I have a problem with extremism. It's probably not the kind of extremism that you're thinking, really, especially given the media these days. No, my extremism is a different sort - I get extremely into whatever thing it is I'm into.
My latest thing but, one I haven't been able to shake (ok, I don't really want to) are slow textiles.
Slow textiles are ones that you're willing to wait for. They're hand made in some way and usually in some slow, low impact way. I'm a bit obsessed with natural dyes right now, to the point where I was COMPLETELY rejecting acid dyes. I even declined to teach an acid dye class.
And then the irony of it all hit me.
I wear regular clothes. Sure, I try to wear low impact, reused, reclaimed, homemade clothes and I definitely but truthfully, I have a closet full regular old clothes.
And so does Wendell Berry. How is that relevant you ask? Well, as you already know, I might really admire him And I think we'd all agree his commitment to the health of the environment is beyond reproach and, as I was wrestling with this whole thing (how can I make and dye ALL of my own clothes and still do everything else I need to do in a day? Oh, and not look or smell overly historical) and there's Wendell Berry, sitting there in what appears to be a handknit sweater vest and a regular pair of pants and shirt. Regular, likely bought at the store. You know, maybe even made with some super toxic crap somewhere along the supply chain.
I literally sat there staring at the screen. I wasn't really listening to the very important message, I was checking out his clothes.
Now while it's possible he or someone close to him made all of that, I think it's improbable. Even some serious hardcores, like Norm Kennedy:
But even Norm Kennedy, who does make some of his own clothes from his own washed, spun, woven, naturally dyed fabrics doesn't wear ONLY things he made himself.
Sometimes, what happens for me is that I can't do the thing 100% and it gets me a wee bit hopeless about it. And then I just kind of abandon it. Well, I still feel strongly about the impact of the textile industry, and I would definitely like to be part of the solution but I also am realizing that I don't have to do ALL THE THINGS to help.
Maybe that could be one of the commitments I make to myself for 2016? Less extremism? can I do it without being extreme? Hmmm....