Pro-bono projects – and Morocco…

This news story was originally posted in early March 2017 on my previous website. I am reposting it here for posterity and public record : )

The absence of blog posts is an indication of just how busy I have been over the last few months.  

First of all, I want to announce that I am pausing hat production for the rest of March.  I am joining a small band of intrepid travelers on a three week tour of Morocco. Our guide, Doug Baum, is renowned both for his camel tours of Egypt, India, Jordan and Morocco, as well as camel treks in the SW US. He is as the owner / operator of the US Army Camel Experimentestablished to educate the public on the historic use of camels in America in the 19th century.  Brace yourselves for an onslaught of blog notes and photos upon my return …

In January I delivered a dozen handmade caps to a Vendor Appreciation event for Real Change News.  I challenged myself in November and December to make these caps as part of my annual philanthropic efforts. Real Change is an advocacy group working towards ending homelessness and poverty in the Pacific NW.  This project was so much fun that I hope to make it a new annual giving tradition.

Late last year I was approached by The Underground Railway Theater, a theater group in Cambridge, who were looking for hats for a play titled “Homebody Kabul”. They provided me with some off-the shelf imports and asked me to rework them so they would look handmade and echo the descriptions from their script. It was an interesting process, turning imported hats into stage props… My Homebody Kabul album on Facebook shows the original hat in the comments section for each makeover, and included quotes from the play in selected photos.  I donated three of the hats to keep them within their allotted budget.

“…Several months ago I was feeling low and decided to throw a party and a party needs festive hats. So I took the tube to where there are shops full of merchandise from exotic locales, wonderful things made by people believe as I do not…whose grandparents believed in magic, believed that some combination of piety, joy, ecstasy, industry, brought to bear on the proper raw materials…” 

from “Homebody Kabul” – a play by Tony Kushner.

My next project was the Women’s Marches in Seattle, Sacramento, Olympia and Washington DC. After trying to knit a hat, I turned to my “linen closet” and produced hats with a hand stamped design and ears in two variants. I randomly selected 10 men and women, and gifted them with a custom made hat for them to wear, as well as one to give away that was patterned after the knit version. The results of that project are captured in The Art of the March.

These hats became so popular that I added them to my Custom Catalog, in a variety of colors and cuff treatments, with 50% of the purchase price benefitting Planned Parenthood.   I have sold about 20 so far.  If you would like to order one, they will be available again after April 5.

The black and pink hat shown here is the one I wore in the Seattle March, and has been accepted as part of the permanent collection at the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario, just as soon as I can get it shipped.

I am now working on a hat for the Science Marches that will be occurring on April 22.  I am still working on the prototype, which will be made of linen in your choice of color, with an atom embroidered on the top, and a DNA strand handstamped to the sides. The cost will be about $65, and I plan to donate about 20% of the purchase price to an organization working to support women in the sciences.  The leading candidate is the Scientista Foundation, although I am also collecting other suggestions.  If you are interested in ordering this hat, I am not collecting money right now, but do give me your name, head size and color preference.  Ears are optional and at no additional charge.  

I am now off to finish hat orders and attend to a list of logistics for my upcoming trip.  See you when I get back!

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