With news that Russia is burning and the east coast and most of the US are sweltering in the 100's, San Francisco had record lows in July with an average high of 58 ºF. Day after day I wake up to a gloomy fog that envelopes the city. At least in the Mission District we start to see a little sunshine by 1 or 2 PM, other parts of the city never see the sun. While many of you are running the air conditioners in your studios and homes I'm running the heater. Chilly summer weather on the western coastal edge of the continent is not unrelated to the heat in the rest of the country. It's a climate pattern that is beginning to become the new norm.
While I'm shivering in my studio in August it's hard to ignore the fact of climate change or the environmental impact of my studio practice. I have cut down my consumption of new materials. Most of my quilting materials are culled from used clothing and other people's scraps. My one seriously guilty pleasure is the use of chemically, hand-dyed fabrics. Then there is the use of the iron and electric sewing machine, the studio lights, the ten minute commute...
At it's roots crafting can be completely green. I have a friend, Melinda Stone, who is making a pair of linen underwear. First she grew flax on her organic farm in Humbolt County. Then she cleaned it, conditioned it and spun it into thread. Now she's weaving it into linen for the underwear. It's a two year project! Check out Melinda's clearing house of offbeat, urban-rural How-To-Homestead videos, and her off the grid ranch, Stone Lake Farm.
Another amazing project located in Northern California is Fibershed, a collective of artists working together with the goal:
to create a bioregional wardrobe that will be lived in for one year and made completely from fibers and natural dyes that are solely sourced within a geographical region no larger than 150 miles from [our] front door.
Like Melinda, they are starting the craft process from seed. They are growing cotton, indigo for natural dyes, and spinning wool resourced from local environmentally sustainable homesteads.
I love that craft has gone full circle. Practiced in it's purest and original form it is now on the cutting edge of environmental activism and social practice.
Rowing the Boat:
If you are concerned about climate change, how has your concern affected your creative practice and choices, or not? What "green" sustainable craft blogs or projects do you follow?