Building with natural materials reframes our relationship to the production and consumption of goods, and the responsibility we have to our environment by experiencing a material’s transformational qualities and our own agency in that process. When done in community, that private experience of reorganizing natural materials is compounded with the communal link formed during handwork. Here a social space emerges where dissimilar people can connect around a common practice to share stories and information about their connection to the material, the environment, and their stakes in and responses to a changing climate. How can weaving be a tool both materially and spiritually to encourage communiy transformation?
The daughter of a basket collector, I have been weaving from invasive species for over 10 years. This work began as autodidactic experiments with small forms, learning as our ancestors did, the characteristics and possibility of locally abundant materials, while common processes emerged all over the world to organize them, coiling, plaiting, twining. I too weave with materials that are abundant locally –those resulting from the manmade forces that changed our ecosystems, materials specific to the Anthropocene. How can we reframe the perception of human impact as a sustainable opportunity? Finding the material value in a noxious weed, or tangles of wire, by reorganizing it into forms that serve us, on practical, ritual, and spatial levels.