Monday, 9 May 2011

Sewing Blogs

This is in response to questions put forward by Tilly from the blog

“Online sewing circles – a leadership pattern to follow?

What does the online sewing community mean to you? Why do you participate?

I have only recently joined the online sewing community and started writing a blog.  Previous to this, it was difficult to connect to the internet, so I am very new to the game.  This is why I thought I would be slightly different to others who participate in following and writing blogs. 

I live in rural New Zealand and up until recently our internet access was a dial-up arrangement, which was extremely slow.  This made connecting so slow as to be not worth pursuing.  This may seem that I live in a very isolated community and to some I suppose I do.  We are unable to get cell phone coverage here on the farm and recently when we had stormy weather, the power was out for three days and the phone was out for two weeks.  This contact, as part of an on-line community, has made it possible to participate no matter where I live and what my individual circumstances might be.

I enjoy reading and I have been able to find and follow selected blogs that I find informative.  I decided to write a blog as a creative outlet to document what interests me; sewing and collecting.  I class this as more than just a hobby, but as a means of winding down and relaxing.  I am able to express myself and at the same time I have learnt how to navigate the blogosphere to create a blog of my own.  I don’t class myself as particularly computer savvy, but I have taught myself an enormous amount in a very short time to get this blog up and running.  
I have been able to use the examples of others to inspire and motivate myself to sew and refashion garments, which I will wear on a daily basis.  The feedback and encouragement from others makes the whole process fun. 

What are your favourite examples of projects initiated by sewing bloggers that capture this spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation?

The current project to refashion dresses on the Refashion Co-op is an innovative approach to sewing.  This allows participants to find and adapt existing garments into their own creations.  Refashioning may fit in with people wanting to ‘turn their back on consumerism’ and participate in the DIY culture.  Or, in my case, just continue to do what I’ve done for years and to document evidence of the completed garments on a blog.  There is nothing new in this idea; the new aspect of it is in the on-line community. 

Who are the “leaders” in the sewing blogosphere? Is everyone / can anyone be a leader?

Leaders may not be the correct term to use for the driving force that initiates the online sewing network.  It appears to me that the network is self-driven and the blogs document an individual’s journey.  There are basic rules to follow, but the decision making comes down to the individual contributors. 

Are you involved in any other network of makers, whether online or offline? What makes sewing blogs unique?

I was previously involved in a patchwork and quilting group that met every fortnight.  I participated in this club for approximately ten years, until I decided that it was becoming too expensive a hobby to continue with.  I certainly did learn a lot of skills and techniques that I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to learn. 

Sewing blogs may not necessarily be unique in any way, anyone can participate with no or little sewing experience; they are able to learn as they go.  I have had a lot of sewing experience, but not a lot of blogging experience and I can see many opportunities to learn from others.  The expert and novice approach is helpful within this network.

The ‘collaborative model of leadership’ in sewing blogs, doesn’t appear to stand out as being any different from any other on-line network.  Once a contributor logs on to any network they are driving the process forward with every decision they make.  Just by inquiring and participating, anyone can join this innovative culture.  The social aspect to any community reminds us that just by participating we have a valuable contribution to make that will benefit others.  This is where the feedback through comments personalises the experience and truly makes you feel part of a community.

1 comment:

  1. Grace, thank you so much for your thoughtful response! I agree with you that the network is self-driven - it's amazing what joint efforts are achieved without there being a "leader" in place. And you're right that this is true of many online networks. People I know who aren't part of any similar communities are always astounded when I tell them about the kinds of joint projects that the sewing circles get up to!