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March 10, 2008


Oh, I could spend days in your archives! just wanted to add Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley to your list of organic fabric suppliers.

I was lucky enough to visit there a few weeks ago and it had 20 or so bolts of different kinds of organic cloth, including several colours of a lovely soft corduroy!

Thank you Paula, Arlee, Deb and Harmony -- and a special thanks, Harmony for the additional resources. I do agree that we have to buy less. I also think that textile art and craft people are by nature more inclined to sustainability. We've already been doing the handmade thing, for a long time, and we know what goes into it and respect the process. But the truth is, there are still deep changes that must be made. Pesticides are used on cotton in staggering amounts. Water, resources and chemicals used to produce, say, stylishly faded jeans add up to a lot of impact. This is a very complex topic, and I'm not wagging my finger at anyone or lecturing; far from it, and I hope it doesn't come off that way. I'm just saying that with a little awareness we can begin to make informed choices, ask industry to do better, and sort through some of the confusing claims.
By the way, the Washington Post had a great article a week or so ago -- I think it was called "Greed is the New Green" or something like that -- speaking exactly to Deb Fair's point about consumerism. I'll try to find it and link to it in a new post.

Thanks for your thoughtful article. I fear that the whole "organic" and "sustainable" movement is just another way to boost consumerism. I think your fourth point is the absolute best. Throwaway clothing, and other textiles, contribute more to un-sustainability, I think, than non-organic production and manufacturing. Our unrelenting lust for more and more things fuels the on-going damage. Certainly there must be some kind of balance between "sustainability" and sound economics. We are smart enough to figure this out and not continue to be duped by the advertising industry.
Please excuse my ranting, if you perceive it as such.

Thank you! I completely agree with you on items 1-5.

Some other sites you may be interested in:
http://www.tenfoldorganic.com/files/our-fabric.html - naturally (plant & minerals) dyed organic cotton from India
http://www.oliveiratextiles.com/ - fun prints on hemp and organic cotton
http://www.organiccottonplus.com/Fabrics.html - harmony art fabrics and more
http://www.pmorganics.com/ - harmony art fabrics and more

A very thoughtful and thought provoking piece--i had never thought to buy specifically "organic" as a LOT of my fabrics are actually thrifted or scrounged and re-used. This is my small way of not buying into the industry, though of course, i still have to in some cases. I'll think more next time i go to the fabric shops, and that IS a step, i hope.

I was writing about sustainable fibres a little while ago http://paulahewitt.wordpress.com/2008/01/28/blogs-i-wish-i-had-time-to-write/ - its hard to know what is best sometimes. Have you heard about the refashionistas? refashioning clothes instead of buyig new one - i just buy a little and wear it to death!

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10 Qualities of Slow Cloth, by Elaine Lipson

  • I defined Slow Cloth several years ago on this blog. Read the original post at http://lainie.typepad.com/redthread/2008/01/this-must-be-th-1.html. (Copyright Elaine Lipson 2007-2011; all rights reserved).
  • Joy
    Slow Cloth has the possibility of joy in the process. In other words, the journey matters as much as the destination.
  • Contemplation
    Slow Cloth offers the quality of meditation or contemplation in the process.
  • Skill
    Slow Cloth involves skill and has the possibility of mastery.
  • Diversity
    Slow Cloth acknowledges the rich diversity and multicultural history of textile art.
  • Teaching
    Slow Cloth honors its teachers and lineage even in its most contemporary expressions.
  • Materials
    Slow Cloth is thoughtful in its use of materials and respects their source.
  • Quality
    Slow Cloth artists, designers, crafters and artisans want to make things that last and are well-made.
  • Beauty
    It's in the eye of the beholder, yes, but it's in our nature to reach for beauty and create it where we can.
  • Community
    Slow Cloth supports community by sharing knowledge and respecting relationships.
  • Expression
    Slow Cloth is expressive of individuals and/or cultures. The human creative force is reflected and evident in the work.


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Books and Reports by Elaine Lipson

Selected Articles by Elaine Lipson