This week on Making Friends, we are very excited to introduce you to Abolaji Ogundele (@abolajiooo)!Abolaji is a super talented maker and sewist from Dallas, Texas, who works as a physical therapist by day, and in her off-hours finds time to create stylish new pieces for her handmade wardrobe. Her Instagram feed is a steady stream of dreamy, me-made and secondhand inspiration. Abolaji was kind enough to chat with us about using this time of social distancing to slow down, make at her own pace, and try to find “freedom in simplicity and joy in the mundane.” Today, Abolaji is taking over our Instagram Stories as she makes a Maywood Totepack, so be sure to follow along!
Where are you currently located?
I live in Dallas, Texas. I have a cute little one-bedroom apartment just on the edge of downtown. I have moved a lot; eight times in eight years to be exact. But I've been here just over a year recently, so I hope to be here awhile.
How do you (normally) spend your days?
Usually five, sometimes six days out of the week I’m working as a physical therapist at a major hospital here in Dallas. It’s not the most glamorous job. In fact, it’s very different from what I show on social media. But my job is very rewarding and challenging. When I get home, I usually take the time to decompress and exercise outside or at a local park. I try to reserve any extra time I have in the evenings to cook, sew, read a book, catch up with a friend, or stream a show or movie.
What project(s) are you currently working on, or hope to work on, in the coming weeks?I’m currently between projects. I’m coming down off of the high of making a button-up shirt made from this dreamy colorful print from Stonemountain Fabrics. When I’m on a high like this, I come up with so many ideas but struggle to put them to action. I do hope to make some simple tanks and shorts, like some Persephones, because they are missing in my wardrobe.
What does you creative practice mean to you during this period of social distancing?This socially distant time has given me the freedom to create at my own pace, in my own time. Although creating has always been at my pace, prior to the pandemic I was too hurried and a little too anxious about making. I had to create and be productive with my time. Now I’m way less hurried. If I don’t create or sew for a week or two, I’m fine. Then when I do, I come up with something great. I think that’s how my creative practice should always be.
What do you hope to nurture, build, or transform within yourself as a result of this experience?
I hope to show up more for myself. I hope to allow myself space to be, to live fully, and to experience all that I can with the people I can. I realized I have taken so much for granted, and I have been living parts of my life as if I’m watching a movie reel. So much has changed and people’s lives have been forever altered, but I’m taking it day by day. I’m learning there is freedom in simplicity and joy in the mundane.
My guilty pleasure right now is podcasts, especially This American Life and NPR’s Code Switch. I love hearing varied perspectives on life and culture from these podcasts and others like them. Besides podcasts, I restarted Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and have watched shows like Little Fires Everywhere and movies like Perks of Being A Wallflower, which I absolutely loved!
What are you reading, watching, and/or listening to these days?
Are there any resources, small businesses, or other creatives out there you’d like to send some virtual love to?I would love to shout out some ferociously talented Black women who inspire me daily by what they create and share: Afritina Coker (@aftritina) an amazing photographer, art director here in Dallas; Moriah Lynn in Chicago (@moriahlynnjo & @thingsblackbodiesdo) she does incredible self-portraits, photography, and is just an overall badass; and @hiaj who I recently started following on IG. Her work photography are breathtaking.
Small businesses giving me life lately are L. Greenwalt Jewelry (@l_greenwaltjewelry) with pieces to salivate over; Charlotte Stone Shoes (@charlottestoneshoes) whose shoes make me feel how I’ve always wanted to feel; and my favorite fabric store in all the world The Fabric Store NZ (@wearethefabricstore)
FOLLOW ALONG ON INSTAGRAM
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