nomad backpack san francisco

Nomad Studio
A social art project by Aline Dargie

Backpack with the tools to create your own creative urban adventure


Nomad Studio is inspired by the nonchalance real life adventure game with the jejune institute. It is also inspired by SF tour companies that give the same tour for decades, leading buses of people around in an un-personalized, textbook fashion. I wish to provide another option for people who wish to interact with San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood in an artistic, creative way. Nomad Studio has poetic, seasonal suggestions starting points for small handmade projects, inspired by changes of the terrain, like residential hills that are so steep the sidewalk has steps, with chamomile flowers in the cracks in springtime, or a map to the location of certain trees with periwinkle blooms in June, that compost on the ground and turn dark purple.

I have planted the landscape the nomad studio artists traverse with guerrilla public art projects, including a silver leafed human-sized log of driftwood, attached to a light post with a U-lock. A natural object that one could imagine drifting into the city with a great flood or tidal wave, that got culture-itized and blinged out with silver leaf along its journey, attached to a huge artificial night light with a strong lock. An idea for the future, is to make existing public objects on sidewalks, like trees, parking signs etc, into musical string and percussion instruments.

This backpack will function as a portable studio for marking the land, inspired by urban textures and found objects. Nomad Studio will include many clear pockets, so you can see the basic tools (knife, scissors, sparkles, glue, string), and colorful opaque fabric pockets (so it is a surprise what you pull out, like window mesh or webbing straps).

Nomad Studio encourages city goers to explore the outdoors, and make things along the way. Nomad Studio is a call to action pack, inspiring impulsive, unplanned, spur of the moment, hand made crafts, giving people a starting point to creating their own artistic adventures… Experiencing the North Beach neighborhood in a personal, memorable way. One may mark the guerrilla sculptures and the landscape, with faux silver and gold leaf, paint, small brass and copper tacks, and string, among other traditional and non-traditional art supplies.

This backpack will be lightweight, urban camouflage style (fabrics printed to mimic cracked sidewalks, glassy grids of windows and other familiar facades found in the city).

Included is a small guide ‘book’ with poetic suggestions of different ways to walk, noticing the bounce in a step, air moving through hair, looking up, spinning in circles…. and a list of suggested reading, and links of where to learn more, to spread and share information about related projects, and how to make your own project like this in other cities.


photography by joshua cobos

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Indigo Process

Thank you to my mentors and collaborators from whom I learned shibori techniques and natural indigo fabric dyeing:

Shoji Fujii, shibori artist from the traditional shibori village of Arimatsu, Nagoya, Japan, we developed original bicycle shibori techniques, for a collection of yoga wear, together at Make Hang

Murase family, the masters of sheek, classically contemporary shibori at Suzusan in Arimatsu, showed me how to finesse of the traditional shibori knots

Yoshiko Wada, internationally famous shibori artist and president of the World Shibori Network, I assisted her in workshops and presentations of indigo dyeing with Michel Garcia‘s scientific and culinary inspired approach to natural dyes.

Carter Smith, American clothing designer using shibori dyed fabrics, made using his original techniques, we collaborated on clothing pieces

Als Attire, handmade attire in North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, neighbors of Make Hang, Al tailored custom jackets of my shibori dyed silk fabrics.

-Angelina DeAntonis, the designer and creator of Ocelot Clothing, we have shared creative dyeing sessions and learned tips and tricks together.

-My professors at California College of the Arts, all textile artists, Kathleen Larisch, Carole Beadle, Anne WolfJosh Fought

-Inspiration for natural dyeing fabrics from my professor Sasha Duerr, and weaving from Lia Cook



Woolen Indigo

Woolen Indigo is a collaboration between Elwyn of O’Lover Hats, and I, at Make Hang.

We creatively experimented with our interpretations of Japanese itajime and arashi shibori techniques.



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make hang

The Dream and Direction of my Creative Practice in the North Beach Community

In the near and upcoming 2012, I will curate and orchestrate group and solo shows of local, emerging artist’s, tactile sculptures. There is no other space in San Francisco like Make Hang. Informed by the building’s Chinese sewing sweatshop history (1960s-2010), the materiality of the work shown and the textile forms that are crafted in the studio pay homage to the skilled hands who sewed here before us. Immigrant workers made mass-produced clothing at all hours, living in the dirt-floored, dark basement.

Make Hang is primarily my studio that I share with the community, promoting and sharing techniques for various crafts. In this time of booming technology and economic angst, people yearn to create with their hands, but often do not have the resources. At Make Hang, supplies, tools, space and expertise are provided gratis to community members with a creative vision. In 2012 I will further develop my facilities, in the 1000 sq ft upstairs gallery and studio, and 1000 sq ft basement workroom.

Make Hang now has monthly rotating shows, and about one event a week related to the work shown. Some events I plan include First Fridays in North Beach, the North Beach Holiday Crawl, the North Beach Art Walk, artist talks, workshops, parties, local music, and alternative art performances like fish carving and meat sculpture. This month Make Hang is displaying Victoria DeBlassie’s orange textiles, hanging in space, creating a glowing. scented, architectural spiral. Collect, Skin, Dry Stitch, Repeat, the show title, explains DeBlassie’s process which will be illustrated and performed throughout the course of the show from December 2nd to January 27th.
Make Hang is inspired by Flux Projects in Atlanta, and Southern Exposure in San Francisco, both artist-run, they enable and promote contemporary underrepresented artistic voices.

Photography by Alan Robin


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sticks n strings

In my studio practice, I am influenced by the craft expressions of the diverse cultures represented in the extraordinarily multicultural community of San Francisco. While developing skills in textiles at California College of the Arts: weaving, woodworking, knotting, spinning and other sculptural textile approaches, I studied textiles traditions of the world. I learned how powerful yet accessible traditional craft textiles can be for personal and cultural expression.

My creative practice symbolically weaves local, diverse communities together by Culturitizing fallen branches from windstorms in San Francisco. When natural limbs fall on city sidewalks they become abject: tossed in compost or the chipper. I gather and Culturitize them, for example: giving them new life with gold leaf to bling, with textiles to clothe, and paint to embellish, just as peoples all over the world have traditionally crafted their ideas and identities. I allegorically and ironically want to give voice and care to the cast offs in my neighborhood.

The decked out sticks are woven into local trees with upcycled yarn, used rope and other found material. My Culturitizing craft works are influenced by guerrilla yarn bombing, immigrants collecting discarded cans, and faux finishes masking plastic made-in-China accessories.

My goal for this Culturitize craft is to have a public, guerrilla installation on almost every block in North Beach, in strategically unexpected, not instantly noticeable places. These installations will not only be made by myself, they will be created by many of my neighbors, whom visit my studio, Make Hang, looking for a creative project.

Photography by Jazzwall

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