Saturday, January 30, 2010

Days 151 and 152 - new rules comments

When I first started the makeshift project I said that the only 'rule' I had was that I would make everything in my wardrobe including my shoes and that I was hoping to define the rules along the way based on public discussion and dialogue. There was quite a bit of discussion in the beginning and some rules were developed but then the discussion kind of petered off so in the last makeshift newsletter I asked for comments on developing some new rules. Here’s the request for feedback that was in the newsletter:

It's been a while since I've had any 'rules' feedback so I'd like to throw a couple out there to hear what you have to say about them.

I recently went by Zodiac to Gambier Island (see Day 122) and I was the only person in the boat not wearing a life-jacket. I was adamant about it but in retrospect it seems a bit dumb. For one thing, it was pretty stormy out that day and for another thing, the zodiac is a very fast moving vehicle with no 'seats' or 'handles'. So I would like to introduce the new rule of considering wearable safety gear to be a form of tool that could thus be excluded from the handmade list. What do you think about that?

Also, in the past month alone I've turned down offers to go snow-shoeing, skating, on a ski trip and cross-country skiing all because I'm not able to make the associated sporting equipment. What is your opinion about allowing for sports equipment to be excluded from the handmade list? I'll be honest, I'm going to a scuba-diving and snorkeling hotspot in a couple of weeks and I don't want to miss out.

I had a lot of email responses so I won’t post them all, but here are a few. (A complete list will be included in the next newsletter.) They are overwhelmingly in favour of excluding safety gear and sports equipment from the handmade list. Though almost everyone said yes to both, a few people said it was OK to "bend" or "break" my own rules. I found this interesting since a rule hadn't been established about it and the whole point was to create a rule. Only one person thought I should keep going the way I had been in order to work "with and beyond the real and perceived "limits". I enjoyed this comment because it was the only one suggesting I truly go all the way with the project. In the end, though, I opted to wear the snorkel gear in Mexico.

Hi Natalie,
regarding safety equipment-my 14 year old daughter said "if you don't use it, you could end up in a hospital gown you didn't make."
I've worn the same basic clothing in a zodiac and using an angle grinder, but I wouldn't give up goggles and ear protection or a lifejacket.
I admire your commitment to your project, but it shouldn't involve putting yourself at risk.
For sports equipment, it's still your project and you get to make up your own rules as you go along, as you said in the beginning. Sure, you can have a fulfilling life without doing some of those activities. If you are going to do them, you will need to 'wear' the equipment. Or is that 'use' the equipment?
It's your life, you get to decide, regardless of what other people think.

Safety gear and sporting equipment are fair game - we want you to be safe *and* have FUN!

Natalie, you have my permission to use ready made equipment . . .
equipment is not clothing or footwear. Safety vests, eyeglasses etc are
not what I think should be ignored. Carry on with your project, what a
joy to see your creations. Marnie, Victoria

... i say safety equipment is not clothing. it's important. wear the life jacket - and go diving and skiing.

Feedback on the rules: equipment is NOT apparel (despite what wikipedians may erroneously think).
Do not torture yourself out of misplaced semantics.
Life's too short to not have fun while you're proving a point!
Besides, if you opt out of all sports activities, by Spring you may be making everything again...1 size bigger!
have fun.
xxo W

My vote for the scuba-diving dilemma: I don't think the tools to do something need to be considered clothing. It's like an umbrella. But I'm glad you're being thorough about this -- it keeps the project pure.
bye for now,

I say sporting equipment is a tool not clothing. Certainly it looks like clothing in some cases, but as long as it has a sporting or safety purpose, it is a tool. No need to become a flabby hermit for Art. Love the project Nat!
Love Goo

too good to be true, wasn't it? i don't think you should be deprived of snorkeling...again, this might be a once-in-a lifetime and/or life-altering experience. whereas snowshoeing and skiing can be done fairly regularly here, snorkeling not-so-much. i think if you bend the rules for a unique once in a lifetime activity, then you need to make a piece inspired by said activity, to pay homage and to 'put it on the books'.

Hi Natalie,

... I think that you made an interesting decision in refusing to wear a life jacket - however dumb or risky it was. . .

Where did that decision come from?

In my mind, I imagine it came from a sense of conviction.

I think you should stick with your original rules.

Does this mean you don't wear a seat belt when you are in a motor vehicle?

I think your project is very exciting.

Working with and beyond the real and perceived "limits" is what it's about, is it not?

I would love to know your thoughts


I don't see any problem with renting/borrowing/using sports equipment. Keeping the project manageable while living a full life would seem (to me) to be a more useful goal than strictness or extremism.
Who needs more rules?
take care,


  1. It seems to me that equipment is not clothing and that is especially true when it comes to safety gear. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing the bathing suit you make for that snorkeling.

  2. I like your writing style. Nice blog.