Introducing EBRPL’s latest digital resource, Creativebug!
With Creativebug, you have access to over a thousand video classes on how to do everything from knitting to party planning. There’s even a section just for kids!
Stuck in an artistic rut? Their Daily Practice playlists will send you on new creative journeys into whatever art your soul desires – jump-start your enthusiasm for a style you’re already using, or pick up some new skills! It’s all free with your library card.
September is National Recovery Month, and its purpose is to raise awareness and celebrate the successes of people in recovery from mental health and/or substance use disorders. The East Baton Rouge Parish Library is recognizing National Recovery Month by hosting Addiction: Sabotage, Sobriety, Surrender, at the Main Library at Goodwood, 7711 Goodwood Blvd., which is a compelling exhibition featuring the vibrantly striking works of artist and author of Art & Addiction Ben Peabody. The display will run September 1-30.
A native of Baton Rouge, Ben Peabody attended Louisiana Tech University, where he received a B.A. in Art Education. Later studies include a M.A. in Instructional Media from Southern University and additional work on a M.F.A. at Louisiana State University. Influenced by his love of the water and its mysteries and by Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Guadalupe Posada, Peabody’s work fuses figurative and expressive art with geometric, abstract art. His series, Art & Addiction, is based on personal experiences, research and stories of persons in recovery. Stories are interpreted through the symbolic use of objects, words and colors reflecting his imagination. This body of work was created over a 19-year period. Peabody has been a full-time artist since 2001 showing in group and solo shows in Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and New Mexico.
There also will be a FREE special program led by Peabody at the Main Library at Goodwood at 3 p.m. Sunday, September 16, that will feature two of the subjects of his art, as they speak about their experiences in overcoming addiction. Presenter Cory W. will discuss Higher Power, and Fred B. will talk about Shake N’ Bake. Enjoy funky blues and swamp pop tunes before the program begins by D.B. Cooper.
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. William “Beau” Clark will share insights on the effects of addiction and the staggering statistics that reflect the toll it takes on life and longevity. Representatives from various community addiction resource groups and organizations also will be available at the program. A book signing will follow the program. Signed copies of the author’s book will be available for purchase at the event.
Humans between the ages of 18 and 30ish! Have you ever covered for your art by saying you were trying to emulate Picasso? Is this ever the event for you! Come make some art so bad it’s good at the Zachary Branch next Wednesday, May 15th, at 6 PM! Call (225) 658-1850 to register.
Don’t miss the first-ever East Baton Rouge Parish Library micro-con! Our very first in-house convention will feature comics creators, artists, and professional cosplayers based everywhere from right here in Baton Rouge to – well, all over the country. We’ll have everything from panels on diversity in media, to documentary screenings, to art workshops, and more! Want to dress up like your favorite character? Come in full costume and compete in our cosplay contest! Want to meet some of Louisiana’s best comics artists? Check out the Comics and Arts Market!
The very first Mid City Micro-Con will happen on Saturday, February 10th, from 10 AM-5 PM. This year’s theme is “Welcome to Wakanda,” so if you’ve already got your tickets to Black Panther, there’s no better place to get ready for the February 15th release date. Come be super with us!
Practice The Artist’s Way with other artists and creatives who want to set fire to their spark with the Career Center’s 13-week program! Sessions are every Tuesday (except Mardi Gras) from January 23rd-April 24th, 2018, from 6-8 PM, at the Main Library on Goodwood. You can register for this excellent program by calling the Career Center at (225) 231-3733 or visiting the event website.
The range of group classes, private lessons, video tutorials, and online articles that is Fair Fit Studio was born in Andrea Eastin’s midcity home four years ago, but Eastin herself has been part of the handmade fashion world for much longer. After achieving a bachelor’s degree in Painting and Drawing from the University of Iowa and attending workshops in dye and surface design at the Penland School of Craft, Eastin attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for a Master of Fiber and Material Studies degree. There, she also taught a beginner-to-advanced curriculum of four classes in sewing, with an emphasis on clothing construction and fashion. She set up a fashion line in New Orleans until the disaster of Hurricane Katrina forced her and so many others out of the city, but later moved back to complete what felt like unfinished business. “I came back to New Orleans and I got really involved with the fashion scene there that was growing because of the post-Katrina influx of new people and new initiatives,” Eastin said.
Though fashion and clothing design remained (and continue to be) one of Eastin’s passions, it was difficult to meet the production demands of clothing stores that were interested in carrying her lines. “I knew I was in a model that I did not have the resources or the capacity to make successful from where I was,” she said. “I had to just totally start over. Sometimes being able to totally start over can bring something really amazing into your life, because you’re not repeating something you know how to do.” A marriage (to local hairdresser and creative director Paul Eastin), a move to Baton Rouge, and a “stop-doing” year to give herself a chance to recharge were just what was needed to let the idea of Fair Fit Studios percolate. The move especially helped to shape the business: Where New Orleans is known for its grandiose celebrations and regular festivals, all of which require a different custom-made costume or gown and each of which places severe constraints on the natural ebb and flow of clientele, Eastin found that “here people are really looking for ways that they can grow their children’s interests. With the private lessons for teenagers and children that I do, that’s often parents that know their child loves fashion, or wants to know how to sew, and they don’t have anybody that can teach them. And so the parents really try to figure out how this can be their kid’s thing.” Private lessons may be anything from a young child designing and sewing her own Christmas dress with Eastin’s careful supervision, to a teenager building a portfolio to apply to advanced courses of study with the benefit of Eastin’s vast technical skill.
The name “Fair Fit” comes from Eastin’s academic background and personal philosophy towards fashion and clothing design – it was originally the title of her thesis at the Art Institute. In this case, “fair” means both “adequate” and “just,” and plays off rising concerns about where clothing is made and how it is paid for. “It was a form of grading, meaning sizing, that I created so that it had some play – could be customized. I named it off of my clothing line because I think it’s more fair to teach a person the skills … it’s more fair if you have the autonomy to be able to make it yourself and to make your own decisions, it’s more democratic that way, than having to find somebody to do it for you, or having to rely on what already exists to make the choice for you. It’s not fair that we don’t have these skills anymore,” she said. The Fair Fit dress and pattern will soon be available online, and Eastin will teach classes on her sizing system.
Many of the emails Fair Fit Studios receives are centered around the problem of fit and how rarely something off-the-rack is a perfect match, either physically or aesthetically. “The hard thing is, you have a unique perspective, and they’re not trying to appeal to that. So then you can either do it yourself, or you can pay someone to do it for you, which, I don’t know if you really want to go down that route,” Eastin laughed. “There’s no way to make a dress that makes everybody happy. But there’s a reason why they don’t fit right: because it costs too much money for them to fit right.” Even professional sewers struggle with learning how to design and construct clothing in a way that excites their client base, and as Eastin said, that’s because “if I go about making the way you want it for your body, you’re still going to be unhappy, because it’s not your perspective, it’s still my perspective. So if you just teach people the skill, that’s the closest to fair in fashion that I have gotten.”
Even creatively focused small businesses need growth, and to accomplish this, Fair Fit recently began offering online classes in beginners sewing and basic patterns. Eastin also dedicates more time to the blog, writing a combination of articles on everything from upcoming in-person classes to the how-tos of pattern piecing to philosophy of design. “I like to feel like I’m enterprising, just always thinking of how can we offer more. But I’m still one person,” she said. Eastin is thus committed to steady, reliable growth of 17% per quarter (a number derived based on the advice of a business coach). “It’s more about what’s that one next achievable step that’s towards growth,” she said, than about doubling profit or output as quickly as possible – sustainability in the long term over more dramatic results more quickly. “Same as with sewing, creating a business is not really that different from creating an art project. It has a circuitry. It has a series of steps. It has a way that it reaches other people, and there is an exchange. You shouldn’t go, ‘oh! But the money isn’t important to me.’ Of course it is, right? But you just make sure you’re not trying to put expectations on it that are the same as what a marketing business would grow, or a tire business.”
For aspiring entrepreneurs, the library can be an invaluable resource – Eastin has used everything from online audiobooks to listen to while she works on sewing projects, to spaces outside of her home that make it easier to concentrate on business writing, to advertising upcoming classes, to classic sewing instruction books for deeper research. “I really believe that a lot of the great references are there. A lot of people believe that you should really learn sewing on YouTube these days, but there’s such good information in the classics. Those books from the 50s, 60s, and 70s are amazing. That’s how I learned,” she said. (The fashion conscious can also use online resources like Women’s Wear Daily and the Vogue Archives to check out styles of the day as far back as the 1800s.)
Join the Fair Fit Studios emailing list to learn about upcoming classes, both in-house and online, and for more information about every aspect of fashion design. You can also follow Fair Fit’s Facebook page.