Germination Corps. has partnered up with the elementary school in Bakersville, North Carolina. I am doing a workshop there for the 2nd and 3rd graders. The school wanted to have a backpack for each student to have to participate in the plant parade and Germination Corps. events. They have been germinating seeds this spring and we will transfer them to the plant backpacks as soon as they are ready.
Bakersville is also the home to a great manufacturing operation called Quality Plus Apparel that has been making things like limited edition Levi’s jeans and other Made in America heavy weight apparel runs. They have all the equipment and know how to take my designs and make a ton of plant backpacks for the elementary school project. Here are some photos of Lisa, of The Catalyst Collective, and me and the owners of Quality Plus making the test bags in their facility.
We took my patterns and some generously donated fabric from Glen Raven Technical Fabrics in Burnsville, NC to the folks at Quality Plus. The next day we walked in and they had three prototypes made from the pattern I had given them. We asked how fast they could make the bags and they said a week! They also said they would donate all the bags to the elemetery school for the project. WOW! That’s 120 plant backpacks! Thank You Quality Plus! That’s amazing.
These are the pattern flats
They even had a binding in a color combo that I would have used for my own work. Great minds think alike!
Placing a pocket on and basting. You can see they are set up for jean hemming and binding above.
Sewing the gusset on the bag. Quality Plus is sewing a shoulder bag pattern since we only have a week to get the 120 bags to the school. They would have loved to make the actual backpack, but my pattern was too complicated in the time frame we had. Still, this is very generous and nice of them to give back to the community they are imbedded in. I am so glad they are still making a go of it, although we talked a lot about the loss of manufacturing from cheaper overseas labor. A lot of the business that Quality Plus gets now is the job of fixing the products that come back from overseas markets to bring them up to standards for the US market. They still are the primary manufacturer of Levi’s brand jeans and produced the special edition pairs where Levi’s reproduced the first pair of Levi’s ever, that they found in a mine in California. Quality Plus made 501 pairs and they were sold for 501 dollars each.
Germination Corps. has been in Yancy County, North Carolina for 5 days and things are moving along at lightning speed here.
The gallery and studio is up and running at Green Plum Collaboratory in Spruce Pine. Stop in to see my work and make a plant backpack. I am there in the afternoons and the store hours are posted on the front door. Yesterday we had a number of community people come in, including a group of Montessori kids that looked around and investigated the plant backpack business.
Any one is welcome to come in and watch me working and is also invited to help make a plant backpack or two that will go in the big Dig In Yancy garden field day on Saturday the 11th of May. Also, Germination Corps. will be making bags at the Library in Burnsville, NC on the 11th from 10 to 1 p.m. You can meet us there and then follow us to Dig In!
One of the best things about Germination Corps is that it teaches kids and adults to learn to care for plants through the individual attachment that each has to their own plant backpack. It also creates community through the workshops and plant parades and walking garden events. This will be exciting to see happen in North Carolina, a smaller community than Philadelphia, but perhaps far more organized already. Keep spreading the word, people!
Two brothers with plant backpacks, Summer 2010
Green Plum Collaboratory Gallery will be hosting a solo show of Jessica’s work, plant backpacks and other creations from paper helmets to performance uniforms, from April 22-May 19 and produce numerous community participation events during the residency. Events will be held in several locations in both counties, with a significant focus on the Dig In Yancey community garden.
You can check the gallery blog here for updates http://www.greenplumcollaboratory.com/
Green Plum is located at 130 Oak Avenue, Spruce Pine, NC
Plant Backpacks Coming this May to Yancy County, North Carolina and the Penland area!
Germination Corps. is an engagement art project I conceived of and started at a residency in Philadelphia at The Philadelphia Art Hotel, in the summer of 2010. It takes the idea of our nomadic existence and examines humans’ relationship with caring for the plants we eat and live with. I developed Plant Backpacks to solve problems of the urban neighborhood of Kensington, Philadelphia, an area with much brown space.
It teaches kids and adults to care for a plant much like caring for an egg or a sack of flour as if it were a baby in home-ec class. This mobile garden will grow this summer as I make plant backpacks with the community of rural North Carolina. Stay tuned to see how this project adapts itself to a rural and close-knit environment.