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One cycle, one sew

A social sewing project, Glasgow, 2012-13 

One cycle, One sew - Buchanan Street Glasgow. Part of 'A series of Short Lived Happenings' G.I. 2012.

One Cycle, One Sew is a portable, interactive project, exploring the playful union of a traditional sewing machine with three wheels, two pedals and a saddle. It is a simple ‘social sewing’ tool that requires the communication and collaboration of two friends or strangers to operate. One cycles, whist the other sews.


The project was inspired by DIY, the rising popularity of contemporary craft and the forgetfulness of our fingers to make and mend things for ourselves in todays capitalist culture. It also responds to my experience of teaching young girls in rural Andhra Pradesh (India) to sew on these same old sewing machines, in a village with very little electricity. Learning to sew and become tailors empowered these girls, the lessons created a safe space for the girls to connect with one another socially and the skills developed provided an alternative to child/early marriage and enabled them to become economically independent women. 

The tool is an adult tricycle with a box made to fit between the back wheels, into which fits a folding stool, small black board, umbrella and sewing materials. On the top, a 99k singer sewing machine sits embedded. In this form with a little leg effort it can all be cycled from place to place. In any chose place, public or private, the piece can be un-packed and the bicycle chain slipped off in exchange for a treadle sewing machine belt. Demanding human kinetic energy in replace of an electrical source, the machine can be easily used to sew as the tricycle sits stationary and the pedals are cycled backwards. In this way the project not only produces no carbon foot print, but aims to promote the idea of up-cycling (turning old un wanted things into new and better things, increasing their value) which is now commonly conceived to be more efficient than re-cycling (in which old un wanted things are broken down to make new things, but which have a decreased value.)


- New Contemporaries Exhibition, R.S.A. Edinburgh, (2012)

- A series of short lived happenings, Pipe factory event for Glasgow International Art Festival (2012)

- Scottish Makers Fair – Bike Zoo, Summerhall, Edinburgh (2013)

- Farmers Market, House for an Art Lover, Glasgow (2013) 

- A wide range of community festivals during 2012 / 13 including Gibson Street Gala, Govanhill Baths, Doune the Rabbit Hole.

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