Let me tell you the story of how we came to have Ampersand leggings.
I’ve been a fan of Amanda Palmer’s music since 2006 when I discovered the song “Coin-Operated Boy” by the Dresden Dolls. I liked the theatrical story telling in her songs and the piano+drums instrumentation. I grew up doing theatre and also play piano, so her music hit me in all the right spots. I insisted on playing “Coin-Operated Boy” for everyone who came to my dorm room freshman year of college. Then I lost track of her for a while until Jenny Lawson posted the video for “In My Mind” in her blog and I fell in love all over again. Amanda knows herself well and writes songs that sound like her, not like somebody else. She is not afraid of showing too much — soul or skin. As is always true in fiction, the more personal and specific the story is, the more universal truths that story will point to, and that’s what I get from her best songs.
Bombsheller was connected to Amanda last year through Linda Stone and I had a real fan-girl moment getting to choose what design to send her. At the time we probably had almost two hundred designs (now we have over three hundred). Which one was right for Amanda Fucking Palmer?? I went with #LifeAndDeath, a darker design adapted from the painting of the same title by Gustav Klimt. It’s a little grim and a lot philosophical, so not everyone can pull them off. She liked them.
When she announced her book tour I was thrilled to find Seattle on the list for November and immediately bought tickets. (I also may or may not have written a ragtime tune and forced my coworkers to learn it, sing it, and film it so we could send it to her. It may or may not have been posted to YouTube. It may or may not have been seen by anyone.) It was a beautiful show/reading, and during the book signing I introduced myself and we exchanged emails with the idea to do something artful with leggings. I believe Amanda’s exact words were “Let’s do something weird.”
Considering where that sentence could have led us, we ended up with something surprisingly tame. In her emails, Amanda asked if we could make an ampersand design with an AFP monogram, so Evan jumped on the task and mocked up several variations. In March Dinah and I drove up to see her TED show in Vancouver (where our phones stopped working and we lost my car for a day). We each wore different prototypes and brought print samples of the other styles (this print sample now lives on my bedroom wall). Amanda picked her favorite color & favorite initials, and that’s what’s in the catalog now! Every time this design sells, $10 goes to Amanda, so if you haven’t bought her book, downloaded her music, or backed her on Patreon, you can still support an inspiring artist and my badass lady idol through Bombsheller.
And here’s a part of the story I never told anyone… In September 2013, I made a Mondo Beyondo dream list of impossible wishes for my life. I hid it away in a drawer to let the Universe find it and make it happen. The first wish to come true is meeting Amanda Palmer <3