statement given by Carole Frances Lung
Carole Frances Lung biographer of Frau Fiber states “Frau Fiber is currently unavailable for interviews, so she asked me to speak for her.”
Reporter: Your work is rooted in the history of undervalued women workers, specifically textile workers. What inspired you to explore this subject?
FF RESPONSE as spoken by CFL: This work is inspired by her experience working in the apparel industry in Apolda Germany – in a knit wear factory. Apolda germany during the communist times, was the leader in knit wear garment production – When the Berlin wall fell, Frau Fiber became like many factory workers one of the lost Generation – of unified Germans who found themselves unemployed. She pieced together a life of mending, altering, and teaching at the local schools. IN 2006, she met me Carole Frances Lung, and we became fast friends. We have a similar background, I too worked in the apparel industry and lost my job, do to a down turn in sales after Sept. 11. I invited FF to come to the US, and take up organizing and gifting her skills.
Reporter: What is your objective?
FF RESPONSE as spoken by CFL: Frau Fiber’s objective is multi layered: first Sewing Rebellion teaching people how to mend, remake and alter their garments – increasing the life of the garment, so it doesn’t end up in the land fills so quickly, and I also see this as a way to respect the labor of the original garment.
Secondly – in her work like the KO Enterprise – performance’s of labor, it’s about making the labor behind the label transparent, so people have some idea how, where and under what conditions garments are made.
Finally, with the Made in Haiti Project – it’s about creating garment jobs, where they have been displaced by shifts in garment manufacturing, or because of the surplus of used American goods. Frau Fiber has stepped back from Made in Haiti, and handed off to CF Bazile, a social entrepeneur who has stronger capitalistic skills. Although she is still involved as advisor.
REPORTER: As I understand it, your presentation at MCA will have something to do with the politics of mending. Is that accurate, and where will you go with that?
FF RESPONSE as spoken by CFL: Yes the politics of mending – or rather mending as a political act – similar to choosing to ride a bike, take public transportation so as not to use fossil fuels – if you mend your garments – this is inspired by HDT – Walden – chapter on Economy – No man ever stood the lower in my estimation for having a patch in his clothes; yet I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience. Frau Fiber promote – making the mends decorative –so they stand out and are embellished. It’s no about hiding the work
REPORTER: What is the significant in bringing a group of women together to mend?
FF RESPONSE as spoken by CFL: this is in the tradition of quilting circles, and during the DDR times, Frau Fiber held sewing circles in her home, and this was a time to talk politics, and to the Stazi, it looked like it was just a group of women getting together to sew.
Typically there are men involved – and even though this is a feminist event, feminism as I understand is broader than the female gender
REPORTER: What do you hope participants will gain from this workshop?
FF RESPONSE as spoken by CFL: FF hopes they will find pleasure in mending, so they continue to do it. This is not your grandmothers sewing circle, FF hopes you will find ways to subvert the meanings of garments through mending.
REPORTER: Do you think the current DIY/crafting trend is a response to some of the issues you bring up? Is it a good thing? Will it last?
FF RESPONSE as stated by CFL: First off – how do you define DIY / Crafting. FF understanding is that DIY/Craft culture has become another nich commodity. Yes it’s made in USA, locally, by hand or with the help of machines, but truly it is small-scale manufacturing for profit. It doesn’t do anything to change the value of garment and textile production, actually participate in it, with the purchasing of fabrics, and notions. FF is interested in acts of generosity, skills sharing, community building, and honoring garment workers with out a participating economical exchange. There will always be people who make – sew, weld, build, whether it’s a trend or not. In a utopic world, it would be wonderful if people would spend more of their leisure time making, and doing for themselves, and less time in the mall. Frau Fiber doens’t see that happening in the near future, but she perseveres.