Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Michael Swaine SF Sewing Guru

I think every city should have a Michael Swaine. This fellow sets up his sewing cart (a real sewmobile -- how cool is that!) and mends stuff for free! Michael, who is a performance artist, began his project originally called Reap What You Sew, and now titled The Free Mending Library in 2001.

Swaine, who sews on an old treadle machine, is available to repair those jeans or re-sew that sleeve from noon to six on the 15th of every month at luggage store Cohen Alley in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. The neighborhood, once a harbinger of decline, has attracted artists like Swaine to do what they can to connect with the community. You can watch him in action over on YouTube or Spark.

Swaine studied ceramics in college and rescued his sewing machine from the garbage. According to an interview he gave in 2008 to Bonnie Alter for Treehugger, he has learned many mending techniques from the people who he meets on the street. He has even taken his show across the pond to jolly ol' London, England. Well, I think you are swell, Swaine! Keep doing what you do!

Wouldn't this be a fantastic project for Portland? Someone (not me!) should start it!

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