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Fibershed Lecture

Fibershed: the Arc of Texture and Color Derived from a Regional Land Base

Presented by Rebecca Burgess Saturday, January 18, 2020, 10 am Koret Auditorium, de Young Museum

Admission: Free for current members of the TAC; $5 for students and members of FAMSF; $10 General Admission. Cash or checks only.

Exploring the agro-ecological and social cultural depth of this strategic geography has become the life’s work of presenter, Rebecca Burgess. In this presentation, Burgess will expand on her personal work to live within the Fibershed that she calls home and will share select agro-cultural narratives from Fibershed landscapes emerging in all corners of the world.

The processes and phases responsible for getting us dressed each day produce more carbon and greenhouse gas emissions than international and maritime shipping combined. The pace of production and consumption has accelerated so quickly since the beginning of the 21st century, that if we look at the global scale of waste streams— one garbage truck of textiles goes into the landfill or incinerator every second.

Our clothes need not come at the cost of human and planetary health and wellbeing. Through the work to both slow down our consumption and simultaneously re-connect to the life giving textile resources within a strategic geography we can begin to re-sensitize our selves to the working landscapes and processes that generate our second skin. The word that has been coined to describe this strategic geography is known as a Fibershed.

Fibersheds are landscapes that produce an arc of color and texture that define the aesthetic foundation of a textile. The concept of ‘sheds’ as applied to material culture is an ancient one—before colonization and then fossil carbon usage were deployed to speed up the movement and concentration of material resources into centralized supply chains—humans had developed well honed and advanced place-based systems for the procurement of food, fiber, flora and fuel.

In North Central California 3.1 million pounds of wool and 250 million pounds of cotton, a smattering of emerging indigo, hemp and flax growers and a host of small mills, felters, knitters, weavers, designers and cut & sewers define the growing and processing of our region’s Fibershed.

Rebecca Burgess is the Executive Director of the 501c3 non-profit organization, Fibershed. The organization’s mission is to develop regional fiber systems that build soil and protect the health of our biosphere.

Image Credit: courtesy of Rebecca Burgess.


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