craft to industry, guild to union, cottage to factory. this is what is generally considered as progress.
sometimes, progress has a high price to pay. some things become streamlined, simplified. other things become automated, even people become cogs in the automation (and consumption) wheel. other things become lost and forgotten. do we stop to think of what these prices extract from us?
i am still reading. speaking of SustainAbility, the current essay asks the question “how have we been able to sustain such unsustainability for so long?”. a good question
i think it helps to know the history of this. how did we get here? the earth is plentiful in it’s bounty but we are poor and careless consumers of it’s offerings. in his essay titled “The Historical Production (and Consumption) of Unsustainability: Technology, Policy, and Culture”, Benjamin Cohen restates a cultural axiom of technology and risk this way:
“The more we seek to control nature, the more risk we create.”
hmmm…i think we can all think of some pretty big examples of this. some might say Monsanto, others might say Fukushima, or monoculture. most of this progress has distanced consumers from producers. a move over time from the qualitative to quantitative gave rise to more human control over the natural world.
by distancing ourselves from the gathering of energy materials and water sources, the growing of food, the making of product in far away places extracts a toll not only on those locales and their culture and environments but on us physically, morally, and spiritually.
ah…such big thoughts for such a lazy hot day like today. a morning earthquake here shook us up a bit and reminded us that nature is truly in charge. but what does craft have to do with all this? i wonder…
silkworm workers prepare straw bedding for cocooning
yesterday i was testing out more cocoons and and was wondering about tsumugi.i have been experimenting with this. i like that it requires almost no equipment. i remembered seeing this video a while back and went to watch it again. the part i was most interested in seeing again begins at 3:07.
i am stacking up a few good books to take to the woods next weekend. some i have already read or partially read and want more time with. one of them is Azby Brown’s book “just enough- lessons in living green from traditional japan”. i really enjoy this book.
i am also gathering up food from the garden to take and we are looking forward to this annual retreat where we are able to separate ourselves from daily city life. where i can sit with nothing more than the squaw hole covered granite stones listening to the sound of water rushing below and the winds whispering in the oaks overhead. this former Sierra Miwok summer camp, later a travelers lodge visited by those traveling to the Yosemite valley by foot or horseback (perhaps even John Muir and Ansel Adams), and even later still the summer camp for the Oakland Council of Girl Scouts- bringing girls into the woods for an experience to last a lifetime. now in private hands of old friends who kindly offer its use to us we thank them and all the past caretakers who have allowed it to remain wild with its history quite intact.
i will even be stopping by a local gallery on the way in to drop off some nigella seeds for a blog reader and quilter in the area. perhaps we will meet up at some point- but once i am in i tend to stay put. i have some stitching i intend to take as well.
a few orders must be finished, some emails sent, so off to continue that now…
oh- and richard send me one more very intriguing item for the silk exhibit- a straw bed for silkworm cocooning- so interesting.
from an old farmhouse in rural Japan