This week’s FEEDBACK FRIDAY was with Sarah Pottle and Jess Boeke, twin sisters from Cleveland, OH, who are natural dyers, educators, activists, and are the co-founders of the Rust Belt Fibershed and Drift Lab Dye Studio.
Watch the video recording here:
Links we promised to put here:
Rust Belt Fibershed
Drift Lab Textile Co.
Chico Flax webinar
Fibrevolution (more flax farming in the US!)
Fibershed video: Black Fiber Systems: with Teju Adisa-Farrar, Sha’Mira Covington, and Amber Tamm
Call of the Reed Warbler-A New Agriculture, A New Earth, by Charles Massy
Fibershed: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economy, by Rebecca Burgess, Founder of Fibershed
Sarah and Jess shared how through the Rust Belt Fibershed, natural dyes, textiles, and community projects can be one effective entry point to systemic change. They also discussed how stewardship is the anchor of their projects, and how integrated relationships with living beings and the beauty of a place can transform siloed, mechanical systems into regenerative, living ecosystems.
Sarah and Jess’s path to Fibershed began with an interest in reupholstering furniture, leading to many questions about fabric and morphing into an obsession with plant dyes and the creation of Drift Lab Textile Co in 2010. As Drift Lab quickly evolved from selling plant-dyed goods into workshops, collaborations, and community engagement, the concept of stewardship started taking center-stage and the Rust Belt Fibershed–a bioregional textile community growing hope and resilience through local fiber, local color, and local labor–was founded in late 2017. In 2019, Jess and Sarah–public school educators by day, founded Grounded Teaching as a way to integrate regenerative systems-design and place-based creativity into the public school system.
Through their work, Jess and Sarah aim to integrate seemingly disconnected parts of the whole. Their practices are rooted in rhythm, color, and place and take shape in the form of discussion, teachings, and other artforms that are always growing.
The two also focus on improving the quality of life for the teachers in our educational system through Grounded Teaching.
NEXT WEEK we’ll be talking with textile researcher/artist Ayobami Adeyemo.
Ayobami Adeyemo is a textile researcher/artist who studies and experiments with different dyestuffs and textile making processes. He has worked on the Indigo Shade Map team to research and study different plants that produce indigo all over the world. As of now, he is managing his own personal project dubbed “Ore mi” which is Yoruba for “my friend” as a means of learning more about natural dye processes and communication through textiles.
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 and Social Media Director and presented by Botanical Colors’ Founder Kathy Hattori.
We even have our own theme song thanks to musician (and Amy’s husband) Jimmie Snider!