Project Nunway 6

Project Nunway: 666 Heretics of Fashion
November 15th, 7pm
SOMArts Gallery, 934 Brannan Street x 9th, San Francisco

Partnered with Sister Mary Ralph again for Nunway this year.





Photos: Jules Cisek, Popmonkey Photo




Photos: Sam Nordemann

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence® is a leading-edge Order of queer nuns. Since their first appearance in San Francisco on Easter Sunday, 1979, the Sisters have devoted ourselves to community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment. They believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty and we use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.

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Religion Kitchen

Happy New Year! Marilyn is re-starting the Religion Kitchen. The Religion Kitchen is a group that practices creating religion by incorporating your creative and spiritual practices together. It is geared towards people who have an existing creative practice. (Religion is defined as a shared belief system that provides guidance for living and tools to keep one’s values and actions aligned).

Email Marilyn for details about meeting dates/times.

739 Bryant Street (between 5th and 6th)


Apply to join.

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DIY and Locally-Made Trends: Makers Sparking Economic Change

Making things has become popular again. Technology has brought new tools to enable this.

New DIY websites and apps pop up every day. Etsy has over one million artisan sellers who generated nearly a billion dollars in revenue last year. New ways to access capital such as Quirky and Kickstarter are available. Events such as the Maker Faire provide opportunities for Makers to celebrate, showcase, and share ideas. Hundreds of thousands of people attend Maker Faire all over the world.

Making not only empowers one with skills and shifts one’s perspective of the world to one of potential and opportunity, it can enable a more constructive trajectory for our economy. The Maker Movement, started in the past decade, encourages people to create, build, design, tinker, modify, hack, invent, or basically to make something. Combined with larger economic trends, this has resulted in new entrepreneurs, businesses, and products.

Starting a new venture is inherently risky. However, as the attractiveness of other options diminishes, so does the risk in starting something new. High domestic unemployment, increasing costs of labor abroad, increasing costs of materials all contribute to encouraging Makers domestically.

Locals now producing goods we used to import

As our country progresses on it’s path towards becoming a post-industrial, post-imperial power, it is only natural that import replacement will arise to counter our trade imbalance. Import replacement is the process by which locals produce a good that was previously imported. For example, if we were to produce locally made bicycles to replace imported ones, this is how it might happen. It would start by people learning how to repair bicycles. Then businesses would start producing popular parts needed in bicycle repair. Eventually businesses would produce whole bicycles.

This change can cause a chain reaction, impacting not only the bicycle industry. For example, the shop producing popular bicycle parts for repair may also be able to produce parts for other products. Import replacement of one product may stimulate import-replacement of other products. The result? Increased diversification in the economy.1

With the cost of labor increasing abroad, places of production are beginning to shift. After decades of apparel manufacturing moving south to Mexico and then West to Asia, the trend is reversing. Apparel manufacturers are rebuilding domestic manufacturing infrastructure and training a new labor force.2

Roots of invention are found in aesthetic curiosity

This environment is particularly conducive to constructive evolution of our economy. Cyril Stanley Smith, emeritus professor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, points out that successful economic development has to be open-ended rather than goal-oriented and has to evolve — unforeseeable problems arise and need to be met with improvisational problem-solving.

He also notes that historically, necessity has not been the mother of invention; rather, necessity opportunistically picks up invention and improvises improvements on it and new uses for it, but the roots of invention are to be found elsewhere, in motives like curiosity, especially aesthetic curiosity. Metallurgy itself, he reminds us, began with hammering copper into necklace beads and other ornaments long before useful knives and weapons were made of copper or bronze.3

Valuing and encouraging creativity, equipping Makers with tools to produce and start businesses, and purchasing locally-made products, will encourage constructive economic development. Let’s build a better world together.

1. Jacobs, Jane, Cities and the Wealth of Nations: Principles of Economic Life, Vintage Books, 1984.
2. 2013 Sept 29, NY Times Article
3. Smith, Cyril Stanley, “Aesthetic Curiosity – The Root of Invention,” New York Times, August 24 1975.

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Creation vs Consumption

The holidays are coming up. They are often celebrated by shopping, an annual ritual of the consumer belief system in which who we are is defined by what we consume.

What is the consumer belief system? Unlike traditional belief systems which are intended to be guides for living, the consumer belief system is meant to support industrialization by encouraging the consumption of products. Industrialization is the shift towards an economy of mass-production, distribution, and consumption facilitated by centrally-controlled large organizations. Because mass-production results in more products than people actually need, advertising and marketing becomes crucial to the process. Consumers need to be made to want the products that are produced. It is the advertising and marketing industries that have spear-headed the development of the consumer belief system.

In recent years there have been some who, in reaction to consuming, choose to celebrate by not consuming – for example by celebrating Buy Nothing Day on the day after Thanksgiving in lieu of Black Friday. While this is a noble effort, it still focuses on the consumer belief system. I believe that it is stronger to define your self in the affirmative, therefore I promote the practice of creation. Practicing creation empowers one with skills and shifts one’s perspective of the world to one of potential and opportunity.

I have taught many people how to sew over the years. The first session in the beginning sewing class the students learned how to thread their sewing machine and do some basic stitches. Initially I viewed this as an unexciting class to learn technical aspects of sewing. I quickly discovered that it was life-changing few hours for my students. The homework from the first class was to make a square, either a pin cushion or a fabric weight. At the second class, students always made some of both. They were so excited to be able to sew something, that they were eager to make things even if they were just squares. One student excitedly shared a story about one of her favorite pillows. It was getting old and worn out. For months she had not been looking forward to the day when she would have to throw the pillow out. After the first class she returned home and instead of seeing all the thread-bare spots on the pillow she saw all the parts that were still good and started thinking about the things she could make from the good parts. This is what I call seeing life with a perspective of potential and opportunity.

It is also important to reclaim one’s creativity because products are not the only things to be industrialized – culture has been as well. Culture is the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, attitudes, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. Over the past few decades massive consolidation and corporatization of the media, entertainment, and art sectors has resulted in a decrease of avenues for expression. Only a small, elite portion of society is able to promote their self-serving structure and ideology on a mass-scale.

I believe that your thoughts create your world. If you are not intentional about your thoughts, then you are living in a world created by someone else. I believe that everyone can be creative. Like everything else creativity needs to be cultivated and practiced. It’s best to start with something simple: making cards, bookmarks, ornaments, wreaths, potpourri. I encourage everyone to practice some creativity this holiday season – to cultivate oneself as well as to create personal gifts for loved ones.

Remember, your thoughts create your world. Make your a beautiful one.

I have a monthly Collage party at SHARED (the shared work-space for creative people that I own). This month we have two sessions for people to cut and paste cards and bookmarks for the holidays. Tuesdays November 12 & 19, 6:30-9pm.

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Project Nunway 5

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc.
Project Nunway V: Dissident Futures
Sat, Nov 2 • YBCA Forum 7pm

I designed an outfit for Sister Mary Ralph for Nunway this year.

More Photos and Videos:
Facebook Album of the outfit for Sister Mary Ralph
SF Gate article
Nunway Part 1 (video)
Nunway Part 2 (video)

More info:

Part of YBCA’s Public Square

San Francisco’s preeminent Order of irreverently irreligious nuns returns to YBCA for a spectacular extravaganza of the haute-est couture. Project Nunway V: Dissident Futures brings the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s annual gala back to the place of its glorious birth in the grandest fashion, featuring mistresses of ceremonies Pandora Boxx, of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 2, and Sister Roma, the Grand Marshal of San Francisco Pride 2012. Bay Area funketeers, Planet Booty, will provide the soundtrack as the Sisters turn out their best sashay and shantay, bedecked in original high-fashion (and high-concept) looks created from recycled materials in collaboration with local designers. Futuristic fierceness is the new black this year, so bring your Big Brother because it will be a night of glamour, drama—and, of course, cocktails—that you won’t want to miss.

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Sew Good: Drop-In Sewing Class

Stuck on a sewing project? Want to learn how to use your sewing machine?

Sew Good is a drop-in sewing session at SHARED held by award-winning fashion designer, Marilyn Yu. Come learn how to sew or improve your skills.

All levels welcome. Instruction provided for FREE. Please bring your sewing tools and projects.

Wednesdays 6pm – 9:30pm.
Upcoming dates: March 13, 20, 27.
RSVP preferred to

SHARED @ 739 Bryant Street between 5th and 6th Streets, San Francisco

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Eva Doll Photos

For those making dolls at home: Here are photos of some dolls for your reference.

To download patterns: click here.

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Eva Doll Pattern Book

*Happy Holidays*

My gift to you this holiday season is the Eva Doll Pattern Book.

I really enjoy helping people get in touch with their creativity. As many of you know, I used to teach sewing classes. For those who want something easy to start off with, I’ve made the Eva Doll Pattern Book. I will be offering a Drop-In Sewing Workshop at the Shared space (once we open) for people to come by for some instruction or guidance on their sewing projects. Feel free to sign up on the mailing list for workshop details.

The Pattern Book comes with patterns and instructions for three styles of dolls: Mummy, Nun, and Heroine.

There are two sizes of patterns to be printed on two sizes of paper.
1) 8 1/2″ x 11″ (standard letter size) makes a 13 3/4″ doll.
2) 11″ x 17″ makes a 17″ doll.

8 1/2″ x 11″ Patterns
11″ x 17″ Patterns

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Halloween Book Festival Awards

Both My Books Won Awards at the Halloween Book Festival

The Halloween Book Festival is a competition honoring the best and scariest work of the holiday season. The festival will be held October 29-30, 2012 as part of the 2012 Aliens to Zombies Convention in Hollywood, CA at the W Hotel.

“Relations That Suck: The Story of Eva and Dries” won the award for the Fantasy category. “La Femme Fatale” won the Runner-Up place in Fantasy.

The Halloween Book Festival is produced by JM Northern Media LLC a company focused on media and the people who make it. Founded in 1999, JM Northern Media produce annual events and report on the people who are making things happen in the world of digital media and beyond. In addition to their stand-alone productions, they co-sponsor educational events in conjunction with CMJ, 2NMC, MusicFest NW, Harvard Law and many other well-known institutions. Other projects include The DIY Convention: Do It Yourself in Film, Music & Books, The DIY Music Festival, The DIY Film Festival, The DIY Book Festival, The New York Book Festival, The Hollywood Book Festival,, The, and

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An Exercise on Practicing Non-Attachment

Last month I wrote about the blind contour drawings of three objects that represented three things that made our life worthwhile/meaningful. We then used the drawings for an exercise on letting go. Not everyone gave up all their drawings. There were many different reactions to the exercise. In general, people found that it was easier than they thought it would be.

Here are the steps so you can try it on your own:

  1. Identify three things that made your life worthwhile/meaningful.
  2. Analyze what these three things mean to you.
  3. Pick out three objects to represent these three things.
  4. Imagine you had to give one of these things up — that it would no longer be an active part of your life. Which of the three objects would you give up?
  5. When you have chosen one, move it away from you.
  6. Of the two remaining items, can you give up one more? Which one would it be?
  7. When you have chosen one, move it away from you.
  8. You have one item left. Can you give that one up too?

It is not important that you be able to give up all three objects. What is important is going through the process and learning about your relationship to these three things.

After the exercise, how do you feel about your three things? Have your feelings about/toward them changed? Has how you relate to them changed? Has what they mean to you changed?

This exercise is not just about learning to let go of the things most important to you, it is also about learning to let go of the fear of losing the things you love — learning to appreciate them without fear creeping into your relationship.

The Stoic philosopher Seneca said, “It is not the man who has little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.”

Let me know what you thought of the exercise when you did it.

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