Monday, October 27, 2008


I've always felt a little bad that I didn't choose an education and career path that could save the planet. I did well in Math and Science in high school, but decided instead to go into theatre. In fact, when I interviewed for admission into Boston University's theatre conservatory program, the 2 men interviewing me looked at my grades and test scores and asked why someone so intelligent wanted to go into theatre. To this day, I don't know whether or not they were serious. I chose to make costumes partially because of a small but growing talent for it, but also because it presented a challenge that I couldn't always solve on the first attempt, unlike most of my other academic subjects. It was probably the first time I didn't just choose the easy path. Eventually, I did go to a college where I could double major in theatre design and physics, but before anyone gets impressed, remember that it's a physics degree from art school!

The point being that, for the most part, making costumes will do very little for the environment. Even though I use all my pencils down to stubs, and tape my larger scraps of paper back together to make patterns out of, by and large what I do does create a small but significant bit of waste (if anyone has use for small fabric scraps, speak up! They're just filling landfills). We also use electric lights and equipment with a fair amount of energy draw and though I wish it were othersiese, all of that nice hydroelectric power from Niarara Falls gets sent all the way to New York City, while or power comes from coal, nuclear, and other nastiness that makes the city of Niagara Falls smell like acid rain.

I had all but given up on my work having any sort of positive environmental impact until just a few days ago. Now that I'm working at a college, it's important to me to cultivate some student stitchers, both to get the show done and because the whole point of college is learning, and this is what they can learn from me. In that interest I've gathered up the students who have expressed interest in learning about costumes and am teaching them how to sew. Some have a little sewing experience when they come to me, but I have 2 right now who had never picked up a needle before I showed them how to thread one, knot, and begin sewing. I set up one of these girls with a series of buttons to sew. After a few questions and approval of the first button sewn, I left her to them and returned to my work. After a little while she got a call on her cell phone. I heard her tell her friend that she was busy sewing buttons and then state, "I guess now when the button comes off one of my shirts I won't have to throw it out."

Score one for the planet!

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