February 8, 2011
A cold and rainy winter morning blossomed like a meadow of wild color as we dipped and stirred our clothes into botanical brews. Dr. Sara Gottfried hosted a fabulous wardrobe reclamation at her Oakland home. The vats of steaming plant matter wafted like tea, and the hot water warmed our chilly fingers and hands.
We also made use of the Valley Oak’s renewable gifts.. the galls create an incredibly steely gray color. At this time of year they can still be found dangling from the barren branches. Known as ‘an apartment building’ for insect life, the galls host a plethora of tiny species in the larval stages during the autumn.
Toyon branches were collected from another pruning job. Leaving the berries for bird food is normally best… but if they are trimmed from the tree for the reasons of a landowner, they can be used in a dye pot to add a little added orange hue to the color.
Dr. Gottfried’s dye work is a small step in support of her overall efforts to wear and eat organic this year. Her organic experiment, as it is known, began January 1st of 2011. I’ve loved reading her blog: http://drgottfried.blogspot.com/. It is a journal that weaves together her life as a wearer and eater of organic, as well as a doctor, a hormone expert, a mother, and an astute barometer for inspiring and eye opening books.
Her evolving journey rings so true and resonant to experiences I’ve had in the Fibershed project. I also completely adore her entries on female hormones, burnout, and thyroid malfunction and its causes…. all very pertinent for those of us who tend to burn the candle at both ends. The entry that grabbed me recently was her description of receiving a garment in the depths of the winter temperatures. The organic experiment took time to evolve, and winter was already here. After a week or more of coldness…
“All changed yesterday when my organic, fair-trade sweater showed up in the mail. The world brightened. Slipped it on at the UPS store. Fit gloriously and within seconds.” –Dr. Gottfried
Self-imposed limitation creates this kind of gratitude and joy. I know this feeling so well. It is a pleasure and a gift to be able to share this feeling with Sara. I feel a sense of respect and total admiration for her efforts and journey. It’s good work, not always easy but incredibly worthwhile.
This experiment means supporting the movement away from that which has the potential to disrupt our most sacred balance, and personal energy resources. To remove the synthetic compounds from our diet and clothing is a process of giving ourselves those things we are intrinsically designed for–natural fibers, and clean food. Good for the inside, good for the outside.
Thank you Sara for inspiring, illuminating, and teaching through what you know, and most importantly, what you do.
Thank you Madeleine Tilin for you amazing photography!