In 2018 EartHand launched Walking, Weaving & Wayfinding: The False Creek Fibreshed, a project dedicated to exploring the walking route between the two public parks, Trillium North Park and Means of Production Garden, that EartHand manages.
The sites are on opposite banks of the lost tidal estuary of False Creek; and the space between them is now occupied by light industrial and residential zones, educational institutions and soon-to-be redeveloped areas. It is a neighbourhood on the brink of transformation (again), and this is a timely moment to acknowledge what has been lost, what is here now and what is soon to change.
A “Fibreshed” is a concept that connects the practices of making and wearing textiles with bioregional resources. It endeavours to cultivate understanding, appreciation and respect between textile makers, materials, and the environment. The term was coined by Rebecca Burgess in California.
In this Fibreshed project, we looked closer and studied the dye and fibre materials growing along a 2.5 km walking route. What plants grow unseen in the urban spaces we share? What stories are being told? How will engaging with place through collection and observation change how we think about colour and cloth?
By working with the plants growing in the space to create natural dyes and weaving materials, we explored cultural connections between plants and people, learned new skills, and utilized raw materials for creative practices. The project focused on youth and community collaborators in the research process in order to uncover new perspectives on land and engage in dialogue about the ethics of stewardship and foraging in an urban context. Walk-based research informed the creation of a map that marks the presence of dye and fibre plants growing along the route. The project’s intention was to provide young people with the opportunity to see the land around them as vibrant and abundant, and themselves as participating agents in the ongoing story of place.
What grows unnoticed?
Can it be used for weaving? For dyeing?
What are the stories when we scratch beneath the surface here?
What can be planted on the trail for an autumn harvest? And, who are the community members who will assist in plant tending? Engaging with local children and youths, we hope to uncover new perspectives on the land and research, and engage in dialogue about the ethics of stewardship and foraging.
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EartHand acknowledges the support of BC Arts Council Youth Innovations program and Vancouver Park Board Neighbourhood Matching Fund to make this project possible.