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Kickstarter Backer Feature: Elsa Garrison


A very wise customer suggested we share some of the reasons why a variety of the folks that have pledged to back our  Kickstarter campaignmade that choice. As if it wasn't enough to get all weepy each time someone new makes a contribution, the answers we've received today to our request have been kind and thoughtful just like each of you. Today we'd like to introduce you to Elsa Garrison. Elsa is a professional sports photographer for Getty Images. She's a damn fine photographer and truly one of the kindest people we've ever had the pleasure of meeting.

When did you discover gather here?
I first came to Gather Here in March of 2011. My husband and I had moved to Boston a few years back. He had just started doing stand-up comedy and had met some people that way. I was still struggling to find my place in Boston. I thought that if I took a class, put myself out there that maybe I could find some connection to our new hometown. I learned how to crochet and knit when I was in grade school but hadn't really done it since. I searched online for a knitting class and Gather Here popped up. Not only were there knitting and crochet classes but also sewing and embroidery. I thought wow, this place looks great! I need to go check it out. I have been hooked ever since.

What is your craft and how does gather here support it?
When I first hit Gather Here, I was mostly a knitter and crocheter. After a few classes, I was into everything. These days I am into knit and crochet but only because I travel a lot and yarn projects are easy to take with you on the plane with no hassle. To me what I love most about Gather Here is that whatever crazy thing that I can come up with to try and make, the staff will help me through it. Thanks to Gather Here, I have become a much better knitter and crocheter but also now can add sewing, crewel, cross stitch, embroidery, block printing and screen printing to my list of mad craft skills. There are so many examples of how GH supports my crazy whims and ideas! I decided that I was going to make a traveling art kit for a friend's toddler. Noah and I talked it out and we came up with a plan and the fabric and notions to pull it off. Turned out great. In September, I was working on a gift for a friend that is battling cancer. I had already cross stitched the main part of the piece and decided I wanted to make a decorative pillow. I have never made a pillow cover before. It may seem simple enough, but I didn't want to mess this up. We talked it over, picked out the fabric and fringe for the side. I got some studio time and began to make the pillow. It would not have turned out as well if I had attempted it on my own.

The class that had the greatest impact on my life was the screen printing class from Sarah Coyne. It was a two day workshop that taught me the proper way to coat and handle screens as well as prepare your artwork. This would all come in very handy a few weeks later. My nephew Austin's cancer reared its ugly head and came back too strong for him to beat it. We knew we only had a few short months with him at best. We decided we were going to make Team Austin shirts to rally behind him and show him we love him. He loved baseball so much and I had a graphic designer friend of mine help me with the logo for them. I prepared the artwork and the screens. I was in the middle of covering NCAA basketball and knew I had to burn this screen on the road. We decided that it would be best to use his Make a Wish wish quickly before things deteriorated for him. He was a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan and decided to use his wish to attend Spring Training in Florida. But we wanted our Team Austin shirts for the trip. So in a Marriott bathroom, I burned the screens for what would become the greatest expression of love for Austin. I printed enough shirts for our trip. Austin kept up with his friends on facebook as he wasn't into Instagram just yet! I would get messages from his friends, my friends, coworker about the shirts. I was printing them in my kitchen and shipping them out. The only thing I asked of anyone that I sent a shirt to was that when they wore it, that they took a picture from wherever they were and posted it so Austin could see it. We had shirts span the globe. It was a nice distraction for him and it let him know we all loved him and were pulling for a miracle. It would not have been possible if it weren't for that class.

Have you backed a Kickstarter campaign before? What was it?
I have backed Kickstarter campaigns before my backing of the Gather Here campaign. In April of 2011, my friend and coworker Chris Hondros was killed while covering events in Libya. Chris' best friend decided to make a documentary about Chris and his impact as one of the preeminent photojournalists of our time. The project is still in the works. I am so glad that via Kickstarter, I was able to make a contribution to this project. It was a way for me to support the memory of my friend.

There are thousands of Kickstarter campaigns that could use funding, why did you chose this one?
I chose to back Gather Here because I love the place. It has had a wonderful impact on my life. I love the classes. There is no other place that can talk me through my projects like Gather here. Sadly now we are no longer in Boston and I am too far away to enjoy all the things GH has to offer that the locals are lucky enough to experience. I am so happy to see GH grow and plant it roots in the Boston/Cambridge community. I can't wait for the new place in Inman Square.

Is there a particular reward that you think makes this campaign unique?
The rewards for backing Gather Here are all pretty great - something for everyone! I was bummed the pattern drafting and fitting with Virginia was scooped up so fast! I have learned so much from her and whoever has that reward will be glad they made such a wonderful contribution to Kickstarter.

What would you tell someone who isn't sure about funding a Kickstarter Campaign?
Kickstarter is a great way for a project to get off the ground. It gives you the chance to be part of something you believe in and want to see come together.

The Kickstarter Campaign ends on January 15th. If you can and feel so inclined, please take a moment and back us. You contribution supplements the generous funding from the building owner and grants from the City of Cambridge. Don't underestimate the value of sweat equity, either. We've poured a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this DIY project and we think you'll be able to tell. We can't wait to make 1343 Cambridge Street our home and we hope you'll think of it as your second home, too.