The cutting table here at Red Sky Shelters is quite the fixture. It’s about 6ft wide and 20ft long. Because most of the pieces required to make a Yome are fairly large, and because the table is so wide, it’s generally most practical to cut things out as a team, one person on one side of the table and one on the other. This makes for a great opportunity to have a chat, seeing as most of the other things that we do here in the sewing studio involve sitting in front of a machine that makes a little bit too much noise to easily talk over. So, there are some great conversations that happen at this table.
Recently, I had the opportunity to do some cutting with Peter, our fair leader, and I got a little history of the Red Sky workshop. The space that we are in here has two huge rooms, one for the sewing operation, and one for the wood and metal-working operation. This is fortunate, as sawdust and metal shards interfere with our ability to keep our projects (your living spaces!) clean. Peter was telling me about his last shop here in Asheville, where they had, for a while, only one space for both of these aspects of Yome creation. All of the woodworking tools would be dragged out into the alley to be used, making it very weather dependent and a bit cumbersome. It also brought them into contact with the auto mechanics who also worked out of the building (who were not huge fans of the hippies in the alley).
The space next door to the former Red Sky shop went through many iterations before Peter decided he needed to separate the wood/metal and fabric parts of Yome creation. There were some good laughs at the cutting table that day as Peter described the parade of colorful characters who occupied that space before he moved into it. The whole building had at one time been a boxing rink, and the space that he occupied once held “Dinner for the Earth”, which evolved into “Earth Fare” (now a large regional health food chain).
The space next door held a karate studio when Peter arrived, which had been blessed by Tibetan monks (maybe some of the blessing seeped over to his place…). Then the “Liberty Tabernacle Church” moved in, a fire and brimstone operation whose patrons exited looking as though they had been flogged. Then came the punk music venue that was there for a while, which apparently was not the highest quality music, but it did bring them into better favor with the auto mechanics. The space was then slated to be a S&M club. However, that never went any farther than displaying the whips, chains and clothes in the front window.
After these fine folks left, Peter took up residency in the adjoining space and finished out his 10 years in that space peacefully. His move from that location was fortuitous for four days after he moved out, the building collapsed when a car ran into it early one morning. After the driver was removed from the vehicle, the entire front of the structure collapsed onto the car (the car is under the rubble in the newspaper photo).
These little tidbits certainly brighten my day when I pick them up. Hope they did yours, too.