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Monthly Maker: Eppchez Yo-Sí Yes

Website: AlmasEngine.com

I am a performance artist, designer, and change agent committed to stewardship of our planet and equity through story-making and compassionate economic practices. I am a proud queer mongrel, a Cuban and Jewish Quaker. I identify strongly with the magic and whimsy of trolls and clowns. I have more than a decade of experience with the Quaker business processes and am very involved in developing strategies for noticing and shifting systemic patterns that uphold toxic power dynamics within Quakerism as well as in Philadelphia’s Theatre Community. I work as a playwright and performer collaborating with companies such as Swim Pony, Pig Iron, and Applied Mechanics, and also self-produced theater and music since 2012 as Alma’s Engine. In 2017 I began designing wearable art objects to further conversations around gender self-determination. I called this trans-empowerment project Darb Garb and received a 2018 Art & Change grant and the 2019 Art & Technology Residency from The Leeway Foundation to grow Darb Garb’s impact. I’ve been prototyping designs and developing fabrication processes at NextFab since 2018.

Currently, I’m designing an alternative chest binding garment that works with the body to create affirming pectoral shapes, prioritizing comfort and lines that are unobtrusive under any shirt style. To accomplish all this I’m not only working through many iterations of my pattern but also experimenting with what materials can best meet these demands. I have been experimenting with many materials. My favorite so far is a leather-like material that I am making at home by brewing kombucha and drying and treating the cellulose mat that grows on the surface of my brewing container.

I am committed to creating garments that can be fit to function well for any body type. Of course, this is a huge challenge and requires a lot of trial and error and fabricating practice to get right. Increasing visibility and making my work available to the people who will benefit from these innovations is the next exciting challenge.

I want to empower gender-expansive people to dream about what clothing should be able to do for us and create solutions that really work to help people shapeshift into themselves. I am growing this project into a thriving workers-cooperative; a revolution in self-determination and sexual agency.

Leeway Artist Resident Talk 
March 26 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Eppchez will go over what they’re working on, and how NextFab has helped and will lead a discussion on how the trans experience is impacted by the fashion industry and how it can do better. This talk is free and open to the public.

Eppchez explores themes around gender self-determination and more in their work.