Machine Dreams

Chicagoan Carole Frances Lung, better known as Frau Fiber, descends from a long line of seamstresses and works out from under the historical shadow of apparel industry workers, a distinctly underpaid female faction haunted by sweatshop roots yet later uplifted by the solidarity of unions. But the Frau – professional seamstress, artist and activist – translates all of that into a fierce brand of feminism with a DIY slant, that rails against mass production and invites people to take back lost sewing skills and therefore, by making their own clothing, a piece of lost personal freedom. To that end, the Frau has traveled around, setting up temporary shops in vacant storefronts to sew for charity or teach workshops or creating performances commemorating the lives of garment workers; her credo – “Stop shopping, start sewing!” – is the basis of her many nomadic public projects, including a couple she’ll oversee in Denver over the weekend.