Murmurations: Abigail Buzbee

We met Seattle-based researcher, writer, and apparel designer Abigail Buzbee what seems like ages ago, at an art show. Upon introduction we were struck by how perfectly her name fit her vocation. Sometimes it’s that simple, isn’t it? Abigail Buzbee just sounds like someone who runs a cerebral yet animated clothing label with an accompanying fashion/art publication. Novella, Abigail’s likewise perfectly named project, is an “annual-ish” collection of vintage, new, and in-between pieces; the first iteration of the thematically paired magazine is set to launch this summer. 

Out of this current turn of events has come another project, ThirdPlace, created in collaboration with her partner, designer and photographer Ryan Hunt. Every Sunday, a virtual reading room attempts to transcend lockdown, furloughs, lay-offs, and cultural closures by recreating the experience of reading and people watching in cafes like their favorite, the Central District cafe and bar PRUF. You’re invited to join ThirdPlace each Sunday via Zoom between 1pm and 4pm with the Meeting Number 221 675 6620 and the password “books.” 

Until then, we asked Abigail to share some thoughts on the theme of REUNIONS. She one-upped the request by including some recent collages as well. “I miss a cafe,” Abigail told us. “It was a safe place. I would read there, and dream up things, and talk to people. Mostly just watch people. Every time was different. In a cafe you could, as Nick wishes in The Great Gatsby, ‘look squarely at everyone, and yet...avoid all eyes.’” 

“So many different hands holding cups and saucers, different ears, eyes, noses, voices,” she continued. “My personal landscape is all too predictable; I know all its peaks and valleys. In an unprecedented time of not knowing, there is a lot of already knowing, you know? This is what my cafe was good for. I never found what I was looking for, and that was what I liked best of all.” 

“I collaged a few images that are comforting me lately, loosely based around the theme of people watching, and tactile encounters. I can’t wait to feel and see and hear you all again. In the meantime, these photographs will do. All images torn from Luncheon and Holiday magazines.”