Sewing many masks, I was introduced first hand the the mass of scraps that could build up when you sew more than one of something. I began to take inventory of the kinds of waste (thread, fabric yardage, needles, packaging scraps) that went into shipping one item. There are of course ways, and places that it is easy to cut back on this waste. Scraps can be collected and resewn to create new yardage, or stunning quilts a la Gee's Bend. I did in fact sew a small quilt with my first round of floral and blue scraps for my cousin Megan's new baby Aya. I designed smaller products like the Gemstone Tiny Bag to make use of smaller pieces, I collected the scraps of others to give new life...still scraps abound!
While sewing and thinking about how to minimize the waste I create with my work, I have found it refreshing and inspiring to listen to others who are serving the environment with what and how they do. I am sure you'll find something in this list of podcasts as well.
Horned Larks from 1904 (top) and 1966 (bottom), The Field Museum. Carl Fuldner and Shane DuBay
Nate Demaio takes us on a trip to a history museum with scientists Carl Fuldner and Shane DuBay who study the bellies of its preserved bird collection. Variations in the soot on their bellies serve as a visual indicator of how polluted the skies were during coal powered industrial revolution. As bellies lighten and skies become clear of coal soot we meet optimism, but our ecological story does not end there.
The Memory Palace
8 min listen
The Church Forests of Ethiopia
image via https://churchforests.org/
Seen along the dry agricultural landscape like thousands of tiny islands of green are Ethiopia's Church Forests. In the Highlands, an area that was once full of diverse forest, Dr. Alemayehu Wassie dedicates his work to preserving what remains. Here, in the Indigenous Orthodox Tradition, forests are viewed as an important part of the church, standing as a symbol of the garden of Eden. I was awed by the beauty of this religious understanding, the value placed on the protection, guidance, and healing that could be offered humbly by the trees. In this narrated essay, you get to visit several Church Forests and understand the impact protecting them, in return, is having on ecology and their communities.
Essay written and read by Fred Bahnsen
1 hr 11 min listen
Mend!: an interview with Kate Sekules
multi darn cardigan by Kate Sekules via www.photobookmagazine.com
If you have a needle, thread, and garment which has seen better days you are set up to mend. Of course as with anything, practise, and an open researched mind will provide new and more elaborate mending potential - but at the root, mending is simply achieved with a dedication of time. In this conversation between April Calahan and Kate Sekules we get a look from the history of mending to what contemporary menders are adding to the history of the practise. As we are caught in modern wheels of consumption and can simply buy more, according to Kate, "mending equals community, also mending equals activism". Thank you Dressed for another lovely episode with an interesting guest!
Dressed: The History of Fashion
1 hr 4 min listen
Anna Heringer, Eike Roswag's Handmade School, Rudrapur, Bangladesh
Bamboo, and earth come together to form crisp buildings in Bangladesh under the architectural guidance of Anna Heringer and Eike Roswag. This practise allows the embracing of the vulnerabilities of the material as it exists in each environment. The buildings are designed to honour local techniques, climate, and mud. The flattening effect of glass and metal architecture that relies on modern materials can be seen in cities across the world. To Anna, "Cultural identity was working with local materials and respecting the local climate, understanding how the material reacts to that climate". Understanding this, and working with materials that can be recycled literally back into the earth and place they are serving is a great reminder that thinking ecologically and communally is a practise we can all bring into the work we do.
38 min listen
I hope you enjoy this series of podcasts, they are all episodes that I have returned to, to glean further insight from their conversation.