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Kickstarter Backer Feature: Jeanette Eberhardy

A very wise customer suggested we share some of the reasons why a variety of the folks that have pledged to back our Kickstarter campaign made 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. The wise customer was this woman, Jeanette Eberhardy. When Jeanette is out of town teaching or helping her family, we all miss her. Having her cutting and stitching, getting knitting advice, and problem-solving with her is a highlight of our week. We chose not to edit or reformat Jeanette's answers, the following read like poetry. You can find Jeanette crafting stories for today’s meaningful work at

When did you discover gather here?

When my oldest daughter had her first child, she asked me to find organic fabric.

I searched the internet and found Gather Here was one of the few businesses that sold organic fabrics.

That was four years ago.

When I first walked into Gather Here, I did not imagined that I would rediscover my love for making things with my hands.

What is your craft and how does gather here support it?

I am a teacher, a writer, and a storyteller.

For my day job, I am a professor of writing at Mass College of Art and Design.

Helping students discover the joy in seeing (or feeling) their authentic voice on the page is demanding (and thrilling) work.

To restore my creative energy, I enjoy gardening, and I like to make things with my hands.

That’s where Gather Here comes in.

At Gather Here, I have experimented with a range of classes: tote bags, quilts, backpacks, bow ties, and now a tunic!

I began with little skill (very little), and in each class, the teachers at Gather Here guided me until I could fly on my own (or almost fly).

For me, these classes provide a certain kind of “rest” from my day work.

Also, I find Gather Here’s studio hours very useful—especially when my family needs help.

For example, a year ago, my older daughter and her family moved to a new home and they need drapes fast!

The generous folks at Gather Here shared their knowledge, and they helped me figure out the best way to make the drapes.

Another time, when my older daughter landed the job she wanted as director of a montessori school, she planned to launch a new infant program. The Montessorri teachers wanted aprons—soft, friendly, inviting aprons. We researched online the best apron design, and the staff at Gather Here offered their advice for the prototypes.

Here I have developed the confidence to make things with fabrics and yarns and more.

Someday maybe I will find a way to sew words into these creations and weave my two worlds together.

In the meantime,

In the community of other makers at Gather Here, I feel renewed.

Have you backed a Kickstarter campaign before? What was it?

I have backed one other kickstarter campaign (last year).

It was for a group that planned to open a print studio (letterpress printing) in Charlestown: Arbalest Press

This group of artists needed help to grow their business for our community.

They wanted to purchase another letterpress machine for classes.

(I took one of their first classes and made cards for the holidays.)

It’s very hard to grow a creative business that allows each of us the opportunity to develop our ideas.

This type of small business is very different from the large enterprises that offer a few finished products that you select from the shelf and pay for.

It takes all of our support to create rich community resources such as Arbalest Press and Gather Here.

There are thousands of Kickstarter campaigns that could use funding, why did you chose this one?

The generosity of spirit in all the people involved with Gather Here.

The sharing of knowledge and their exquisite care—for each and every project idea that walks through the door.

This is probably the most important reason why I am backing this campaign:

I think that one of the single most rebellious acts we can perform in our times is to make something.

Since the late 1940s, our culture has focused on consumerism. We buy everything "ready made.”

And, in this sense, we relinquish a certain kind of joy in our lives—to see a wish, maybe a whimsical idea, evolve from the first blush of an idea.

It doesn’t matter whether your final creation matches the vision in your head.

What matters is that you made it—that you rode the wave of ups and downs while you figured out how to create something.

The feeling of agency that comes with making your own things is important for all of us.

It builds confidence in subtle ways that permeates all the corners of our lives.

Is there a particular reward that you think makes this campaign unique?

The reward is in helping to build a healthy community.

None of us can build a creative community of makers on our own.

We need each other. If I can help in some small way, well that’s fantastic.

What would you tell someone who isn't sure about funding a Kickstarter Campaign?

This kickstarter campaign is our modern day version of helping our neighbor build their barn.

In the past, when a neighbor lended a helping hand, she didn’t “expect” anything in return.

We build community together. Our small businesses contribute to the quality of our neighborhoods in important ways.

We want to live in vibrant communities where we can grow our ideas and our dreams.

We know how to do this—how to build community and creative ventures together.

Each small act matters. There is great power in this understanding.


Many thanks to Jeanette for suggesting we feature some of our backers. 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.