Timm Ranch sheep shearing with Fibershed.
I love getting inquiries from new companies, especially from industries that I haven’t worked in very often. Today I was asked about my experience photographing textiles. At first I kind of stumbled to think of examples, but after our phone call I went digging in the laundry (hard drives) and realized that I do have a lot more experience with textiles than I thought… which I owe largely to my five years of photographing the talented artisans of Fibershed.
So here is me, putting my best wrinkle forward…
Lucky for me owning an iron isn’t a job requirement for photographing textiles… but being friends with talented stylists who do own such devices is. And from this day forward, I vow to never leave home without my stylist when photographing textiles again.
If only all photo shoots could happen at sunset, with perfectly fluffy puffy clouds, donkeys, barns, brand new tiny lambs and a community of lovely people who work to take care of them. Thank you, Fibershed, for bringing me out of my editing shell to Bodega Pastures. Look for a full Farm Story on Fibershed coming soon.
Do you know who made your jeans or where they came from?
Thanks to Fibershed’s “Grow Your Jeans” campaign, I do know who made my jeans and where they came from…
The inspiring Sally Fox grew the organic cotton in the Capay Valley,
The fearless Rebecca Burgess grew and composted the indigo at different farms around the Bay Area,
The talented Leslie Terzian wove the yarn into fabric at her studio on the Shipyard at Hunters Point, San Francisco,
And the lovable and meticulous Daniel DiSanto measured twice, designed and sewed a pair just for me at his studio in Alameda.
While this is sadly not me… this is how happy I look when I put on my new sustainable/local/custom made jeans… now I just need some tops to go with them…
If you move enough furniture and hang up a black sheet in my living room, you get this…
Ever wonder what 16 photo shoots in 12 different cities in 22 days looks like…
November 2nd: (9 am) Oakland with this lovely family.
November 4th: San Francisco with Education Outside.
November 8th: (10 am) Petaluma with this lovely family.
November 8th: (4 pm) Point Richmond with this lovely family.
November 13th: San Francisco head shots with AOC.
November 16th: Seattle with The Big Flip.
November 17th: Petaluma with this very special high school senior.
November 18th: Healdsburg for the upcoming Christmas Tree book.
November 19th: Portland with The Big Flip.
November 22nd: LA with The Big Flip.
November 23rd: LA and our very last photo shoot with The Big Flip.
Fibershed is a project that is very close to my heart.
I clearly remember the conversation Rebecca and I had in 2009 while we were sitting in the airport waiting to board a plane to one of our Harvesting Color adventures.
She told me she wanted to do so much more than teach people about natural dyes.
She was so deeply concerned about what the fashion industry was doing to the environment and to the people working in the factories that she needed to do something more.
So she decided she wanted to challenge herself for a year to only wear clothes that were created, start to finish, within 150 miles from her home… within her Fibershed.
But she told me how one of our mutual advisers had completely dismissed her idea saying that it would never be of interest to anyone outside of her small community… so Rebecca was feeling very discouraged.
I told Rebecca that she had to do it… at the height of the local and organic food movement, now was the perfect time to bring attention to the fashion industry.
But, I said, she had to make the clothes fashion-forward… otherwise she would be dismissed as just another hippie from Fairfax wearing strange brown clothes.
So we agreed it could be cool… but I don’t think either of us had any idea how cool it would become.
Four years later, Rebecca’s personal challenge has become a full fashion movement that is spreading across the country and internationally.
Rebecca’s vision has evolved in to a non-profit, a Fibershed Marketplace, and most importantly lifelong friendships between farmers and designers.
And at the Fibershed Fashion Gala, on Saturday December 14th, 2013 at Jacuzzi Winery, the “coolness” was unstoppable.
Originally I was supposed to be out-of-town on the 14th… and I was supposed to miss this event.
But my schedule changed at the last-minute allowing me to go… and the moment I walked in to the event space, I knew that there was nowhere else I was supposed to be.
It is so inspiring to see what the passion and determination of one person can lead to.
Rebecca Burgess, I am so incredibly proud of you, and I can not wait to see where Fibershed goes next.
Congratulations to all of the talented designers, the hardworking farmers, the beautiful models and the event planners. It was a fantastic event and I hope I get to work with all of you again in the future.
Rebecca brought two of her Fibershed artists…
…and the black felt jacket they made together…
…to meet the alpacas who grew the wool for the jacket…
…and the ranchers who raised the alpacas for the wool.
I am not sure who enjoyed the meeting more…
…or the artists.
But I think everyone, including the dogs, can agree that it was another super fun Fibershed adventure.
We learned, and saw, so much more than we ever thought we would…
…including all of Rebecca’s cute new leggings.
To learn more about our alpaca adventure, and Rebecca’s cute new leggings, check out Rebecca’s Fibershed blog:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
This is Sally Fox’s organic cotton growing in a field that she is letting go fallow in order to let the soil rest.
This is Sally Fox’s adorable daughter, who is the only nine-year-old in the valley.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
This is what an organic cotton field sounds like.
This is Rebecca Burgess wearing an outfit that was made solely from Sally Fox’s brown organic cotton.
Rebecca made her shirt and Rebecca’s mom made her pants. This means that Rebecca’s entire outfit was grown, spun, and sewn within 150 miles of her home in Fairfax, California.
And this is what Fibershed means. It means wearing locally grown, spun, designed and produced clothes that look and feel beautiful. It means wearing clothes that reflect the region you live in. And it means wearing clothes that do not harm the environment or the people who make them.
To help support Rebecca’s challenge to only wear clothes grown within her Fibershed for one year, please take a moment to vote for us on the Grant for Change website: http://www.nau.com/collective/grant-for-change/rebecca-burgess-1355.html
The winner gets $10,000! We need funding for this project so we can help pay farmers like Sally Fox and so we can document Rebecca’s journey in sustainable fashion. Thanks for your vote. Any little bit helps.
To learn more please visit the Fibershed website.