Kostüm Pop Up Designer: Long Cool Hallway Poetry & Pottery
In order to get to know Long Cool Hallway a bit better we asked a few questions, and here’s what we learned:
My usual answer to this question is “this and that.”
Since 2014, I’ve worked seasonally as an outdoor educator, teaching young people wilderness skills from day-hiking to backpacking to rock climbing. It’s taken me from Pinnacles National Park in our own backyard to the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico to the Southern Talkeetna Mountains in Alaska.
I’m also a freelance video and audio transcriptionist. I’ve been able to work on footage for some incredible projects, the first of which was American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, way back in 2009.
I also recently joined the Bridges Rock Gym staff and am excited to deepen my relationship with their community.
2. How did you get to this point in your career?
Before 2014, I worked primarily in nonprofit administration.
My gateway to becoming an outdoor educator was a program called Girlz Climb On, run by San Francisco-based GirlVentures. I was a volunteer mentor in the 10-week program, then worked as their part-time Admissions Associate, and then the Program Director at the time invited me to be an instructor on a 4-day backpacking course in Point Reyes in 2014. I was hooked.
(Enrollment in Girlventures’ summer programs is starting now, by the way! They have courses for 5th to 12th graders.)
I took my first ceramics class at Laney College in 2014, using the Segal Education Award I received after serving as a Los Angeles Public Ally 2011-2012.
While this path is not easy, I must acknowledge the privilege I have as an able-bodied, cisgender, college-educated person whose parents do not depend on me financially, which affords me more mental and emotional space to manage this life.
3. What are you passionate about?
The idea of intimacy— with objects, processes, people.
Supporting folks in articulating and actualizing their desires and possibilities.
4. What feeds you creatively? (If different than number 3)
5. What is one of your favorite aspects of Oakland (or area of the Bay in which you live)?
I love the smallness of Oakland, which is a contrast to the sprawl of Southern California where I grew up. To be able to move is a privilege I don’t take lightly, and I’m grateful for the people around me with whom I can grapple with questions of displacement and gentrification— familiar questions to me from my 5 years in Downtown Los Angeles.
6. How do you feel most connected to Oakland (whether it’s the people, culture, environment, etc.)?
I love that there is a large community of queer and trans people of color here. I love the energy around political and social engagement that exists here, the sense that many people are in active investigation of what might be possible to make our world more just. And that there are many people who, like me, cobble together lives of “this and that” and art and activism.
7. How is fashion a part of your daily life?
My aesthetic for daily wear is on the scruffier side. I love wool sweaters and comfortable jeans. My hiking boots make foot travel around Oakland’s concrete much more bearable. I’m tempted to attribute my scruffiness to being a climber and outdoor educator, but I was scruffy long before those activities came into my life.
When it comes to clay or chapbooks, I have strong feelings about proportions, texture, lighting, angles, curves. I meander through Instagram quite a bit for inspiration (daily… hourly…) and take note of what seem to be aesthetic trends in pottery and also in poetry.
Some of it is similar to what I like to make and write, and some of it vastly different. There is so much wonderful work being made in the world.
8. What do you hope Kostümers walk away with after seeing or purchasing your poetry and/or pottery?
Simply put, I hope they feel good after seeing, touching, and/or bringing my work home.
I’ve found such magic and healing in making; I hope they’re inspired to make things with their own hands if they don’t already.
I hope that they’ll perhaps find new or greater value in what they do make, whether it’s art or craft or food.
Here is also a link to a video of me throwing, where the audio is me reading a poem from my newest chapbook: https://www.
If you take post photos of my work on social media, let me know by using #longcoolhallway
My latest chapbook is make / mend (2016).
Browse my work on Instagram @narinda___ (that’s three underscores)