Swap-O-Rama-Rama Call for Artists

Craft & Design
Swap-O-Rama-Rama Call for Artists

sorr 2006

Calling All Artists for Swap-O-Rama-Rama, the World’s Largest Textile Repurposing Event, at Maker Faire Bay Area!

Nearly one hundred years ago Mahatma Gandhi said, “There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.” At the time India was struggling to resist British rule. Freedom could be gauged by touching the garments of another. Gandhi was known for doing this and asking, “Is it homespun?” A reply “yes” meant that there was hope for India.

Today we face a similar scenario. As part of the first generations alive to witness the whole world for sale, with fabrics of all variety pumped off the manufacturing line, we must search out the essence of goods made by the maker. Synthetic materials lay atop landfills unable to decompose. Industry, disconnected from nature, cares little for the waste it creates. But makers are connected to materials, which come from nature. Makers are connected to people, the history of ideas, and so they are connected to the most valuable thing: responsibility! Today’s battle is between the individual maker and industry. What’s at stake is the very idea of what it means to be human. We are being asked whether we are limited and mechanistic consumers or unbounded creators.

sorr fashion show

In homage to Gandhi and to our precious human creative spirits, Creative Commons-licensed event Swap-O-Rama-Rama began in New York City in 2004. Its structure is a clothing swap that features a large staff of creative people offering skill sharing: sewing gurus, silk screeners, and textile artists of all variety. The creative tool that everything is made out of? Used clothing en route to the landfill — your used clothes. Everyone who enters brings any size bag of their unwanted duds. What to bring? The more you let go of, the more space you’ve made for the new.

One year after Swap-O-Rama-Rama’s start, the event grew to 25 cities. Today it takes place in over 100 worldwide cities that include Istanbul, Jerusalem, and cities in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Panama, and throughout the U.S. and Europe. Swap-O-Rama-Rama has repurposed tens of thousands of pounds of textile waste since its start and is growing still.

Swap-O-Rama-Rama has been celebrated most at the Maker Faire in San Mateo, which hosts the largest swap event in the world. This is an invitation to you to join in the communal process of textile reuse and celebrate collective creativity by participating in Swap-O-Rama-Rama at the Maker Faire as staff. You need not be a pro. If you’re skilled at turning flip flops into welcome mats, bras into handbags, or are a guru at the sewing machine, you are a fit in the textile wonderland of Swap-O-Rama-Rama. Here’s the invitation, we hope to see you!


Artist Open Call for Swap-O-Rama-Rama at Maker Faire Bay Area

May 18 and 19, 2013, all day, at the San Mateo Event Center in San Mateo, Calif.

Contact: Erin Scholl  erinescholl@gmail.com

Swap-O-Rama-Rama is seeking textile artists of all calibers, recyclers, and creatives of all kinds for the following roles:

DIY Workshops: If you have a unique project or technique that transforms would-be trash into a wearable item, or mods a wearable item into a new form (clothing/jewelry/handbag, etc.) please consider bringing this to Swap-O-Rama-Rama as a DIY workshop. A small stipend is available for sharing your creative skills.

Sewing Gurus: If you’re a whiz behind a sewing machine and work with reuse, consider being a Swap-O-Rama-Rama designer/teacher. You will guide people learning how to mod the clothing they find at the swap. A small stipend is available for sharing your creative skills.

Fashion Show: Present your refound/reinvented/remade creations in the Swap-O-Rama-Rama fashion show and sell them in our boutique!

Textile Lounge Presentations: If you have something to say about reuse and/or fashion, wish to join a lively moderated talk, or have a presentation about a technique, method, or concept, sign up for a spot in our Textile Talk Lounge located at Swap-O-Rama-Rama.

Art Installations: Let us showcase your reuse and/or textile related art as setting for our event. At least 1,000 people will pass through and you are welcome to promote yourself and your art.

Boutique Manager and Staff: Get involved in community reuse by peddling some good stuff made and remade by our artists. Small stipend plus commission.

Sorters and general help: If you know pants from a shirt, you can sort clothing! No creative inclinations required, and you get first dibs on clothes!

All staff are offered: To be featured in the fashion show, representation in SORR promotional materials, and all supplies for DIY provided by SORR. You can sell your creations in our staffed on-site boutique and make some cash!

sorr crafting

Have a look at SORR in action on Treehugger TV:

YouTube player

Contact: Erin Scholl  erinescholl@gmail.com

Wendy Jehanara Tremayne is creator of Swap-O-Rama-Rama and author of The Good Life Lab.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!
Wendy Tremayne

Wendy is interested in creating a decommodified life. She was a creative director in a marketing firm in New York City before moving to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where she built an off-the-grid homestead with her partner, Mikey Sklar. She is founder of the non-profit, textile repurposing event Swap-O-Rama-Rama (which is celebrated in over 100 cities around the world), a conceptual artist, event producer, yogi, gardener, backpacker, and writer.

She has written for CRAFT’s webzine, Make:, Sufi magazine, and, with Mikey Sklar, keeps the blog: Holy Scrap. She is author of The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living (Storey Publishing, June 2013). Publisher's Weekly named it best summer read for 2013 and the book was awarded the 2014 Nautilus Book Silver Award for Green Living/Sustainability.

View more articles by Wendy Tremayne


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).