This is Zara Franks, creator of Venn Apparel, in her impromptu outdoor studio in Berkeley, California.
Zara is one of the talented fiber artists contributing to Rebecca’s fibershed wardrobe.
And these are two pieces Zara created for Rebecca, with wool that Rebecca acquired from Kenny, a farmer in Mill Valley, who raises his sheep just 21.7 miles away from Zara’s home.
Zara was kind enough to meet with us and show us how she creates her magic…
She makes it look easy, but I am not fooled. It takes more than a machine to make the lovely pieces that Zara creates.
After our visit with Zara, we scooped her up and took her to meet Kenny and his sheep at The Woolly Egg Ranch.
Kenny raises his sheep for meat, not wool. Meat sheep typically do not have the quality of wool that knitters want to use. So until Kenny met Rebecca, he threw away the wool after the sheep were sheared because he didn’t know what else to do with it.
And now Kenny, excited about the new potential market for his sheep, is looking into breeding his meat sheep with wool sheep, so ultimately he will have two products to sell.
The fiber artists, who Rebecca is working with, were very excited to meet the sheep responsible for the wool they are using.
And they were excited to meet Kenny, the biodiesel making, chicken farming, sheep herding, stage building man of many hats.
As an extra bonus to Rebecca’s fibershed challenge, to keep her wardrobe entirely locally grown and produced for one year, Kenny makes his own biodiesel fuel out of leftover grease from a local Chinese restaurant.
So the lifecycle of these these two pieces of clothing goes… from sheep on a biodiesel fueled farm in Mill Valley, to a mill in Yolo County, to Rebecca in Fairfax (where part of the wool is dyed with indigo that was grown in Fairfax), to Zara in Berkeley.
By my googlemap calculations, that equals about 198 miles from start to finish. It is hard to get clothes with a smaller carbon footprint than that.
And it is especially hard to find sustainable clothes that are as stylishly fantastic as these.
For more information on Fibershed hats.. email Zara, at email@example.com