Artist Spotlight: Isis Nicole Magazine!
The Isis Nicole Magazine (or IN Magazine for short, named after its founder) is unabashedly colorful, vibrant and glittery, often spotlighting women of color: think Tumblr come to life. The Chicago-based publication is the perfect blend of traditional print media and Internet age fervor. Isis and the other half of the magazine, Hannah Black, are not only creative partners but real life gal pals who always make sure to Snapchat each other about their days. The two tell ACRO what IN Magazine is all about and how they balance work and fun.
The Isis Nicole Magazine (or IN Magazine for short, named after its founder) is unabashedly colorful, vibrant and glittery, often spotlighting women of color: think Tumblr come to life. The Chicago-based publication is the perfect blend of traditional print media and Internet age fervor. Isis and the other half of the magazine, Hannah Black, are not only creative partners but real life gal pals who always make sure to Snapchat each other about their days. The two tell ACRO what IN Magazine is all about and how they balance work and fun: Continue reading “Artist Spotlight: Isis Nicole Magazine!”
Women at Work: Tess (Cobbler/Shoemaker)
Editor’s Note: I’m excited to present our third interview in the series! (Check out 1 and 2 as well!) We talked to Tess, who works in a rather unusual industry—as a cobbler’s apprentice. As someone who knows basically nothing about the handcrafts industry, it was cool to talk to someone who is following such a unique path. Read on below:
What do you do for a living?
I’m a cobbler’s apprentice right now. Cobbling doesn’t have an educational requirement/school, so everyone tends to start as an apprentice.
What does a typical day on the job look like for you?
I am admittedly still learning and there is an insane amount of little things to memorize. Typically, I come in and am shadowing someone for the day, whether that is on the glueing side of the shop, or the finishing side. I often am helping someone work through their rack of shoes, and in down time, I am doing a lot of varied shop prep work. This has included stuff like cutting and glueing new rands for rock climbing shoes, cutting down large leather pieces into small leather heel pads, taking the stock order weekly, preparing halfsoles to be used for those day’s shoes, etc.
Something that I really love about the work is the variety and that I have yet to have one day that was the same as the one prior.
How did you decide to become a cobbler’s apprentice? How much longer do you have as an apprentice, and then what is the process like after that? How much do you make?
Last year, I was working in a handmade papermaking mill, doing mostly bookbinding type work, across the country from where I live currently (which is also where I grew up). I had a partner back home, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled at work, and I was just ready to leave town. I knew I wanted to keep working a workshop environment but I was hoping to keep away from heavy trades (like carpentry, welding, etc) because those don’t interest me much. I ended up cold calling a bunch of cobblers in the city I wanted to live in, and it worked out for me!
As it is, somedays I am given a few pairs to do repairs on. Right now, it’s mostly simple stuff, basic hand-sewing and glueing, sanding things down, etc. When I am fully trained, it will look pretty similar to what I do now, except more work and more complicated work. In the morning, I’ll be assigned a much bigger pile of shoes to work through, aha.
Right now, I make 12$CAD an hour (9$USD) but I’m told that gets raised pretty regularly, after training and assuming I’m still doing solid work.
I’m definitely the baby of the shop still, so it’s hard to say how long I will be apprenticing for! Probably six months to a year, if I had to estimate.
Very cool! I feel like not many people our age are in touch with this kind of smaller-scale craft work. Are you worried about the growth of your industry, or are you not planning to stay in it definitely?
I’ve had a pretty niche set of jobs and I really strive to stay connected to smaller crafts, because I think they are really valuable as an industry (even if it’s a small one). I’m definitely intending to stick with cobbling. In school, I actually studied papermaking but when I went to do it as a “career”, it just wasn’t for me. So it’s been really encouraging to find something with some familiar hand-skills, that I really love.
In regards to growth, I am not so worried. There has been a big push on online fashion communities, that appears to be trickling into the mainstream culture, that we should be buying buy-it-for-life and better quality products in general. Ideas like this are imperative to cobbling continuing to strive, so I am very grateful for a shift.
Was cobbling traditionally a male-dominated field, and how does it compare today? Do you see any gap in wages between men and women in your field, or any other areas where you think the conditions for women could improve? (I.e. Things like maternity leave?)
Cobblers themselves are mostly men, I’d say. It’s hard to say why exactly, other than it’s a blue collar industry. And realistically, it’s also one that isn’t very innovative or having changed much, so I sense it isn’t one that has really made a shift to encouraging women to get involved. As well, lots of people aren’t sure how to break into the industry. Our shop is about 20% women, which is pretty low compared to other industries.
Something that our shop does that I really appreciate is always having a cobbler on the front intake counter. This position rotates every shift and that person is also working on shoes in between customers. As a woman, this feels like it reinforces that we are not just cashiers or front-of-house people, but that we also are the ones doing the dirty work.
I would say that the majority of cobbling shops are one-man-stands, ran by slightly older gentlemen who have been doing it a really long time. It’s going to be really interesting to see how the industry evolves over the next 20 years.
I don’t see any wage gaps, but it may also be because the industry is so small and there are so few people really vying to get into it. Most people are hired as apprentices by a man in his one-man-stand, so there aren’t a lot of fellow female coworkers to compare wages with, unfortunately.
Tess is making a pair of shoes from scratch and documenting the process on tumblr. You can follow along here!
Women at Work: Amy (Nonprofits/LGBTQ Task Force)
Editor’s Note: Today we continue with the second interview in our Women At Work series, which is focused on a diverse range of working women and their experiences. Amy’s interview provides a companion piece to our first interview, with her mother Eileen. If you haven’t read that piece, I highly recommend it!
Continue reading “Women at Work: Amy (Nonprofits/LGBTQ Task Force)”
Artist Spotlight: Leggy
Leggy is a dreamy surf rock/lush punk trio from Cincinnati, Ohio, all about friendship, chill vibes and inclusive ‘posi’ rock ‘n’ roll with a little party sprinkled in. They are currently on tour in the UK with legendary all-female Japanese pop punk group Shonen Knife, whose 90s alt prowess is in the same ranks as Nirvana, The Ramones and Sonic Youth. Leggy is on the rise too, having been featured in publications such as Noisey and Stereogum, and quickly gaining a fan base far beyond its home circles. We spoke with the members while they are on tour: Continue reading “Artist Spotlight: Leggy”
Project Spotlight: The Star-Touched Queen
For readers of fantasy, novels, and YA lit: we have an interview with the great Roshani Chokshi, author of this year’s highly anticipated novel “The Star-Touched Queen.” Check it out!
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Femme Fatale: Future Mortician Jess DuVal
B.C. brings us an illuminating interview with one of the young women poised to change the funeral industry.
written by B.C.
According to Broadly’s article, “The Women Making a Living in the Death Industry,” there are a rising number of women in their 20s and 30s choosing death as their profession. In the US, 43 percent of funeral directors and 57 percent of mortuary science students are women.
“Before the Victorian era in the UK and the Civil War in the US — periods when the funeral industry became industrialized and commercialized — women were the caretakers of the dead. While they were not typically involved in the burial itself, they prepared the body — laying it out, dressing it and washing it. This was seen as an extension of the caring work they did for the household in general, looking after children, the elderly and the sick. Once this private care was moved into the public domain, women were largely pushed aside in favor of men who had gone to mortuary school.”
Now, that’s changing.
“When I was a little kid, I didn’t think I was going to grow up to be a mortician,” says 23-year-old Jess Duval.
It’s something she now not only embraces but is extremely proud of. Her Facebook profile has a short bio: “I study the dead and ignore the living” with a skull face emoji. People sometimes peg her as “looking the part” with her long dark hair, pale skin and mostly black wardrobe — but the profession is not about looking like Morticia Addams. DuVal says first and foremost, it’s a way to deeply care for people. Continue reading “Femme Fatale: Future Mortician Jess DuVal”
Why the Hell Not? Actor Sean Penn interviews El Chapo
Rolling Stone took a hard stand on employing white men who don’t need help by creating the obvious and very necessary journalistic pairing of actor Sean Penn and drug kingpin El Chapo. We read it so you don’t have to.
Because the world is a totally normal place that makes sense, actor Sean Penn interviewed then-escaped, now re-incarcerated Mexican drug lord “El Chapo” in October, and recently published his interview in Rolling Stone, the prestigious magazine famous for its responsible journalism and flawless coverage of my alma mater. The piece is over 10,000 words long, roughly 9,000 of which are completely superfluous. I wanted to do a breakdown of just how ridiculous the writing is. I really tried, guys. But I couldn’t get through more than a couple of paragraphs at a time without needing to lie down. If you don’t want to spend forty-five minutes of your life on Sean Penn’s attempt at radical-chic gonzo journalism, I have pulled out a few gems below, along with my rough attempt at translation:
Continue reading “Why the Hell Not? Actor Sean Penn interviews El Chapo”
‘Master of None’ Succeeds In Its Sincerity (ft. Interviews with Actors Diane Mizota and Aaron Takahashi)
By Belinda Cai
New Netflix series “Master of None” from Aziz Ansari. “Master of None” Twitter.
Whether you think it’s hilarious or just miss Tom Haverford, there’s no denying that Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None” is important. I haven’t been able to peruse social media without seeing swathes of people and media outlets posting about the show since its release on Netflix a little over a week ago. Among them was actress Diane Mizota, one of my Facebook friends and someone I interviewed for my grad school capstone project about Asian-Americans in Hollywood. She claimed she couldn’t get enough of the show and especially liked the second episode that addressed immigrant parents.
Continue reading “‘Master of None’ Succeeds In Its Sincerity (ft. Interviews with Actors Diane Mizota and Aaron Takahashi)”
Artist Spotlight: Vyvian Looper / Luuli
This article may contain content troubling to readers, including discussions of sexual assault and self-harm.
When I saw Vyvian Looper at The Comet, a bar in Cincinnati, I asked her if she was back. Where was she living nowadays? In her car, she responded, with a small laugh. That’s her home. But she was back for a few days to perform in Cincinnati’s inaugural Ladyfest from October 15-17. She bounces around.
The soft-spoken Looper, or Luuli — her stage name — plays music and does art, but isn’t your typical performance artist. She’s more on par with unconventional performers such as Serbian Marina Abramović, known for brutally testing the limits of her body and mind. Like Abramović, there is sometimes blood involved in Luuli’s works. Continue reading “Artist Spotlight: Vyvian Looper / Luuli”