Ebi Poweigha is a body positive sewing blogger based in Boston. Her sewing story started in her fashion story, which started when she was young. Fashion magazines were always around growing up and they fascinated her. She studied them carefully and designed her first dress at the age of 13. In 2011 she learned to sew and started the blog Making the Flame in 2014 to fill the void of stylish, body positive plus size sewing bloggers.
Carrie: When did you first realize your love of the arts?
In some ways, quite early in life and in some ways, quite late. I had an older sibling I looked up to who was artistic and spent my childhood and adolescence trying to become a talented artist so I, too, could stand out positively in my family. It wasn’t until I learned to knit in my mid-20s that I realized I actually really enjoy the creative process, and love making art.
Carrie: What inspired your creation of your blog Making the Flame?
Like many people new to sewing at that time, I turned to blogs for information and inspiration. However, I didn’t see any blogs by trendy plus size women! So I decided to fill the void myself.
Carrie: What does your creative space look like?
If you mean my sewing studio, it looks like a tornado has whipped through it! I’m always working on several projects at various stages of completion, plus I always have several piles of ‘next up’ fabrics: things I’d like to work on, but don’t yet have the space or mental bandwidth to handle yet.
Carrie: How do you know when a design is completed?
In sewing, you follow a pattern — whether self-drafted or commercially designed. So you know when the garment is finished. As for the design element, it tends to also be factored by how soon I want to wear the garment. If I’m in no hurry, I’ll tinker and let it sit for weeks or even months, until every tiny detail is ‘perfect.’ If I want it tomorrow, I focus almost exclusively on getting the garment ‘wearable’ and need only for the design to look the way the pattern says it should.
Carrie: Can you describe your artistic process to readers? For example, do you follow the same pattern and track when you develop an artwork from idea to product?
My creative process starts with color, and since I sew that means starting with fabric. I touch it, squeeze it, pull on it, look at it close up, from a distance, and through all of that I decide what I’ll turn it into. Once I decide that, I can figure out yardage, notions, sewing pattern, and the like. But for me, it always starts with fabric.
Carrie: Advice for people who are learning a new skill?
Stick with it! You’re going to have more failures than successes, more frustrations than wins, in the beginning. That’s normal, even though it’s not glamorous. But you should absolutely 100% tell everyone you know and encounter what you’re up to. Starting anything new is rare for most adults and especially when it’s something creative, most decent people will be impressed. Use that to bolster your confidence through the rocky beginnings and enjoy the ride to mastery.
Carrie: How does your life experience and emotional state feed into your art?
On a very personal note, I prefer to be crazy busy, and this means I burn out and crash sometimes. When the busy is at a good level, I steal away to create and enjoy the process very much. When it’s getting a little too much to handle, creating becomes my sanctuary, the way I find the energy to keep going. When the busy reaches a fever pitch I have learned to give myself permission to *not* create, and ditto for when I finally take a break from the crazy busyness. But the first thing I do, as my strength returns, is create. So it’s a part of my life, but sometimes I shelve it.
On an emotional front, creating for me is incredibly therapeutic. A little each day is best, but when I’m feeling really emotionally threadbare, sitting down and being creative for a day or even a few hours is the best medicine.
Carrie: What do you hope people learn from your work?
I am a body positive sewing blogger, and I have a creative fashion style. So I hope people learn to love their bodies! Especially for women, the most powerful thing we can do is love the skin we’re in. I believe that once women love their bodies, they’ll also begin to express their own creative style. Getting comfortable with color is a large part of that, so I hope people also learn some fun, playful ideas about color from me!
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
I’d say sewing knowledge from old sewing books and people who have been sewing professionally for decades. They know so much, one tip from these wise sources can save me hours of frustration, research, and trial and error.
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
Body positive plus size fashion bloggers! I love seeing other large women of all shapes and sizes (and heights) looking AMAZING. I aspire to look as good as they do, or at least as creative! There are also a few sewing bloggers whose sewing skills are impeccable, and I also aspire to their level of mastery and sewing knowledge.
Carrie: How do you define Creativity?
Creativity is honoring your instincts. When your gut says ‘paint this red’, you gotta paint that thing red. The more you do that, the more you get in touch with your own aesthetic, your preferred materials, even your preferred time of day and location to create in. Creativity is deeply personal, and the only way humans have to express their true inner spirit.
Be Creatively Courageous: Do you have a story or experience of honoring that art instinct? Did it lead you to a surprising, new place? Tell me about it in the comments below.
Additional Contact Info:
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/makingtheflame