Community of Artisans

August 1, 2010

A group of artists and designers from the Fibershed project came together on a foggy Fairfax morning– that within hours became a gorgeous sun-filled afternoon.  Designers Mali Mrozinski and Dyan Ashby prepare wool for combing on Katherine Jolda’s bicycle powered drum carder…

The Fibershed project continues to evolve and nurture a variety of our goals and visions for a cleaner and more community centered way of life.  Most of us work rather independently within the world of textiles–  it is a great alchemy and fusion when we can come together to learn, create, and share new skills.

Our teacher, Katherine Jolda– the owner and operator of Felt the Sun, designed and built her own bicycle powered drum carder to comb the wool and prepare it for felting.  With a shortage of mills in the immediate area (minus the wonderful Yolo mill), many of us working with the material are in search of ways to process it in efficiently.  The human powered carder can make a 5oz. batt of wool in just minutes!

Katherine spent  6 years on the Navajo reservation, working in a farm-based diabetes prevention program– and during this time built an intricate relationship with the churro sheep and the families that cared for them.

This pre-felted piece was all laid out and ready to felt just before this picture was taken.  This piece makes use of both the churro and the by-product wool from Marin County.

Some finishing touches are being placed on what will become a kundalini mat in Amber Elandt’s Muir Beach home.  Amber is a designer, and raw food chef that just finished an amazing hooded sweater design for the Fibershed wardrobe.

Sue Warhaftig is seen her working her wool into felt.  Sue is a knitter, massage therapist, mother, gardener, canner, and picks up new skills very quickly.

As evidenced by this incredible fedora she completed in just one afternoon!

Molly de Vries the founder of the Fabric Society, and the designer of Furo Shiki fabric products completed a beautiful indigo dyed felted beret. It was just a bit too wet to put on the head.

Molly, her husband and three children have begun a project to live without the use of plastic packaging for a year, she has entitled it the non-disposable life. They are using the Furo Shiki fabric pieces to transport food from farmer’s markets to their Mill Valley home.

The bicycle powered drum carder in action.

Susan Hayes, the designer and owner of Point Reyes Station’s Susan Hayes Handwoven’s is seen here with the wooden mat, agitating the wool into it’s soon-to-be felted form.

These are the talented hands of Erin O’Reilly of the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, CA.  Erin made a beautiful coffeeberry washed felted pouch.

In the process of coming together as a community, we became inspired by one another’s talents and enduring commitment to keeping these skills alive.  Erin, like all of us, value these community experiences greatly; and yet, she has been taking her commitment a step further– by putting countless hours into organizing a series of re-skilling classes that will be offered by RDI this autumn (some of the textile classes will be offered as soon as this September).

Through the process of skill-sharing we are brought into a place of working, communicating, and enjoying one another’s company, in such a way  that we not only enhance our own personal internal experience– but simultaneously we build a network of friendship, knowledge, and practical skill that simplify and bring ease and bounty to our lives.


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One Response to “Community of Artisans”

  1. velma Says:

    this looks terrific. what a group! and the good fibrations are palpable!


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