When the Sew-Op closed our doors to the public last March, we didn't know we'd never again gather in our Crestwood home for Tuesday Group, Magic City Seams Jr, The March Quilts, QUARK, or any of the other programs the Sew-Op continues to offer virtually.
We knew we needed to keep spirits up in the neighborhood while also needing to stay in touch with members, so we applied for funding to create a lending library and member mailbox. Bib & Tucker Sew-Op received funding from the Alabama State Council on the Arts to visually represent our neighborhood footprint. We are thrilled with the results of this grant and want to tell you a little about the artist and woodworker who helped us achieve our vision.
Artist Erin LeAnn Mitchell was commissioned to create a modern interpretation of a barn quilt, which now lives at the site of our former brick and mortar. In creating her design, Mitchell incorporated the ethos of our longest-running program, the Sew-Op Quilters (informally known as "the Tuesday Group"), in her design: intergenerationality, diversity, transmission of skills, and tenacity.
Mitchell's relationship with quilting involves her use of textiles, stitching, and patterning to create large scale multimedia works on canvas. The long history of Black women quilters inspires her textured paintings that tell stories and protest injustice. You can learn more about Mitchell and see her work at www.erinleannworks.com
Bib & Tucker Sew-Op commissioned a local Crestwood craftsman, Samuel Fisher, to build a structure that would accommodate secure storage and a free library. The structure is meant to both act as a conduit for members who want to share supplies and patterns while also reminding the neighborhood of the Sew-Op’s existence as it waits out the pandemic.
A native to Birmingham, Samuel has been working wood for over a decade and recently moved back South from NYC to explore furniture craft in Alabama. Samuel is from a long line of textile artists, his great grandparents worked in the textile industry in East Lake at McCain Manufacturing and downtown Birmingham at Liberty Trousers. A graduate from Auburn University's Industrial Design program, Samuel has studied the “Art of Furniture Craft” in Alabama, Taiwan, New York City, and Pennsylvania. He is thrilled to be able to contribute to the neighborhood and craft education in Birmingham.
See more of Samuel’s work at sfwoodworker.com and Instagram @samuelfisherwoodworker
If you find yourself in the neighborhood, please feel free to peruse the lending library and take a book or leave a book. From time to time, we will also have sewing projects, mending kits, and other goodies available for free. If you'd like to become a member and receive additional perks and access to the Member Mailbox, please send an email to email@example.com.
We continue to cultivate skills for those who sew or want to sew and we'll see you down the road - in person! - when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, let these beautiful works of art serve as a little reminder that Bib & Tucker Sew-Op is here.
Evolution of a design...
Painting of the structure goes slowly (it's been a rainy, blustery spring, y'all!) but we did put a little quilty bling on one panel of the Member Mailbox + Lending Library. Which is your favorite iteration of the design?
Can't visit in person? Take a tiny virtual tour!
Bib & Tucker Sew-Op is a sewing co-op located at the convergence of Woodlawn, Crestwood North and Avondale.