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Knit together: Guilds.

I have a strong appreciation and admiration for textile guilds. Their members join to foster community and learning around textile crafts like weaving, spinning, and knitting, to name just a few. Their existence is important to the preservation of craft traditions, both through member workshops and community demonstrations, offering others an exposure to making. Guilds for skilled craftsmen began in Medieval Europe with the mission of working collectively toward skill standards, political clout, and control of competition. Some descriptions of early guilds asserted that to become a member, one had to submit completed textile projects for acceptance by the guild as evidence of skill in the textile craft. As a member of my local weaving and textile arts guild, I’ve...

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Cashmere and Caring for the land.

Southern Kyrgyzstan, photo: Erica Manning Historically, the vast majority of the world's cashmere has come from Mongolia and China. In recent decades, the rapidly increased production of this fiber has contributed to land overuse and land desertification in the region, the negative climate effects of which are felt even along the west coast of the United States. Native goats to Kyrgyzstan - referred to as 'jaidiri', meaning local goat; photo: June Cashmere Goats aren't innately bad to the land if managed properly; total animal numbers (including goats, sheep, cows, and any other animals being grazed) need to be kept in proportion to the size and topography of the area of land being grazed. Traditional grazing methods understood the importance of numbers in an animal...

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