Peg panty party

Upcoming workshop shines light where the sun doesn’t

Illustration by Gabrielle Funk

The upcoming ArtsJunktion ArtHive encourages people to show a little more love, care and creativity toward their underwear drawer.

“It’s going to be a bunch of people around a table sewing underwear together,” Julie Kettle says, “and that just seems ridiculous and fun.”

Kettle, ArtsJunktion’s executive director, says the event will feature Laura Everett, founder of Laura’s Under There. She’ll teach some participants how to sew panties, while ArtsJunktion staff will teach embroidery stitches for all styles of undies.

“With any sort of DIY, the emphasis is on utilizing the resources at hand, so first of all, our own intellectual creative capacity, and also using our time and our energy in different ways,” Kettle says.

“There’s also the environmental sustainability piece to it, because with something like a panty party, it’s an opportunity for refreshing or adding a new, fun,  beautiful artistic thing to something that may seem old or boring or hidden under your pants,” she says. “So I think it’s just like another way of capturing the fun and creativity and community-building aspect.”

Everett founded Laura’s Under There in January 2018 with a mission to donate one pair of underwear to people in need for every homespun pair sold.

She says while operating a clothing donation program, she noted a lack of underwear being donated and the discomfort some clients had in requesting undergarments.

While Everett says she’s a little nervous to be in a teaching position at the ArtHive, she’s mostly excited to be sharing the skill.

“It’s pretty hard to find ethical underwear,” she says.

Everett says for those who are looking to be ethical consumers, underwear can be a tough puzzle to solve. She’s aware of a producer in Montreal and a Manitoban ethical underwear maker who began last December.

She says she gets a lot of positive feedback, even from those who do not end up buying anything, because her products might not be the most common at the craft market.

“There are definitely people who are uncomfortable, but I’ve never been uncomfortable,” she says. “Mostly people giggle. It’s actually this really cute thing. Every person gets this cute, little six-year-old sheen on them.”

Everett says she still struggles with what it means to make an ethical and sustainable product, but her advice to those looking to create and consume ethically is for “people to figure out what’s important to them,” because nothing is going to be perfect.

“One of the things that’s important to me is fair labour. That’s my driving force when purchasing things,” she says. “But environmental issues are a thing, and ethical stuff is sometimes inaccessible financially, so that’s where secondhand would be an option. But you have to figure out what’s important for you.”

“I always want to encourage people to get creative and get involved and vote well and donate,” she says.

The Panty Party wlll be held on Feb. 1 from 5 to 9 p.m. as part of First Fridays at ArtsJunktion (312 William Avenue).

Published in Volume 73, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 31, 2019)

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