Transition Café: “How will we clothe ourselves in 2030?”

When the Fibreshed had a display at the One Straw Society’s Fall Faire in October (see blog October 16) we met Leonie Croy of the Sunshine Coast in Transition and found that our groups’ core beliefs had much in common.  This connection led to the Fibreshed being invited to make a presentation at their Transition Café evening hosted at Wheatberries Bakery in Gibsons on November 18th.


We prepared a wonderful display of local fibres, local dyes and work by local artisans to share with the small but highly interested group of Transition Town members in a warm and cozy venue.  Lynda D., Merrily, Dorothy and Joan F. joined me to complete our display and add to the night’s presentation.  The amazing array of the beautiful colours from locally grown and harvested dye plants was a wonderful part of the evening with deep thanks to Roberta and Heather for their added botanical alchemy.


Sunshine Coast in Transition is a group of volunteers on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, (one on the lower coast and one in Powell River), who are inspired toward positive action by the global Transition Network which began in 2006 in Southern England.  Their collective mandate is to raise awareness about oil and climate change, build partnerships, and vision a positive future with local food resilience, transportation and energy alternatives, local business and economics, and sustainable housing, health and education.


During our presentation we each spoke about ourselves as women reaching a time in our lives where our creative fulfillment through fibre arts is sustaining us in a personal and collaborative way through our membership in the Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild and all that it offers.  The Fibreshed, a project of the Guild, is in line with the Transition Town – dedicated to local fibres, local dyes and local labour.  We spoke of how in 1965 ninety-five percent of the clothing in a North American closet was made in North America while today less than five percent of our clothes are made here.  We have off-shored the effects of our consumption which has led to a great disconnect with the environmental and social costs of our clothing and textiles.


We shared our delight in how fibres are now being locally produced with alpaca from Thormanby Island and Kleindale, llama from Madeira Park and most recently Icelandic fleece from Langdale.  In 2013 we started with one little fleece from an unknown breed of sheep in Roberts Creek named Olivia and we are now completely processing four beautiful Icelandic fleeces into garments and accessories to be showcased at our Fibres Plus Sale in 2015.


Proudly we shared with the group the video by Ron McInnis showing the shearing of Round Table Farm’s Icelandic Sheep.  We were delighted that Leila Bee of Round Table Farm who was featured in the video was present at the Café.  We demonstrated the enhanced quality of fibre that comes from caring for the land, the plants and the animals with principals of ecological balance, local economies and regional organic agriculture.  We shall now wash, comb, card, spin, dye and weave or knit these quality fibres into beautiful clothing for now and 2030, believing that the best way to preserve traditions is to continue using them and giving them new life.


Making things brings us together.


Deanna B. Pilling
Pictures by Dana Wilson, Sunshine Coast in Transition

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