Monday, October 27, 2014

At the Intersection of Two Worlds

Chance favors the connected mind.  
~ Steven Johnson

Sometimes the most original ideas come when a person makes a connection across two completely separate parts of her life.  

That's how I created my "How Much Fabric?" reference cards - I started with a question from my sewing life and applied methods and tools from my work life - and I ended up with something that no one else had ever done before.  

And I recently discovered someone else who made this type of connection - Dr. Karen Piegorsch.  Her work life is firmly rooted in ergonomics, a field that focuses on designing equipment to suit the human body.  And she has a passion for the visual arts.  

Well, weaving is a visual art and on a trip to Guatemala, she learned that backstrap weavers experience a lot of physical pain from weaving in the traditional, kneeling position.  And so, she set about designing a bench for (and with) them - a bench that would provide the physical support that they need for this particular art.  

She did such a good job, that she and her design won a number of awards!  

More importantly, she went about this in such a way that communities of backstrap weavers have been able to take ownership of the enterprise and to continue building these benches for themselves.  

And the plans are available, free of charge, online (here)!  So, guess who thought it would be cool to have a bench like this for herself...?  

I'll give you a hint - she writes a blog called "In Over My Head"   ;)

You guessed it!  

I went up on a website called ThumbTack and posted a "help wanted" ad for a woodworker to build this bench for me.  

And it turns out that there's even a role for me in this project!  

Yup - I'll make the cushion - the plans for the bench also detail all the components I will need and how to assemble it.  I think it's going to be a lot of fun to pick out the fabric and stitch this up!  :)

If you are interested in the bench and want more information, you can watch this video (click here).  

Wish me luck!

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