Cheeky dream teams is an ongoing series that celebrate female teamwork. This week, I'm highlighting a recent collaboration between poet Yrsa-Daley Ward and Chantal Strasburger of Read Receipts. This partnership was born in celebration of Yrsa's new book of poetry, 'Bone' and called for 100 hand-embroidered t-shirts.
Chantal speaks to her experience on this collaboration:
Yrsa is one of those incredible women who you stumble across on Instagram thinking you’ve found a hidden gem, and then realize that 30 people you know already follow her. Thanks for cluing me in, “friends”! Her poetry is electric and her daily posts both motivational and impactful, and listening to her speak her poetry in person is even more poignant (I say “speak” and not “read” because she performs as a spoken word artist does—using her body to emote each word and giving every syllable the attention it deserves).
But when Club Monaco approached me about embroidering three verses from Yrsa’s poetry onto 100 of their t-shirts, my first thought was, “Oh my god nope impossible can't do it.” I’ve never embroidered that many items in my life, much less in the span of two and a half weeks! My second thought was, “Holy heck this is the coolest thing I’ve ever asked to be apart of, count me in.” The two reactions were diametrically opposed, but I did that thing one learns to do when starting their own company, and I smiled through the self-doubt and rising panic and said, “I’d love to.” When an international retailer comes knocking, you do whatever it takes to make it work. Sorry fingers!
I immediately went out and bought 20 skeins of black thread, texted Ariella for podcast recommendations, and got to work. And let me tell ya, if you’re looking for a new way to absorb poetry, might I suggest embroidering them onto one hundred t-shirts! I spent the following days repeating the same three lines over and over in my head as I stitched them onto necklines and sleeves: “There will be more love,” “Truth is a beauty, whether pretty or not,” and “Today is the first day of the rest of it.”Write here…
Collaborating with another woman in a way that preserves her original craft but finds a new way to present it is a very particular (and very cool) feeling. The final product is something slightly greater than the individual parts alone, and can be seen and worn and interpreted in a new context. As Yrsa eloquently pointed out, “The landscape of poetry is changing. We're experiencing a poetry renaissance where words are cool and sexy again. I think it's really lovely and fitting it's on the shirt."
I couldn’t agree more ;)
Like Chantal, this project introduced me to Yrsa's work and it blew me away. I was standing with my friend Julia at Yrsa's Club Monaco reading in NYC and after hearing her first poem the two of us turned to each other and mouthed (teary-eyed) 'wow, that got me'. Thrilled to learn that Yrsa has a book up her sleeve.
coming soon: yrsa daley-ward’s memoir The Terrible
Be on the lookout for Yrsa's memoir hitting stands (eBook and audio stands too!) June 5. I have a feeling this will be a can't-put-it-down situation.
And now just a second to kvell about Chantal since I take any moment I can to brag about being so close to this bright and talented lady. We lived together all through college (as a random assignment!) and continued on in domestic bliss in the big city. Her presence made NYC feel like home immediately -- she also happens to be a WIZARD decorator, but this feeling of belonging was mainly due to her warmth and support. After a total of 8 years living together, Chantal decided it was time for her next phase and off she went to London where she founded and launched Read Receipts. This particular collaboration with Yrsa x Club Monaco was exciting for me as it brought Chantal back over the pond and into my proud arms.
With her on this visit, she brought a very exciting token of her support:
READ RECEIPTS X CHEEKY!!!