Sunday, November 16, 2014
We did it! A new and much smaller fundraising goal, and a new video called Winter Moose II. We have chosen some small, key steps to reach our long term goals, and with your help ($5) we can accomplish them. I drew more than a dozen illustrations for this video, and my daughter assisted in taking the footage, as well as flipping slides, updating posters and so much more. I hope you enjoy our work. Here is the link:
Monday, November 10, 2014
Friday, October 17, 2014
A Vermont designer takes up the regional textile challenge.
Many of us show support for our neighbors and community by buying at farmers’ markets and locally owned businesses. We have changed where we put our dollars, and shifted our shopping bags from plastic to paper or cloth. Some of us even make a point of buying hemp or organic cotton garments. While “going green” by looking at a garment’s tag seems easy, the reality of textile production is very complex.
The fiber in most hemp and organic cotton garments found in the U.S.A. is grown and processed on the other side of the world. The majority of natural fibers today are saturated with formaldehyde solutions, pesticides (via permanent adhesives), and synthetic dyes that are health hazards for the environment and all who live in it. Synthetic dyes are near the top when it comes to the largest environmental polluters.
So, as concerned people, who want to show respect for the earth and our neighbors, what can we do?
A New Face to American Textiles
There is a growing interest among both farmers and designers in environmentally friendly textile production. In the past decade, new processing mills have sprouted up in many states across the nation, and at least one weaving mill has been saved from being auctioned overseas. These little mills, that make yarn from regional fiber, serve as hubs for connecting the dots between raw fibers and regional textiles. Isolated networks of textile development are growing and beginning to connect with each other.
Several people have developed ambitious projects and organizations to raise awareness about locally produced fiber, yarn, and knit and woven fabrics. Names like Fibershed, Slow Cloth and Farm2Fashion are taking hold in many states.
Revitalizing the Vermont Textile Tradition With a Kickstarter Fundraiser
My project, Winter Moose, is based in Vermont. The textile mills here were large and productive, but from the 1950s onward there was a steep decline. Now we are a region full of hand weavers, echoing the state of textile production in the late 1700s. Winter Moose is a Kickstarter fundraiser to show what we are capable of right now.
Locally Grown Fiber and Dyes
Beginning with the farmer’s, I have started to gather alpaca and sheep fiber. We plan on using a Vermont carding and spinning mill with the ability to process organically. Color will be added to some of the yarn by local dyers who grow their own dyes, or who use plant dyes grown in the U.S.A.. Most of the yarn colors, however, will be mixtures of naturally grown colored fiber.
Rt top: Alpacas of many colors.
Rt bottom: These shades were created with madder;
Rt bottom: These shades were created with madder;
a root that grows in Vermont.
Winter Moose will Weave the Industry Together at a Regional Level
Professional weavers, from all parts of Vermont, will take this yarn and create cloth destined for fifteen coats and several hats and bags, that my daughter and I have designed.
(See the Winter Moose Kickstarter or wintermoose.com for a video of our designs). When the cloth comes off the loom, I will sample test various natural finishing processes. Then I will work the yardage by hand and machine until it is properly fulled, teased, shorn, collandered and otherwise finished and ready for cutting.
As the main designer, I will be creating the initial patterns for each item to be sewn. Then local professional seamstresses and stitchers will cut and sew the garments, adding handmade wooden buttons and a 100% organic cotton lining, grown and processed in the U.S.A. if possible. Zippers, threads, and other notions, will be sourced in the U.S.A., if not found in Vermont.
Community Building and Research
Creating the Winter Moose fabric is about connecting masters and experts who have not worked together before. It is about learning the strengths and weaknesses of one geographic region, and helping to rebuild what has been lost. For example, the finishing techniques for woolen goods, that were part of the first mills in Vermont, are no longer available in all of New England. This is an opportunity to add new innovation to the revival of old traditions. By combining research with ingenuity, I think we can weave a community around a local industry that has a rich history in the area.
With Winter Moose, I aim to assist in building connection and mutual economic support between the farmers, spinners, weavers, designers and stitchers of Vermont, while planning for new technologies to accomplish traditional processes.
Rt: Merino sheep. The initial textiles for
Winter Moose will be almost 50% Merino.
For Winter Moose,
Education is a Top Priority
Educational efforts will include sharing information about environmentally sound practices, cross-sector interface and efficiency, skills training and consumer education.
Over the past five years, through research and networking, I have already stimulated a new environmental awareness among some fiber farmers and mill owners. In honor of those thousands of people who have severe, negative health affects from formaldehyde and pesticide exposures, I am committed to making Winter Moose fabric as natural as possible. In today’s world, this is a challenge.
Creating a Purely Natural Textile
People need reminding about how pervasive synthetic adhesives are in our culture. Winter Moose fibers must never have contact with “bug proofing” dryer sheets or chemical baths of synthetic pesticides and preservatives. Work spaces and storage units must be free of synthetic fragrances, deodorizers and “air fresheners”. I want Winter Moose textiles to be safe for the chemically injured of our society, and provide a pure and natural alternative to the toxic load so typical in today’s “natural” fibers. To be involved in Winter Moose, people must use only natural products, which fosters awareness, and adds support to other sustainable and all natural businesses.
Rt: Runway fashion from1970
Establishing Networks and Best Practices
Education is also key in assisting diverse sectors to work more efficiently together. I have already supported this by writing a pamphlet to help farmers better prepare their fiber for the mills. I designed this pamphlet to include suggestions and requests, from three Vermont processing mills.
Integrating Vermont’s Refugees
Bringing new talent and skills to the industry through the Refugee Resettlement Program in Vermont is also a goal of the Winter Moose project. Minimal training could fill a need for efficient, mobile, fiber skirting and sorting teams. The Winter Moose project may also provide career opportunities for refugees with preexisting skills in tailoring and weaving.
From Fields to the Runway...
The coats themselves are a grand education campaign. If I succeed at raising the necessary funds on the Winter Moose Kickstarter, I will take the finished coats on a tour to raise awareness about the importance of regional, traditional textiles. I think people would like to better understand how their textile choices affect the economy, the environment and their health.
Keeping it Close to Home
Next time you think about purchasing a “green” item made of cloth, I hope you will pause and look around you.
By supporting your local fiber farmers, yarn mills and garment makers, you will be doing much more for your community, and the environment, than by buying organic cotton or hemp grown on the other side of the world, dyed in many baths of toxic chemicals, and shipped to the U.S.A.
You might be pleasantly surprised by who your local weaver is.
By Ishana Ingerman
For questions, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
To support the Winter Moose project, click on the links below.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Come and hear a bit of my journey, so far!
The 20 steps from Field to Fashion
A one hour seminar on October 18th
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the
Green Mountain Alpaca Fall Spectacular
"Ishana Ingerman is a Burlington designer, artist and organizer working on regional textile development. As a part of her Winter Moose Coats Project, she has traveled around Vermont to learn about the many steps involved in textile and garment manufacture. Come and learn about the 20 steps she has identified, and the opportunities to make sustainable or nontoxic choices along the way."
PLEASE refrain from wearing any synthetic fragrances. All natural essential oils are not a problem. Thank you.
New Photos on Fine Art America
Fall is here in all it's glory. I have posted some photos I took recently on Fine Art America. They are now available as simple and customizable greeting cards as well as prints and canvases. Have a look at a few pictures here:
The picture bellow was a blessing on my trip to Bristol, VT, today - to visit a new yarn store! I did purchase some yarn that my daughter has promised to knit up into a hat for me. Llama and silk. Mmm. (I do love to knit, but I have been too busy working on Winter Moose to commit to a new project.) As a result of my jaunt into Bristol, I met with a well established and excellent artist and artisan, Reed A. Prescott III. I took one look at his fine, handcrafted wood buttons, and knew that they were the ones I wanted for the Winter Moose coats. A very happy connection.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Today, we finally launched the Winter Moose Kickstarter with all the right pieces in place - and we are very excited about it. My daughter spent several hours, helping with the re-launch, and it is now open for donations. She also has donated her graphic design skill for our new poster. I hope you will spread the news about our fundraiser!
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Please welcome the Winter Moose Kickstarter! Five years in the making...
Monday, August 18, 2014
Here is the latest summary of my Winter Moose Coat Project. One more rough edge to smooth out and we can launch. The amount of money is almost double my original kickstarter plan, but that reflects how much more realistic and detailed the plan has become. This week I will be visiting with weavers, merino and alpaca owners, and two fiber mill owners in various parts of Vermont. Today, a new weaver came on board to weave the scarves I am designing for rewards. I am looking forward to my vacation with a purpose!
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Monday, July 14, 2014
Sunday, July 6, 2014
Friday, July 4, 2014
I am celebrating by committing to support American industry and agriculture. We can't rest on laurels now. Developing the same self reliance that once enabled a group of rebels to take up a fight for independence needs to return. Recently, in several states, people who believe that self reliance is key have tried to open mills, only to fail, because others insist on buying foreign goods. Anyone buying synthetics, plastics, and items from very far away has to be pro-fracking, and pro military intervention, world wide. This is the way things work now. Re-focusing on U.S. production, and making that production as ethical, non-toxic and sustainable as possible is my dream. Join me!
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Accepting the facts and going with what is. I have discovered that most textile mills still existent in the U.S. are using 100% synthetic materials - or are full of knitting machines. Woven goods are pretty much limited to blankets. That is changing. People across the country are trying to figure out the economics of it. Martha Washington knit socks for the soldiers... and weavers worked hard to make cloth for clothes in order to become independent of England. If we truly want to minimize our carbon foot-print, then we must, as a nation, become knowledgeable about our own capacity for making clothing. In a capitalist system, where industry considers their sourcing a trade secret, making maps of sources is tricky. And yet people all over, from Vermont to Texas to California, are demanding maps, lists and directories. I have no opinion on this, other than it is a tricky business.