Paul Nosa brings solar power, bikes, sewing to East Side Green Market
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Milwaukee farmers markets are some of the trendiest summer locales for residents who believe in living green and buying local. The markets have responded by attracting vendors and entertainers whose scope far surpasses just locally grown produce, creating a shopping and entertainment venue that warrants more attention than a quick drop in to grab some kohlrabi. One of those vendors/entertainers is Paul Nosa, an artist who will be gracing the East Side Green Market this Saturday. Not only will he grab your attention, he’ll ask you to ride his bike for him.
Nosa is an artist from Tucson, Arizona who has been traveling across the United States for the last four months on a national sewing tour. Armed with a solar-powered sewing machine and a bicycle electric generator, he creates free-motion embroidered patches based on onlookers’ suggested phrases of ﬁve words or less.
Nosa has always been attracted to the need for art to have function. In 2002, he began wrapping his drawings around glass candleholders. He briefly dabbled with putting art on clothing, but he was disappointed when the designs often faded. He wanted to make something different, and began to play with the idea of drawing with a sewing machine. “Sewing seemed like it was very real and would last a long time,” Nosa explains.
In 2005, he decided to start sewing in public, and used a solar panel to power the machine. After a year of sewing at different events, he built a bicycle electric generator so he would be able to sew any time.
The performance aspect of Nosa’s work seems to be the driving force behind his inspiration. Having made just over 5,000 sewn patches for people, there seems to be no end in sight. “I actually laughed at the initial idea of making patches, but their simplicity brought about even more designs,” he says.
Most importantly, the sewing tour is a way for him to foster creativity in the lives of participants. “I really want people to use their imagination,” says Nosa. “I sew people’s ﬁve-words-or-less scenarios. I’ve learned that adults censor their ideas—they think it has to be good. There’s so much second-guessing that ultimately nothing gets said. As an artist or alchemist, I’m trying to interpret the thoughts into a greater image. It’s a collaboration to make ideas become real.”
You can ﬁnd Nosa and many other creative makers this Saturday at the East Side Green Market, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.