This week on Making Friends, we are very excited to introduce you to Sienna Parfitt (@notaprimarycolor!)Sienna taught herself to sew in late 2014 because she decided to include sewing in her visual arts curriculum. Her students ate it up and it immediately consumed most of her own free time. After 9 years of teaching visual arts in a K-8 setting, Sienna joined the Seamwork team as the Content Producer in July of 2019. She now gets to talk sewing all the time!
Where are you currently located?
I live in Portland, OR. I moved here just over a year ago from the San Fransisco Bay Area, and I am so happy here! I’ve lived in five states across the country and Oregon might be my favorite. Springtime here is insanely beautiful.
How do you (normally) spend your days?My days bounce between filming and editing videos and writing video scripts. During quarantine, I’ve had to jump in front of the camera to keep up with video production, which has been a wild experience. I can teach a room of 35 kids, but I’m super uncomfortable on camera. When I’m not working, I’m hanging out with my dog, Otis, working on home improvement projects with my husband, and of course, sewing.
What does you creative practice look like these days in light of the pandemic, uprisings against police violence and racial injustice, and the general turbulence that has defined these last few months?My personal practice has been all over the place, but work has kind of forced me to keep making. That sounds bad, but I’m actually really grateful to have external motivation right now. I’m figuring out ways to incorporate social justice learning into my creative practice by joining virtual groups like Abolitionist Sewing Circle, and listening to podcasts and audio books while I’m making.
What project(s) are you currently working on, or hope to work on, in the coming weeks?
I recently downloaded several Elizabeth Suzann patterns through a small group of sewists on Instagram (unfortunately the Dropbox is no longer available) and plan to make an ES capsule wardrobe. I’ve made two Clyde jumpsuits so far and have been living in them.
I’m finding planning to be pretty soothing, so I recently went through my stash and paired fabric with patterns. You can see there’s a heavy emphasis on comfy pants and jumpsuits during this work-from-home time. I’m also trying to document my makes in this sketchbook.
Another project I’m working on isdesigning and building a big cutting table to replace this one. My woodworking skills are probably not ready for this project, but I’m going to try it anyway! It’s going to have lots of storage and be on casters!
What do you hope to nurture, build, or transform within yourself as a result of this experience?
My goal is to engage with local government through writing emails and letters, and making phone calls. I hope that actual change can begin at the local level. I’m also hoping to establish better work-from-home routines. I haven’t been exercising and I’m lucky if I can get dressed before noon.
Where are you finding joy these days?
Right before quarantine, we thankfully finished renovating my upstairs making space. I’m finding joy in organizing and figuring out how to best use my home studio.
Also this guy brings me a lot a joy.
Are there any resources, small businesses, or other creatives out there you’d like to send some virtual love to?
There are so many inspiring folks, but here’s a small round up:
@christijay revives clothing with plants.
@carolina___jimenez’s feed is full of beautiful woven textiles.
@a.la.reunion creates beautiful hand quilted pieces.
@soleebaby is a jeweler that has recently started painting and they’re so good!
@aisforavery is a multidisciplinary artist based out of my hometown Ann Arbor, MI. I always find her feed inspiring.
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