Meet the Teams: Katherine Shozawa and Churchville Fabrics

Ten years ago, Katherine Shozawa began to turn her artistic focus to labor and labor practices, specifically garment workers in sweatshops.

A two-year resident of Philadelphia formerly from Vancouver, British Columbia, Shozawa told the Structure and Surface group that living in Long Island above a hat factory, and working in a lower Manhattan studio across the street from a garment shop, helped her find a new artistic direction.

“I’d look out the window of the studio, seeing primarily Chinese immigrant women at work,” she said. “It really informed my work.”

Some of the pieces she has created are recreations of immigrant living situations, such as World War II-era internment camps, to a study of objects and household items found in Seattle’s Japantown from around the turn of the century.

Shozawa is paired with Churchville Fabrics, which also specializes in re-creations; they work on antique automobile upholstering.

Churchville General Manager Bob Indoe told the group that his boss “used to go down south, by old auto upholstery shops, come back up with sample books. We recreate the originals as best we can.”

The Churchville mill itself is from 1960 ( “all my equipment is old,” says Indoe), and also makes felt products for war reenactors.

Indoe’s roots lie in the label trade, making patches for American Greetings and Disney in Patterson, New Jersey. That’s where he started a loom repair business with his brother, which grew into a silk-screen printing operation, which grew into label-making.

“When I started there were approximately five label companies in Patterson NJ,” he said. “There are none left.”

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