Artist and designer Kirsten Schmid makes one-off clothing pieces that channel her interest in poetry and public parks into well-made, everyday staples with a focus on sustainability.
Is there something new that you've started doing in the past 4 months? "I’ve always loved Octavia Butler and for the last few months I’ve been listening to Toshi Reagon and adrienne maree brown’s podcast Octavia’s Parables. Butler frames change as life’s most precious constant, a prescient message for the present moment. I also spend a lot of time with our next door neighbors now, ages 5 and 10. They’re stuck at home and bored enough to want to hang out with me, which I’m grateful for because their outlook makes me look forward to the future they’ll create. They have such a profound understanding of the world already, it's really inspiring.
What’s your favorite thing about Milwaukee (or place)? "I moved to Milwaukee from Germany with my family 15 years ago and until recently, my dad worked as a reporter for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. My time here, in many ways, has been shaped by his research projects: from gazing wide-eyed, as a tween, into a dystopian future of ocean liners shipping fresh water from dwindling Great Lakes across the Pacific, to the realities of the glaring economic inequality and racial segregation in our city. My favorite place when I was young was the building that housed the once bustling (before being acquired by the USA Today parent company) newspaper, cavernous rooms that housed printing presses painted with many years of inky finger prints"
Who do you think needs advice and what would you like to tell them? "Maybe everyone needs a little Fred Moten and Stefano Harney right now, and always: “Not so much the abolition of prisons but the abolition of a society that could have prisons, that could have slavery, that could have the wage, and therefore not abolition as the elimination of anything but abolition as the founding of a new society.” And, until we get there: “steal the enlightenment for others"
(The University and the Undercommons, 2013)
View Kirsten's work on Instagram @kiiirstenschmiiid