HS: Both Sides of the Coin

SF > Bay Bridge > Oakland :: Youth > Holy Stitch! > Elders

We pride ourselves on being able to share our knowledge.  At the same time, we love learning new things.  It’s all part of the process isn’t it – to look behind and forward, down and above, to be a mirror and a prism for whatever might flash into and influence our lives, decisions, and passions.

In watching Julian teach and direct Fellowship Apprentices (currently Hiul, Caloy, Chanel, Iggy, and Marty) I’ve developed a respect for the mentor-mentee relationship that he has with them.  Given a place to explore the patience of craft, ask questions and to test themselves in developing their own ideas, these kids are introduced to skills and knowledge traditionally not available in their schools.  And the reason why the dynamic works and is as fun as it is: we’re not that much older than them.  We see ourselves in these little upstarts and troublemakers, no doubt.  Now if only we could actually keep them out of trouble…

Julian & Caloy

Julian showing Caloy different cutting techniques

Roy advises Ryan on the nuances of the Union Special

So when Uncle Roy stopped through HS HQ to help set up our newest acquisition (a keyhole machine!) and retune our chainstitch workhorse, it was extra interesting, amusing, and humbling to witness Julian, Ryan, and Jakob defer to this elder master of technique; that respect could be seen in the body language alone.  Uncharacteristically polite (ha!), everyone took turns inquiring inquiring inquiring, picking away and soaking everything he said, watching how he worked, how he tuned the machine to work with everything from lightweight to monster 22oz denim.  In a weird way, it was like watching a computer scientist debug code.  Technician indeed…

Denim tests

Testing & Debugging

Roy setting examples, dropping knowledge

Sean advising Julian on branding, color combos, and the use of the HS! logo

Our moral:  There is always someone bigger, better, faster, older, more experienced, more knowledgable, more serious than you.  And likewise, the opposite.  Know your role and do what it takes to benefit the entire chain, the entire… thread.  And we’ll all be better for it.

We at Holy Stitch! sit right in the middle of two distinct and exclusive groups that otherwise might never be connected.  The age difference between us and the kids, and between Roy/Kiya and us, is nearly identical – 10 years.  An entire decade, almost an entire generation, on either side.  The difference is so clear when you see us all next to each other [group picture pending].

As vessels of knowledge and insight, experience and wisdom, we represent both sides of a timeless coin of oral and academic tradition, and at any moment we should be ready to flip.

That’s what we mean when we speak of “a tribal support group”; how does a community grow but by feeding and nurturing itself, by planting and fostering its own seeds?  Social security…

Keep flipping that coin, keep planting that seed, and you’ll be surprised at what develops.

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