Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Feb 13th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Fabrica

ae_fabricAt the end of Pacific Avenue sits a DIY fashionista’s gathering place

Surrounded by used sewing machines, heaps of scrap fabric, spools of thread and buttons, Elaina Ramer instructs a visitor on how to mend the hem of her shirt in the middle of The Fabrica: a hole-in-the-wall sewing and textile arts workshop that opened in March of last year. Ramer, Ann Altstatt and Stefanie Wolf are the founders of The Fabrica, where locals can take sewing classes for free (though donations are welcome), and bring in sewing projects to work on, like a visitor in the early days—a man who wanted to sew a yurt, a portable, canvas-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by Mongolian nomads.

“It’s about the size of a small studio and definitely tall enough to stand up in,” says Ramer. “He was going to live in the yurt out in Corralitos and had yards and yards of heavy-weight canvas fabric, but he only had to sew straight lines. He came in for several weeks, twice a day every week, until he finished. Our space is limited, so he would sometimes stretch the canvas out into the courtyard to work there. He was very committed.”

This Do-It-Yourself nature of The Fabrica goes hand in hand with other non-profit stores next door. The Fabrica, the Bike Church, the Computer Kitchen, People Power, and Pedalers Express, are all located in the Santa Cruz Hub for Sustainable Living on the corner of Pacific Avenue and Spruce Street. The hub’s mission statement describes itself as “a resource center for DIY, human-scale technology and an advocate for livable, interconnected communities.” Projects within the hub support such messages as self-sufficiency and appropriate use of resources through their use of demonstrations, outreach, hands-on learning and educational opportunities.

ae_fabric2A cut above Do-It-Yourself at The Fabrica, a hub for seamstresses.On a visit to The Fabrica, Ramer is wearing a blouse in a slate grey color with cascading black lines and round smudges that are reminiscent of a Jackson Pollock painting. Ramer embodies the philosophy of The Fabrica in the way that she has made her own blouse. She twirls to show a black button at the back of her neck. “The fabric is cotton and had been a pair of parachute pants, which seemed to have been worn and washed a lot, so it's nice and soft,” she says. “I also made a matching pencil skirt.”

Visitors to The Fabrica can learn to make items similar to Ramer’s blouse by attending various classes that are all taught by volunteers. “Darn those Socks! With Damien,” invites visitors to “learn how to make a durable repair for knit items, like socks, using an easy needle-weaving technique.” “Introduction to Textiles with Patti,” asks the questions: “Have you wondered what the difference is between cotton and linen? Jacquard and sateen? Velvet and valour?” There is also “Sewing Machines 101 with the Fabrica Staff.” This “covers the basics of how of how to use a sewing machine: How it works, how to thread it, bobbins, tension, etc.”

Marie Wilkinson, who is certified by the Embroiderers Guild of America, leads the class, “Scrap Challenge,” where any projects ranging from pillows to clothes and beyond are made solely from scraps and other found materials available at The Fabrica. “When I retired, I didn’t want to just sit around with other old ladies and sew,” says Wilkinson. “I wanted to enjoy my craft with all types of people, regardless of their age and I am able to do that here.”

In addition to classes, The Fabrica also offers supervised open hours, complete with donated sewing machines and a wall full of recycled and scrap fabrics available for use. Open hours this summer are: Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 4 to 7 p.m.

The rent for the small, non-commercial space is paid every month out of the pockets of the three women, though donations from visitors do cover some of the cost. “Being able to pay rent without always taking money out of our own pockets would be great,” says Ramer. But, because this is the current situation, each woman has not quit her day job.

“Having people come in here and work on stuff together was an important part of how we envisioned this workshop,” says Ramer. “We liked the idea of sitting around sharing ideas, drinking tea and just working on our stuff, without the exchange of money being important. We believe having to pay for it would discourage people from coming, and we want the shop to be used.”

Though the main goal of The Fabrica seems to be to provide a relaxing, yet productive, organization, there is also a great appreciation for recycling and restoration that those who created it hope to instill into visitors. “People really take pride in wearing a shirt that they made for themselves,” Ramer says. “Making stuff with other people or teaching someone to do something, you’re not just accomplishing whatever is created, you’re also forming a relationship with people. I think it makes our community stronger. The time I’ve spent in this building, I’ve made really good friends. It’s important to not rely on money and taking resources from the environment. We want to show people that their ideas for some projects are not so out of reach.”


For more information about The Fabrica, visit facebook.com/thefabrica or stop by 703 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz.
Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by Ken Slosberg, September 28, 2011
I think this is fabulous!

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster