We weren’t raised to be worker cooperators; we we’re raised to be employer or an employee. You know it’s a pioneer type of thing.
Responsible producers like Ria are teaming up with regenerative farms such as Fernhill to spearhead a new appreciation of wool as a healthy, sustainable and valuable material.
Whilst awareness around the environmental impacts of global food systems and their sustainable counterparts appears to be growing, there is a widespread disconnect of perception between the state of the environment and the garments we clothe ourselves in.
This rich intertwined story of an heirloom seed, an age-old tradition, and a bright future all began when Sharon Gordon Donnan, an experienced filmmaker and textile conservator, spotted an old blanket while browsing at an antique sale in Washington, Louisiana.
Three sites were selected for continued field research into growing industrial hemp in North Carolina for 2019. Set in the rolling hills of Anson County, near Charlotte, hemp is a potential boon to a place where commodity crops and forestry are four of the top five industries. Certified hemp seed was drilled onto plots of seven acres, four acres, and nine acres, at a rate of 100 pounds per acre.
In the USA, 98 percent of all garments are now imported, compared with just five percent in 1965. Fibershed is a welcome plea for a movement to relocalize textile production, similar to that which has revived demand for local foods over the last 20 years.
Two groups on the West Coast, Chico Flax in the Sacramento Valley of California and Fibrevolution in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, are now leading the revitalization of the flax textile industry in the region. Groups in other regions of North America, such as the Cleveland Flax Project in the Rust Belt Fibershed, are also doing this work.
Encouraged by the Federal legalization of hemp in 2018, Fibershed has continued research into the versatile crop this year, deepening understanding of the plant and the fiber, prototyping hemp textile production in Northern California, supporting agroecological trials, and charting a path forward for weaving hemp into the region.
I call this place-based textile system a fibershed. Similar to a local watershed or a foodshed, a fibershed is focused on the source of the raw material, the transparency with which it is converted into clothing, and the connectivity among all parts, from soil to skin and back to soil.
Nathanael Siemens wants to bring regenerative and organic cotton to the San Joaquin Valley. He spends his mornings just walking the fields, trying to figure out what to do next, how to overcome the challenges that he faces daily from weed control to irrigation to simply getting a hold of enough seeds.
If you’re not at the helm of a fashion company, it can be difficult to discern exactly how our individual actions are part of achieving progress and ameliorating the impacts of our second skin. In the Fibershed Clothing Guide, we share how the impact a garment is defined by three key elements.
Sheng rented the studio in November, bought the looms in December, set them up in January, and started teaching classes in February. She is currently working on her business plan, and is most passionate about weaving as a form of employment.