: That's a huge school. Yes. They tore down last year, but she was frightened out of her mind. Oh my gosh. She could not see. Feet in front of one another. So, wow. I convinced my girlfriend to take this class with me with you go, she put the needle through her finger and quit, never came back. Oh, wow. And to this day she bothers me about
[00:06:26] Lisa Wolfork: it.
[00:06:26] Lisa Wolfork: Chris is trying to kill me. I thought we were friends, but she took me to this white lady house. She took me to this white lady classroom and I sat there and then the machine stabbed me and I. There's a very terrified white lady here who was supposed to be our teacher, but she's apparently also afraid of black people or black children.
[00:06:42] Lisa Wolfork: And I'm not getting a lot accomplished. So I'm out, but you stayed. How'd that go?
[00:06:48] Chris Cooper: I stayed and I made my skirt. I taught everybody else how to sew. Oh my. And she couldn't believe I made it. I know you will remember this. It was a rat skirt. It was Tangerine. And it had your
[00:06:58] Lisa Wolfork: two pockets and two. [00:07:00] Yeah. She was like,
[00:07:01] Chris Cooper: how did you know how to do this?
[00:07:02] Chris Cooper: And I was like, well, you know, first I believe it was a gift. And then I just honed in on it and she was like, oh my goodness. She was blown out of the water, but I ended up teaching Thele
[00:07:12] Lisa Wolfork: yeah, that's nonsense. It's what I like to call pedagogical MIS practice. And you know, of course you can laugh about it now because you survived it.
[00:07:21] Lisa Wolfork: Right. But what you're describing is not okay. It's not neutral. What she did was wrong.
[00:07:27] Chris Cooper: No, they should have never put her. They should have never put her there. They should have put her in a more balanced environment. I think if
[00:07:34] she's
[00:07:34] Lisa Wolfork: afraid of black people, she should teach no one. Well, this
[00:07:37] Chris Cooper: is true, but this was also in 1972.
[00:07:40] Lisa Wolfork: I don't care. I don't care. I don't care if it was 1962. I don't care if it was 1862. And we have histories of white teachers being terrified of black people in every single one of those eras. I mention. No, this is 1972. We had color television in good times. Just about to get kicking off. No, thank you. No, no, no.
[00:07:58] Lisa Wolfork: Ma'am, you're not gonna come [00:08:00] here and dangerous minds me. You're not gonna come here and do that white savior narrative in this classroom. No, ma yes. I'll teach us. I'll teach us. So you survive the sew in class and you end up teaching the sew in class and because your spark was lit so early, it just sounds to me like, because you were creating these doll outfits to give to other people to kind of brighten other kids' lives.
[00:08:23] Lisa Wolfork: I'm wondering if, when you said this is what I wanna do for the rest of my life. When you said those words, were you moved by the process of solving the problem of how do I make doll clothes? How do I make it look. Or were you like, I wanna make something look nice so I can make another child smile. Do you recall at all what you were motivated by, in terms of the actual sewing, can you able to go back and think that far it's kinda like both,
[00:08:49] Chris Cooper: but I distinctly remember thinking.
[00:08:52] Chris Cooper: That it was a gift because it was never hard for me. Yes. It just came to me like if I did something wrong, [00:09:00] the correct way just popped in my head and I never had to work at it. And even now I don't have to work at it. I just do it things. Yes. That I've never done before. I mean, I remember doing cushions for a boot and I'm like, why are these people asking to be doing all this crazy?
[00:09:15] Chris Cooper: They loved it. I mean, I just know, I just innately know how to do it for me because of that, which I call it gift. I feel like I need to share it. I feel like I can't hold onto it. I've got to share it. Yes. It's a little of both.
[00:09:29] Lisa Wolfork: Yeah. It was gifted to you. So you wanna offer that and amplify that so other people can have the benefit from it, but also know how to do it themselves as well.
[00:09:40] Lisa Wolfork: Gift that you have is a gift that you can help other people give themselves exactly by learning. Oh, I love that. I absolutely love that. So do you remember what the stage production was? What was the show and what were your responsibilities?
[00:09:54] Chris Cooper: It was at the Playhouse, which was then owned by the DuPont company and it was at the DuPont hotel [00:10:00] in Wilmington.
[00:10:01] Chris Cooper: And the play was by Bebe Kroger. And I wanna say it was called something about team. Okay. So don't remember the exact name of it, but if you know, Bebe Kroger, you know that she did a play in Wilmington Playhouse. Excellent. And I remember cutting out the dresses. They would probably Esther and they were what I would consider now, like a swing.
[00:10:25] Chris Cooper: Yes. It was a fitted Bodis and a Swain skirt. And I remember him handed me the pieces pattern paper. It was cut out in muzzling. Wow. That was the pattern. Yes. And the pieces were numbered and he was like, okay, you're gonna cut out five of these, five of these, five of these and five of these. He didn't gimme anything, but he gave me pair of scissors.
[00:10:45] Chris Cooper: Wow. And I was like, well, how am I gonna do this? And he was. Put the piece of Muslim pattern down and put your hand on it and cut around it. Wow. and that's what
[00:10:57] Lisa Wolfork: I did. Wow. That's [00:11:00] incredible. That is really awesome. I'm gonna take a quick pause here and y'all were gonna take a short break. And when we come back, we're gonna hear more from Chris.
[00:11:08] Lisa Wolfork: Thank you so much. September is national sewing month and the St please podcast is gonna celebrate that. Like we celebrate every episode by centering black women, girls and fems in sewing for September. However, we are gonna be talking with black women authors who are sewists. So tune in for the.
[00:11:30] Lisa Wolfork: September. And you will hear from writers like Bianca Springer, Hakeem, Leslie, we Olu Sola, Ruda Perkovich and more so listen out for September and we will help you get your stitch together.
[00:11:50] Lisa Wolfork: All right, everybody. We are back. I am talking today with Chris Cooper, master seamstress, and the owner prepares her of studio tissue eight. When she is [00:12:00] talking to us about her background and learning to sew in a very organic way. That feels almost like she wasn't. So much learning, but maybe remembering or practicing it because her sewing is a gift and her work is a gift that she wants to help other folks.
[00:12:18] Lisa Wolfork: So you said you would offer free classes at the public library. What made you turn to that as a form of. Reaching out to folks and helping folks learn how to sew more. When I
[00:12:30] Chris Cooper: relocated to DC in 2007, I knew no one here outside of my one girlfriend who lived in Maryland and really didn't have any connects in DC.
[00:12:40] Chris Cooper: And my son side of the family who lived in Virginia. So I was basically here really by myself. I mean, I packed up everything. I always knew I would move when my son graduated from college, but I didn't know where I sold everything. I had car everything and moved to DC, no job, no nothing, but I knew how to sell in the past.
[00:12:59] Chris Cooper: That [00:13:00] has always been my callback. So not knowing anybody. I was like, I gotta figure out a way to network and to start to meet people in this, that, and the other. I can only do that through someone. That's what I do. Yes. And so I was like, okay. So figure out a way to reach my community. This is a no brainer.
[00:13:19] Chris Cooper: This is what I'm thinking. This is a no brainer. Parents can drop their kids off at the library for two hours. Yes. When I started doing it, I said, okay, it's not working in my community. Let me try. Other community. And so I began doing that. I had a little bit of success in the beginning, but then eventually I guess people for whatever reason didn't come or whatever, where I would have one or two or something like that.
[00:13:43] Chris Cooper: But it was just also another form of me giving back. At some point I got to the point of it. Doesn't matter. I'm here. If they wanna come I'm here, this is my feedback. And I can't worry about what other people think or do. As long as I'm doing my part and that's [00:14:00] how I arrived on
[00:14:00] Lisa Wolfork: it. Oh, I love that so much because it's kind of like one of those things about like, if a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound right?
[00:14:09] Lisa Wolfork: I always thought, of course it makes a sound. How arrogant do you have to be? To think that. Just because I wasn't there to hear it. It has no sound that's nonsense. And so what you're describing is how you were so committed to sharing the gift of sewing that all you wanted to do is share it. You're sharing it, you're sharing it, you're sharing it.
[00:14:31] Lisa Wolfork: You're putting it out there. Whether somebody takes it or not, your task is complete. Your task was the sharing, right? You can't be on both sides. Exactly. You can't be like sharing it and worried about who's gonna get it and how they're gonna receive it. And will they come back? No, you're only responsible for one part of that equation.
[00:14:49] Lisa Wolfork: And so now that you're running studio tissue, a, can you talk about how that name come to you and what does that mean? If it means. Yeah, studio
[00:14:58] Chris Cooper: tissue eight came to me, my [00:15:00] son is a graphic designer and all of this kind of stuff. So I was like, what name should I use? And he was hitting a brick wall too. So I was like, okay.
[00:15:07] Chris Cooper: So let's think about what it is that I'm doing. Studio to me always means something is happening. Some type of art form, I think. And then tissue can be used in different ways. And French it fabric. Yes, that's right. You know, something in your hand fabric and then eight. I began sewing when I was
[00:15:26] Lisa Wolfork: eight. Oh my gosh.
[00:15:27] Lisa Wolfork: I think I've mentioned on this very short broadcast three times that you were eight years old when you started sewing and now I'm like studio tissue eight. I wonder where that came from. I have no idea. And then you say that it's like, oh wow. All the rubiks cube boxes click into place. oh, that's wonderful.
[00:15:43] Lisa Wolfork: And you know, I'm thinking about studio because I agree with you when I hear the. Studio. I think about art. Somehow art is happening, but I'm wondering too, cause studio can be both a noun and a verb. It feels like to me, right? Yeah. Like [00:16:00] the studio is the place, the box, the container where you have all your stuff, but it's also the processes that you are doing when you are in that space, that you are doing the work of the studio by designing and drawing and sketching and cutting.
[00:16:15] Lisa Wolfork: Sewing and UNS, sewing and reselling and shape all of those things. Can you talk a bit about when you were sharing the gift of sewing or sharing the practice of sewing? Do you see it as a noun or do you see it as a verb? Do you see it as something that is an art practice, an art form, a craft, a practice, like a philosophical or therapeutic practice.
[00:16:38] Lisa Wolfork: Like it can be so many. I wonder, which of those are the most important aspects for your own sewing? The idea of it as a noun or the idea of it as a verb? Wow. Lisa, it's
[00:16:50] Chris Cooper: all of those things for me. It really is. And I think most importantly, it's therapeutic. I love that. Yes. I'm a middle of a night. Soer.
[00:16:59] Chris Cooper: [00:17:00] Middle of the night early morning. I can't get crap done during the day. I just really can't like, I cannot focus because everybody's a awake everybody's up, everybody's moving around. And so during the day there's so many things happening, but in the middle of the night, it's quiet people say, how can you meditate when you're sewing?
[00:17:20] Chris Cooper: I don't need to keep still. That's right. I really don't to meditate, but there's something about that fabric in my hand. And the sound of the sewing machine just puts me at total ease. Listen, I solve a lot of problems in my head. When
[00:17:34] Lisa Wolfork: I'm sewing. When you sew, do you listen to music? Do you listen to podcasts?
[00:17:38] Lisa Wolfork: Do you like silence? What does the sewing vibe, what is your middle of the night? Sewing vibe? And I'll tell you about my,
[00:17:46] Chris Cooper: I have the same time. I usually listen to music. I came from a jazz family. Clifford brown is a relative of mine. Oh, wonderful. So I listen to jazz most of the time, if I'm really focused in and I really need to [00:18:00] figure something out, dead silent.
[00:18:02] Chris Cooper: Yay. But most of the time it's music, most of the time it's jazz. Every now. And then, then like, if I miss one of your podcast, I'll listen. If I miss something and I really need to watch it or listen to it, then I will. But it's rare.
[00:18:15] Lisa Wolfork: It's rare. It reminds me like your process. I am a late night person. I sometimes feel like I'm an omnivores of people that eat everything.
[00:18:23] Lisa Wolfork: Are you a night owl or an early bird? And I'm like, yes, Both because I wanna stay up late, but I also wanna get up early, cuz I don't like to miss things. And so it means that I'm often very exhausted, but I do remember I still have the routine that you described. I like to stay up late. I tend to go to bed way later than anybody should three 30 in the morning, whatever.
[00:18:45] Lisa Wolfork: It's not. Okay. I do not recommend, but you know what? I feel like I'm still stuck in the times when my kids were. There were always demands. There were always questions. There were always something that I needed to do. And if I wanted time to myself and I wanted the [00:19:00] house to be quiet, I had to wait until everybody went to bed.
[00:19:03] Lisa Wolfork: And now because my kids are grown and one is with us here, but working full time and the other one is at college. Just so essentially I have a quiet house. There's no need for me to wait until two o'clock in the morning to do anything. And yet here we are. And yet still like nobody is mama mama, like tapping me on the shoulder while I'm asleep to say, are you awake?
[00:19:26] Lisa Wolfork: No, one's doing that anymore. And so those habits are kind of hard to break. And I guess what I'm interested in is the way that sewing brings. Ease into your thinking process, right? That you can use this as a moment to say, you know what? I wanna figure this out and in order to do so, I'm going to work on this garment and I'm not gonna listen to anything that requires my attention.
[00:19:50] Lisa Wolfork: I am just going to focus on doing this sewing work. And then in the back of my head, this idea will also be percolating. Is that how it kind of works for you when you sit down? If you're like, [00:20:00] oh, I have this dilemma, or I'm unsure about how to approach this. Do you have an example? If you could share one about how sewing has.
[00:20:07] Lisa Wolfork: Then that type of process that allows you to think, or to process problems or ideas or concepts or things that have come to you during sewing. You only know
[00:20:17] Chris Cooper: these things, if you're a Soer or if you're an artist, and though it's all of those things. If there's something. I don't wanna say I can't do, but I say on the spot, I may not be able to figure it out on the spot.
[00:20:30] Chris Cooper: Yes. Normally what I do is I look at it and think about it every single day until I'm actually ready to work on it. Because at any given time, like now, now I have 20 gowns that I'm working on. They're all similar because they're from the same retailer. So they're all similar, but there's two that I just can't even imagine how to.
[00:20:53] Chris Cooper: I keep looking at 'em thinking, if I'm running outta time, I need to figure it out. So I'm going to, my focus is [00:21:00] getting everything else done. And these two that are left, I'm going to dedicate my time and my thought process to that, do a little bit of research and try to figure out how to accomplish. And like I said, I don't think I can't do it.
[00:21:13] Chris Cooper: You said I've never done
[00:21:14] Lisa Wolfork: it before. That is it. And you know what that reminds me of, we talked a little earlier. Y'all about fear and I would like to talk about fear. I'd like to talk about it the way that you talked about it. Can you shed some light on the story about how fear was something you had to recognize?
[00:21:33] Lisa Wolfork: and then work through and to come out on the other side, because something that I tend to think about fear is that sometimes your victory is on the other side of fear. And that's what your story seems to suggest. Can you talk a little bit about the fear that you had when you were first getting started or the fear that you had when you returned in 2007 and opened up the shop in 2008?
[00:21:54] Lisa Wolfork: How did fear in overcoming that? Because really it's not about the fear. It's about the overcoming that I find so [00:22:00] powerful. Can you share some of that story with. On
[00:22:02] Chris Cooper: the other side of every fear is victory. I've never been a fearful person moving to DC with no job, no nothing, no car, no nothing just in itself.
[00:22:13] Chris Cooper: It's fearful because it's the ever moving city. I mean, it's not New York, but it's very close. Like people are moving, people are moving. People seem to be very clickish here. I hate to say that because we always say women are clickish and this, that the other, but I'm telling you in DC. It's an absolute real thing.
[00:22:32] Lisa Wolfork: Congress is clicky as hell. If you think about it plea, I, I, Congress, not enough. So I, I forever reject these women are clicky. Women are backs stabbing. I'm like, have you met men?
[00:22:42] Chris Cooper: exactly. And how many of them have you met? But anyway, so coming to DC, having a storefront, and then that closing the fear of continuing my business was real.
[00:22:53] Chris Cooper: And it kept me really from doing what I wanted to do for at least a year. And then I just thought, [00:23:00] like, what is wrong with me? Like, what's happening to me. Mm-hmm, not other people. I did some song searching for me. And I was like, okay, you've never been fearful. I mean, you know, you give yourself to come to Jesus talk all the time, morning, noon and breakfast at night.
[00:23:15] Chris Cooper: And I was just like, okay, you're never gonna do anything that you wanna do. If you don't get out of this fear. And so I did, I just said, you know what, again, I'm here, I'm doing my part. Eventually people will come. And that is exactly what happened. Now. Granted, some other fears took the place of that
[00:23:34] Lisa Wolfork: fear.
[00:23:35] Lisa Wolfork: that's the thing about fear. Once you get over fun, that's like a dog on whatever the hormone that controls fear, it'll keep making. It will keep making new fears. Once you get rid of one, they'll just keep going, add a new one in,
[00:23:47] Chris Cooper: and I mean, I've had people tell me and therapists tell me that's normal fear is what pushes you.
[00:23:53] Chris Cooper: Fear is what makes you do things out of your comfort zone. If you don't have fear. Then maybe [00:24:00] something's not right, because you should fear something, but like you said, how you overcome it and how you get to that victory is what is the most important. So on the other side of that victory is now.
[00:24:12] Lisa Wolfork: Yes. Yes.
[00:24:14] Lisa Wolfork: I love your, now. I love your now. Oh my gosh.
[00:24:20] Chris Cooper: so one fear I have is growing old, growing older, I should say, and not seeing my grandkid. I feel confident that I will see them graduate from school. Yes. Graduate from college. But that's probably it. I'm not probably not gonna see a wedding or anything like that.
[00:24:36] Chris Cooper: And that is my biggest fear. So people say, well, then you're fear. You're afraid of diet. I'm not afraid of diet. I just wanna see my kids. You
[00:24:44] Lisa Wolfork: don't wanna, I don't wanna miss anything. You wanna stay up late and get up. Right. You're gonna use all your time, rubbing my eyes. Exactly, exactly. And here's the thing that I, to speaking about midlife and, and growing into that, I have to tell you the thing [00:25:00] that has helped me, which is something that might help all of us is black women.
[00:25:03] Lisa Wolfork: And there's. Two black women in particular that I absolutely love who are doing the midlife space for black women in their late forties, early fifties, sixties, like talking with us about menopause and about being fly and amazing at any age. And. Fighting against the ageism and all of these things. And that is Ohada Bernie Scott, and she runs the black girls guide to menopause, which is a podcast.
[00:25:30] Lisa Wolfork: She's got wonderful products and she's amazing. I love her. And then also my friend, we were in girl Scouts together, believe it or not. And now she is known on Instagram and elsewhere as yo fly auntie Kendra Lindsay. And she has a podcast, but she also does a lot of influencing in the beauty and hair makeup.
[00:25:49] Lisa Wolfork: Space and just saying, Hey, love your age. Beautiful at any age, not beautiful, despite your age or beautiful for your age. Beautiful is the beginning, [00:26:00] middle and end of all the sentences. And so I think when I have fear, it sometimes helps me to get additional information and to find possibility models. The reason I wanted to kind of talk about that or turn to that question with you is because where you are now is so thriving and wonderful.
[00:26:20] Lisa Wolfork: And I wonder if you look back and say, thank you, Chris Cooper from 2008. Thank you. For getting past that fear and working through that fear in 2009. Thank you for bringing me to this point. Do you ever pause when you're doing your meditation of sewing or other practices that you pause and thank yourself for what you've done so far?
[00:26:42] Lisa Wolfork: I don't
[00:26:43] Chris Cooper: actually. And here's the thing, first of all, thank you for sharing that information about the two young lady. I will get that information from. And definitely follow, cuz I firmly believe that if we all stick together, we can become better people, better ourselves, better women and so on. Yes. But when people talk [00:27:00] about me, like my girlfriends, when we go out and there's someone there that I've not met, they say, oh, this is my girlfriend, Chris.
[00:27:06] Chris Cooper: She's an amazing seams. STTR and I think it's in, you have to go say.
[00:27:10] Lisa Wolfork: Because it's true.
[00:27:11] Chris Cooper: It just feels weird. I don't want the spotlight to be on me kind of thing. I'm trying my best to get away from that. And there have, and most recently there's been moments where I've, you know, patted myself on the back and I've probably made one or two posts about, you should have a seamstress like me in your back pocket or those kinds of things, but I still shy away from it, but I know I'm beautifully made.
[00:27:37] Chris Cooper: Through God, and I know all this, and everybody should let you like shine. And I don't know
[00:27:43] Lisa Wolfork: you are letting it shine. You are letting it shine. I am looking at it right now. And again, Patreon people and those who will soon become Patreon people. You wanna see the shirt she's got on the way that it radiates with your hair and your eyes and all of it.
[00:27:59] Lisa Wolfork: It is [00:28:00] light. It is all light. The joy in your laughter. All of that is the best that we can hope for. I'm gonna ask you a question that I ask everybody, Chris, I'm gonna ask you, what would you say to our listeners? Cause the slogan of the stitch please podcast, which you might know is we will help you get your stitch together.
[00:28:18] Lisa Wolfork: What would you do? What would you offer? What advice do you have for our listeners to help them get their stitch together?
[00:28:25] Chris Cooper: Get your stitch together means a lot more than just sewing on the sewing machine. To me, it means as a human, but as a woman, get yourself together. That that's the way I take it. Get yourself together.
[00:28:38] Chris Cooper: Always talk about bit matters. And to me, that's the same thing as get your stitch together. When you walk out your door, are you fit? Is your stitch together? How do you present yourself? How do you show up? Everybody knows to show up differently than other races. That's not a
[00:28:55] Lisa Wolfork: secret. Oh gosh. Especially not here at black women.
[00:28:58] Lisa Wolfork: Stitch, what do you mean? What is this [00:29:00] racism? You mean? What are this? Do you speak? Is this Angela? Shirley Chisholm embroidery and this Angela Davis embroidery about racism. Like I don't understand. What do you mean black people are oppressed say more. That's
[00:29:11] Chris Cooper: how I view the, get your stitch together. To me, it means how are you going to show up to me?
[00:29:16] Chris Cooper: It's much more than a superficial thing. It's a holistic thing. Yeah. Your hair looks good. Your nails are done. Your makeup is on point, whatever you got the best stilettos on all of that it
[00:29:26] Lisa Wolfork: inside. Exactly. Because I don't have any of that. Right.
[00:29:31] Chris Cooper: Whatever's inside. That's the beauty in you? All of this other hair and stuff is just icing.
[00:29:35] Chris Cooper: Yes, it is icing. You sing on the Cape. So that's what get your stitch together. So get yourselves together. That's my advice. Get yourself together. Call me, I'll get your clothes together. And we got a deal.
[00:29:46] Lisa Wolfork: Love it. All right. And Chris, you know what, I've been working on doing bonuses for Patreon. And so after we're gonna end here right now, but y'all, I'm gonna ask Chris to tell.
[00:29:56] Lisa Wolfork: In the bonus section of the episode, to tell us about any type [00:30:00] of raggedy slash nightmare clients with alterations, because, you know, alt alters like hairdressers got stories four days. So if you wanna hear some more tea, you need to come to the bonus episode, which is for Patreon only. Chris, thank you so much for being with us today.
[00:30:16] Lisa Wolfork: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for having
[00:30:19] Chris Cooper: me again. I'm so honored and I just think that you are so amazing. So funny. I wanna be like you when I grow up.
[00:30:27] Lisa Wolfork: thank you so much for being with us today. This was awesome. You've been listening to the stitch, please podcast the official podcast of black women's stitch, the sewing group, where black lives matter.
[00:30:40] Lisa Wolfork: We appreciate you supporting us. By listening to the podcast. If you'd like to reach out to us with questions, you can contact us at black women's stitch, If you'd like to support us financially, you can do that by supporting us on Patreon, P a T R E O N. And you can find black women's stitch there in the Patreon directory.
[00:30:59] Lisa Wolfork: [00:31:00] And for as little as $2 a month, you can help support the project with things like editing transcripts and other things to strengthen the podcast. And finally, if financial support is not something you can do right now, you can really, really help the podcast by rating it and reviewing it. Anywhere you listen to podcasts that allows you to review them.
[00:31:20] Lisa Wolfork: So I know that not all podcast directories or services allow for reviews, but for those who do for those that have like a star rating, or just ask for a few comments, if you could share those comments and say nice things about us at the stitch please podcast that is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much.
[00:31:38] Lisa Wolfork: Come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

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.

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