Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bluebird for Happiness

Aqua flocked organdy, fiber collage
for my granddaughters.

Welcoming the New Year

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kids Killer Klothes

"Ask your legislator to support the Toxic-Free Kids Act! The Toxic-Free Kids Act will be introduced in January, but we need to get the word out now. Why? Because we don’t want cancer-causing flame retardants in our children’s products and we need companies to stop replacing one toxic chemical with another in products made for kids.

The Toxic-Free Kids Act will get cancer-causing Tris Flame Retardants out of baby products and encourage companies to switch to safer chemicals that won't harm health, the environment, or their bottom line. Tris flame retardants are especially concerning because they can cause cancer. One was even removed from kids pajamas in the 70s because of health concerns but now it’s back, and we need to get it out of our homes and away from our kids."

This is a message from Washington Toxics
Coalition, in the hope that we as a people will start taking back our responsibility for the well being of life on this little planet, we call home.

I am for a "Sanity Act" as there is no rational excuse I can find to not freak at what our "leaders" have allowed. In the name of commerce we as a species have been duped into a suicidal trance of sugars, fats and seductive virtual worlds.

The manmade processed, patented, promoted for profits reality lost it's human purpose. What have we become and why is it so much less than our true possibility.?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


the chicken stopped to ponder possibilities before crossing the road.
Ballard metal art on 57th and 14th

When faced with an opposition, ask yourself or others what might be another possibility? It is so easy to see the "is" that we fail to realize that it is only an appearance of one of many possible alternatives. What may look to be anger may be pain. What is a rule may have a good way around it. What was useful once, may no longer be applicable.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


digitally enhanced re-used envelope
collage/marker illustration

"The U.S. chemical regulatory system is broken and fails to protect people, wildlife and the environment from toxic chemical exposures." (Washington Toxics Coalition)

Flame retardants (PBDEs) in clothing and household furnishings, carpet padding, televisions -the list is long make your haven a hazardous site.

Es are a family of chemicals used as flame retardants in our everyday lives. They accumulate and are long lasting, and we are concerned about them because they have been known interfere with proper thyroid function in laboratory animals, cause problems with brain development, and disrupt learning, memory and behavior.

When there is a fire, seconds are precious and flame retardants can save lives. However, many alternatives are available which are safer. Governments which have passed PBDE bans recognize those alternatives and are choosing to protect fire fighters, children and all citizens from harmful toxic chemicals by encouraging safe alternatives." Safer States

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fashion? Where?

Illustration with marker, re-purposed envelopes
on paper. 2011 djb

I am out of love with fashion.

I have been wondering if it was just me and my jaded vision or if there was more to it. There is more.

Designers are being killed They are dying in the process of business over art, function and aesthetics When business dominates art, it ruins the best of it. Like the goose who laid the golden eggs, when designers are pushed to produce too much, too fast, there is burn out and whole, fully developed, lifecycle potentials are squashed. This is sad all around.

Fashion got boring because sales glut, trend pushing, fast fashion laws of profit have fouled the scene. Chanel designed for lifestyle changes. She created clothing for bobbed, indie women. The clothing followed the cultural changes.

Now designs are made for corporate bottom lines. That speaks to another cultural change. This change destroys more than it needs and gives back as little as possible. It wants volume and is always hungry. This is against the law of nature and is therefore very dangerous.

The antidote is to buy from local independent designers, exchange and swap and/or re-fashion and re-style clothing yourself or hire a pro refashionist. All of this will better support your local economy and that is a good thing.

Occupy is about the abuse. Creating the alternative economies that enhance creativity, diversity and healthy well being can start with your next purchase. Be mindful and we will get through this and into the new dawning.

be well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Future Fabrics

waiting for the lightrail in Tacoma

Future Fabrics Expo November 29th and 30th at the London College of Fashion. Attend if you can if you are not heading to UK soon, then keep a look out for sustainable textiles stateside. Take the list in to your fabric store and ask them if they know where you can find these new textiles and why we are not supporting the products that actually tell our young people we care about them and their futures.

"Fabrics shown will include, amongst others

- recycled ‘paper leather’ (PAper No.9)

- coffee waste (SCafe),

- recycled polyester (worrisome what with the breakdown to micro sized particles flushed into the oceans and ending up in food webs)

- waste banana fibre,

- sustainable man made fibres derived from trees and plants.

These will be shown alongside fabrics made with

- sustainably produced natural fabrics which include locally sourced and recycled wool,

- organic and low impact silk,

- a diverse range of woven, ribbed, printed and blended organic cotton

- hemp and linen fabrics

- and dozens of others."

Ask for the world you want and please ask others to ask too!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Seaweed Ink

Seaweed dyes have been used for awhile now but as an alternative to screen print ink, we can thank GreenWear for using it on organic tees


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Microscopic Synthetics at Sea

Microscopic synthetic fibers, especially polyesters and acrylics, are winding up on beaches worldwide. Scientists believe they are being released into the environment via washing machines and sewer lines.

According to the 11/1 issue of Environment Science and Technology, "microplastics" are defined as plastic particles "smaller than 1 nanometer—or one hundred-thousandth the width of a human hair." These particles are raising health and safety concerns as they have been found washed up on shorelines around the world and something that small will invariably end up in the food web.

Super filtered washing machines (product refashion for new greener machines, $$$) might help relieve this problem (a little), however, isn't it time we stopped allowing "the market" to rule our combined destinies? Isn't it time we started going to the source of problems and not just look to the profitable "relief of symptoms?" Isn't it time while we still have time?

Stopping the madness means we stop allowing the manufacture of fibers that are causing who knows what, as they circulate through the natural systems. These are the aliens we need to fear.

The total toxic waste and chemical evidence is alarming and it is ethically intolerable to continue exposing life to things we will not and actually cannot take full responsibility for. Take the money and run is no longer an option, where ya gonna run to?

As for now, consumers can choose natural fibers over synthetics and look to hemp, organic fair trade cotton, some bamboo, ethical silk, eco sane processed wool, more.

Note: The recycled plastic "cure" isn't. Polyester fleeces (the "new" oil byproduct and the recycled plastic bottle "eco " fleeces) "can release up to 180 percent more fibers than other textiles."

Info from Ec0uterre article by Amanda Coen. Faux eco and green wash are everywhere, as old skool capitaization ( new school see Ellen Brown for ideas!!)process tries to maintain its parasitic hold on the planet and its inhabitants.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Urban Self Reliance Series

Acrylic paint, felt applique on tweed ground
Detail of Tree of Life Skirt

Last night, the Basic Hand Sewing Skills workshop at the Greenwood Public Library, was "sold out." It was hands on sewing - buttons and snaps, hemming, zipper repair, other hints and tips for those little mending chores that clothes wearers either do or give to others to do. I think we learn to do more by learning to do more. This adds to the creativity pool we all have and should always be replenishing. We are not machines, we are amazing. Last night proved it for me.

DIY (do it yourself) saves time and carbons and enhances digital dexterity as in the original digits, fingers.

" finger is a limb of the human body and a type of digit, an organ of manipulation ... English dictionaries describe finger as meaning either one of the five digits ..."

Learning to do a lot of things means you can help and teach others as well. Right now we are in a surge of reconnecting to the real, the tangible and sensual. I mean how much virtual does it take before the ho hum stets in?

Saturday the 22nd from 2-4 I will be teaching a hand sewing applique class at the Wallingford branch of SPL registration is over, but there might be room if you show up. Thank you Seattle Public Library for this great series. Let them know you appreciate this stuff!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dye Naturally

Lavendar Sprigs and art by Catherine M Condeff.

A new herbal infused dye proces is profiled at Aura, nice.

And the standards approach to sustainable textiles has a new friend -The Global Organic Textile Standard is on the web.

OK, i am wary here, as in the USA, the certified standards of the organic food industry are so watered down to appease corporate agri biz monsters that ...well, what good are they really?

The shame of nations trapped into thinking the world was built the only way it could be built because that is what is- is ludicrous. However textbooks write it with face saving , heroificating nonsense instead of real honest, though oft nasty facts that actually allow us as a species to learn and grow. Wow talk about a developmental stage glitch in the culture!

"Lies My Teacher Told Me" is current text at TESC. that explains the reason we do not learn from history is because we are given such an edited edition we cannot. This is pathetic. So read up my friends, we have a lot at stake.

Saturday, October 8, 2011 Self reliance

marketing for transitions

Seattle Public library is hosting a series of workshops for urbam self reliance. I am doing a few elementary hand sewing "shops" that maxed out audience capacity. This is so nice and I can't wait to help people snag up those pesky falling hems and stabilize the machine sewn buttons that tend to fall off with a thread pull.

Check your library and let them know you want more of this kind of thing. Mushroom hunting pros, how to raise backyard chickens, seismic retrofitting, writing the picture book (i like that one!!) and mine: hand sewing repair DIY (do it yourself)

Check out the events and calendar page, the series runs through the month.

Wed the 19th

Hand Sewing - Repair DIY (Do It Yourself) at the Greenwood Branch
5:30 – 7:45pm
Where: Greenwood Branch
Summary: Learn everyday sewing skills that will save you time and money, from buttons and hand-hemming to zippers and patches. Registration is required; call the branch to sign up.

& Sat the 22nd
Hand Sewn - Upcycle Without a Machine: An Applique And Fancy Stitch Workshop at the Wallingford Branch
2 – 4pm
Where: Wallingford Branch
Summary: Make an applique, then learn about reverse applique and other decorative techniques and ideas that will expand your creative repertoire. Registration is required; call the branch to sign up.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Six a magazine

Myths and Symbols -reclaimed fabric skirts
designed to tell a story,
made in USA by djb

photo from "Species on the Verge & Other Works w/POV

& from across the sea - courtesy of SIX magazine, comes this great video on ethical fashion and London Fashion Week. Hear and see what new design means to several emerging (ethical) designers.

Monday, September 12, 2011

show busy

repuposed and borrowed

long shot of Species Installation

Donna Lough : wooden, painted sphinx

repurposed, reused, recycouture and womens voices, this show is like a miracle as we are living in the art. The more the give the better the return, playing with the rules of the universe as we balance them against the rules of mankind.

The Universe Rules!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Art Walk

tonight in Wallingford 5-8 at the Wallingford Center (1815 n 45th st) , see the show, say hi.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Joe's Jeans

urban wildlife -the pigeon-
wearing a feather design in a limited palette, and so worth seeing.

I was in Macy's a few days ago. My bus stops outside the door which makes it a convenient 'rest stop.' The ladies bathroom is in a sea of women's wear, but of course! so i look for signs of creative design, something inspired as i walk through the racks . I have been disappointed more times than not, maybe it is just hard to surprise me or maybe because real design has been tanked by "what will sell."

This focus on sales over design changes the dynamic just as the pursuit of profit has resulted in loss of other values. Energy goes the way of the focus and that squashes diversity. This is bad for ecosystem health and design health . Bio mimicry of the disastrous appears a silly patten that we best change.

Ok this in my head along with the cost of production, aka real costs ( human, environmental, health et al) so I went up to a clerk and asked her where the sweatshop free clothing was. She took me over to a rack of Joe's jeans that are supposedly eco friendly though label says made in Mexico and i looked at the company site and saw nothing to validate that idea.

The aha side of this story is that we conversed after she had seen Zeitgeist and was in need of knowing that changemakers are running around in the real world. The moral of this story is: speak up, get out in public and show yourself. This will build our cosmic capacity and sets the change in motion from all points of energy, especially when and where connections spark it forward. This is good for you, me, us and all living things, including the living universe.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kucinich at Hempfest

2011 Collector Poster by Cory & Catska Ench.

And so was the mayor, however Metro wasn't. The online bus planner told me that i could catch a #15 and walk 0.2 miles SW to Myrtle Edwards Park. However all the buses have been funneled down 3rd avenue and the stop wasn't just farther away but was in a creepy (to me) industrial part of town) It was ok for the coming but might be dicey on the exit.

I found out this stupid was the symptom of a bigger stupid, the tunnel. Tunnels on fault zones are a bad idea- humans cannot control the movements of Earth and we apparently disconnect old ideas of "progress" with new fangled "global warming." It is time that the wealth making of the few is exposed for the charlatan it is. Ever promoted as public good actions, they have instead led to fiscal imbalance, fraud and other economic ills that tie into all other health and welfare issues. Which leads back to the Hempfest. (medical marijuana, prison populations, fiber crops that use pesticides, synthetic fertilizers & herbicides harm all of us eventually)

Hemp is a fast growing, water friendly, pest lacking weed that makes for eco sane fibers These fibers can be woven and knit into clothing that makes sense. Like solar and wind power, some things have more plusses and fewer side effects than others, that is where technology can add to the benefits while spending less energy on mitigating the fall out. The focus and aim is better from the get. That is smart, however a lot of money still rides on the old agenda which is why some of us are feeling like Alice in Blunderland.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Line Drying is Simply better

Line Drying is an easy to accommodate, better choice than machine drying.

Fresh air dried clothing is a healthier, saves energy ie watchces personal and family carbs (carbons), is sun sanitized and scented by nature. It is widely acknowledged throughout the world that line drying clothing is far gentler and wiser than tumbling them around in metal drums .

This photo was taken at last Sunday at the Sustainable NE Seattle Festival. It was a small but cheerful event that was patterned much like others before it. These local sustainable festivals lack a sophisticated urban edge that i appreciate. I do not hold that a return to farming need be everyone's cup of tea. I endorse fresh, local, organic farm produce but would rather find an urban farmer to till my backyard then do it myself. That way we both win and if the garden is prolific, so will others.

As for livestock, the goats, ducks and chickens are cute from a distance but my grandparents had a farm and there is a lot more to it than meets the novice urban eye. I appreciate them for their natural services and pet-ability but have other plots to tend, thank you very much,...really.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

connections and patterns

Connections and patterns, once you see them, you will not be the same.

Consider the ocean food web and the way species support and enable each other's lives in a dance of life and death. This harmony is disrupted when a species prevails and dominates the territory. This causes eco system unbalance that can become disastrous for the species that out-thrived its system

At a certain point it hits a max population and then it starts to decline as illness from the environmental damage of overpopulation, disrupts the food webs and things start falling like dominoes. This is part of the evolution picture, the point where a species adapts to new circumstances, ie moves on in skills or place or both, or bids the planet adieu.

Humans are not immune.

Friday, July 8, 2011

On With the Show

Pop in guests and partners for next years "Title TBA" big talent show off, are showing up for the "Species on the Verge and Other Works w/POV"and dress forms are coming in the door, i am in psyche mode. This is like the best high that creates energy in self as it creates energy in the actions that create this awesome cycle. Like biotic/abiotic cycles it is perhaps a real tapping into the beauty and wonder of this universe. Driven from the heart, constantly refueled with information and support from the energy it attracts it is Wow!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


This small wall hanging reminds me of my short stint as a palm reader, my day as a carnival mystic in a backyard of Beacon Hill. This is an embroidered piece with a hand worked motif and machine stitched script. (part of Amulets and Talismans collection for "Species on the Verge and other Works w/POV")

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What is an education for, anyway?

This top documentary is a pretty good answer to the USA dilemma where grade competition and test scores have left our children full of need.

"Children Full of Life" should be a staple of teacher education, is it? Please take a few minutes out of your day to view this very moving and informative work that applies to anyone who has ever been a child or who plans on bringing one into the world.

"Mr. Kanamori, a teacher of a 4th grade class, teaches his students not only how to be students, but how to live. He gives them lessons on teamwork, community, the importance of openness, how to cope, and the harm caused by bullying." (from the Top Documentary website, retrieved 6/19/11)

Thank you Robin, for bringing this to my attention.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Urban Wildlife

We share the planet with other living things. Living things provide valuable services that maintain life throughout ecosystems, big and small. As our species has gone on a resource grabbing binge enabled by policies and practices developed from myopic elitism, materialism and ego imbalance, we are in a sense "eating ourselves to death." We are told this creates jobs and economic growth. And yes, this provides jobs and pushes consumerism, but is it really the best we can do. Is this the highest goal of humankind?

I think not!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Adjusting "Family Values" or Phoenix Rising

In the book, The People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn (2003) there are many passages that highlight women in civic and social movements throughout the nation’s history. The laundry workers marches for better pay, the infamous sweat shop fire that brought attention to the inhumane treatment of thousands, the women involved in the civil rights movement, more. Many of these women had children and families that they were either helping to support or they were the sole support. In this history of bonding and uniting to make changes in systems bent on usury, they stood together. And as the military, industrial (corporate), government complex pushes for more power; women are coming together to question and counter these forces once again. Is this a new kind of feminism, a new movement or a radical change in paradigm?

After several decades of shifting family values, women are adjusting to the changes and speaking up in new ways. Acknowledging that what was won through the Women’s Liberation movement of the 1960’s was less satisfying than expected; there is a questioning of goals and values. In the gap, attempts to reestablish conservative more traditional expectations and roles, cloaked as a return to “family values” are being launched in the media by various groups seeking to stabilize their institutions. (Churches, far right conservatives etc.) This may appeal to some but others are seeking to go forward, into new territory.

In this shuffle, a new feminine archetype is emerging. With a sense of purpose and urgency, women are seeking to take the lessons learned from the past and combining them as a means to inform a new balance between the individual and the cultural psyche.

More at "Sustainable Fashion-the Papers"