Our last FEEDBACK FRIDAY was with National Geographic Explorers Tierney Thys (a marine conservationist), Carroll Dunham (a medical anthropologist), and Lesli Robertson (a textile educator/consultant) for “Around the World in 80 Fabrics.”
The three shared their discoveries of fabrics from nature through their project, Around the World in 80 Fabrics – from natural dyes used in Bhutanses textiles, to clay-dyed barkcloth of Uganda, and cutting edge dyes and fabrics from algae.
Watch the video of the entire presentation here.
See Carroll’s video recording of her presentation that wouldn’t load (darnit!) last Friday HERE:
With every wash, hundreds of thousands of microplastics shed off our clothes into our waterways, atmosphere and soil. There are now 500 times more pieces of plastic in our ocean than stars in the sky. Entire bio-regions are being destroyed to support increasing demands for textile resources for the fast-fashion industry. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Around the World in 80 Fabrics (ATW80F) addresses these challenges. An extraordinary revolution and revival of traditional and innovative textiles is taking place globally. Our natural world and the ingenuity of artists, makers, designers, and tradition bearers hold a myriad of fabrics in their hands that harness the power of the natural world to clothe us, from plant, to animal, to bio-based raw materials. ATW80F is a multi-year project centered on the creation of a quilt of 80 fabrics sourced from all across the globe. This quilt represents the diverse solutions that can create lasting change in how we approach fabrics in the future.
The quilt will be the center of a larger scale project that weaves together many elements to tell the story of the diversity of wondrous alternatives that exist. From the wisdom of diverse, indigenous cultures, to cutting edge innovations in recycling and biofabrication, we celebrate the quest for nature friendly solutions to fast fashion pollution. We will share some of the unique fabrics and makers we are learning about through this project.
Tierney Thys | Co-Creator
Dr. Tierney Thys is a National Geographic Explorer, biologist, filmmaker and Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences. Fascinated with fabrics since a young age, she is committed to finding sustainable fashion solutions and combining art and science to catalyze conservation. She serves on the science advisory boards for Think Beyond Plastic, the Plastic Pollution Coalition and was a past member of the TED Braintrust. As a scientist and veteran storyteller, she serves as an expert for National Geographic Expeditions and has traveled to more than 60 countries meeting and networking with amazing makers and collecting phenomenal textiles from across the globe.
Carroll Dunham | Co-Creator
Co-Founder: Wild Earth Journeys
Textile and Natural Dye Workshop Tour of Bhutan Carroll Dunham with Wild Fibers Magazine
A medical anthropologist, Buddhist chaplain, and social entrepreneur, Carroll Dunham has called Nepal home for thirty years and is founder of Wild Earth, a company that promotes Himalayan plant wisdom and provides work for women. National Geographic Expeditions leader, author of four books, she has worked on over 12 film projects for National Geographic, BBC, PBS, Channel 4. Fascinated by the natural history of textiles, with an anthropological storytelling lens, Carroll is interested in the interface of nature, culture and the people behind the fibers as we look to what we might wear as a species post petroleum.
Lesli Robertson | Outreach Director
Website: Mekeka Designs
Instagram: @leslirobertson @mekekadesigns
Lesli Robertson is an interdisciplinary textile artist and educator. She has developed an array of globally based education programs and initiatives from higher education, to short term international engagement projects, and museum based community initiatives with partners such as the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Her passion for handmade textiles has led her to work with artisans across the globe. With a special place in her heart reserved for Ugandan barkcloth, she founded and runs the company Mekeka Designs.
If you are not familiar with FEEDBACK FRIDAY, every week, we speak with dyers, artists, scientists and scholars about our favorite topic, natural dyeing and color. Curated by Amy DuFault, Botanical Colors’ Sustainability Director and presented by Botanical Colors’ Founder Kathy Hattori.
We even have our own theme song thanks to musician Jimmie Snider (click here to hear more of his music)!