I have always loved playing with fibers. I remember going to the fabric store with my mother, running my hands along the bolts of fabric, rubbing the pieces between my fingers to compare different textures, structures and blends. I always wanted to weave but thought it was impractical, especially in our early days of apartment living, crammed into two bedrooms with three kids. So I learned garment construction, for myself, then my family, then for my dance company, then for the theatre. I learned to make art dolls and puppets, and with each new lesson I learned more about the intricacies of fabric construction as well. Buying my first loom was a natural progression, as was learning to spin. I have beat a steady path, tracing my way backwards from product to construction to material to source, back to the land itself.
The fabric I weave and the garments I make are new and unique, and have taken hundreds of years to create. I use natural fibers, which rely on healthy land management and responsible farming. I use weaving techniques and drafts built on hundreds of years of collective experience. I am inspired by the ever changing landscape of the world around me, especially the wilderness of Alaska, and by the plants and animals whose fibers are harvested for my creations. I love being one small part in the larger community of weavers, and of this beloved land.
Finding sustainable sources of fibers is becoming easier every day, but we still have a long way to go! When I first started, the only organic fibers I could find had to be imported. Hemp from China or India, organic wool from Australia, organic cotton from Egypt. I had to decide if the environmental impact of transporting those fibers half way across the world balanced the importance of reducing the impact of pesticides, processing chemicals and practices like mulesing and sheep dipping. I still use many of these products when called for, but I am excited to see sustainable fibers available closer to home. I have US grown organic cotton in stock, tho it is still hard to find. I look forward to experimenting with a few different yarns from a local spinning mill this winter, all from Alaskan bred sheep. Of course there is nothing that compares with hand spinning locally sourced luxury rovings, like qiviut and caribou fibers. My mother has begun cultivating flax here in Fairbanks as well, and I can’t wait to start experimenting with her fibers too. I love the diversity currently offered and the one of a kind items I am able to make with this opening market for sustainable goods.