Fibershed: Community Supported Cloth

fibershed-wool-and-fine-fiber-book

If you’re not familiar with Fibershed and need some inspiring reading in these uncertain times, dig in; I’ve followed Fibershed’s work for some years from a distance. Since August I have had their Fine Fiber and Wool book, above, on loan to show my students and share with my colleagues. I was lucky to meet with Fibershed, including one of the farmers, when they were in New York in October. One farm at a time, the work of Fibershed transforms soil back to its restorative capacity in carbon sequestration.

The inspiring people behind Fibershed, led by Rebecca Burgess, have been working on Community Supported Cloth for some time. I received my swatches last week; thank you! I have just placed an order for three yards. The cloth is essentially crowd-funded: we, the users of the cloth, are asked to purchase the cloth now, with April 2017 delivery. For some time I have wanted to make a zero waste suit for myself, and this cloth would lend itself well to it. That reminds me: Pablo Alejandro Maas graduated from LAMK earlier this year with a collection of zero waste suits; check him out! And please become part of the community that is Community Supported Cloth!

In Craft of Use, Kate Fletcher (2016: 142) notes that while wool accounts for 1.3% of the global fibre market*, it is the second most common fibre, after cotton, among the hundreds of stories of garment use that the Local Wisdom project gathered. It speaks to the fibre’s ability to live with its user; looked after, wool travels far even on a rocky road. My friend and colleague Otto von Busch recently wrote about mending for Surface Design Journal, and included my Norwegian cardigan, which I’ve worn and tended to since 1993. I expect to wear the cardigan until I die.

rissanen-norwegian-cardigan-swiss-darning-2015

My thanks to all of the people of Fibershed, in particular the farmers doing the work of transformation every day. You give me hope.

*despite having lived in the US for seven years now, I stick to British/Australian spelling on the blog while using American spelling at work. The intention is not to offend; I have a mixed background and embrace it in this way in my writing.

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