In smaller communities people can more easily see the effects of their own actions on each other and the environment. They can also better understand the ramifications of their choices; allowing them to take responsbility for them. Expressing community through our garment choices sews the seeds of a new type of self-reliance in fashion based on connection to people and place.
“This is a piece I dyed with a seasonal weed that grows in our neighbourhood and all over Northern California and it’s called Sourgrass or Oxalis. It’s a really great colour to work with because you don’t need a mordant [to fix the dye to the fibre], the mordant [Oxalic Acid] is actually in the plant already. Oxalis shows up pretty much when the rains start to come, like the end of November, and it stays until it starts to get dry which is the end of April… When it’s gone it’s gone and you can’t get it and you can’t preserve it so you have to use that colour then. So it’s truly the opposite of seasons of fashion because you can’t extract it on the industry side. You have to wait for nature... And when that colour disappears the very cool thing is that there’s another invasive weed in San Francisco that shows up which is Fennel and Fennel immediately a starts coming up as Sourgrass is leaving. I call this the seasonal yellow because in the dry season we use Fennel and you can get the same colour from it although you need Alum as a mordent. The yarn is made from Alpacas in our community and spun locally as well. So, it’s a nice little experiment of where things come from..."
San Francisco - April 2011
Photograph by Paige Greene