First few weeks of being on site at each location- getting weeding, planting and first foraging under way has set my brain on fire with what is possible…
Means of Production:
Native species on site include: mock Orange (Philiadelphus lewisii) Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor), Pacific Rhododendron (Macrophyllum), Nootka Rose, Shore pine, Soapberry ( Shepherdia Canadensis), Blue elderberry (Sambucus caerulea), Douglas Maple (Acver galbrum) Oregon grape ( Mahonia nervosa), Flowering red current ( Ribes sanguineum), Garry Oak (Quercus garryana),Hardhack (spiraea douglasii), and Indian Plum( Oemleria cerasiformis) and one dead Arbutus tree
Ideas thus far: The Arbutus tree is both sad to see gone, but can provide an anchor point for our work at MOP- we shall use some of it for dye, as well as smaller sticks for drop spindles, tool handles and then leave the trunk and main branches as an on-site loom, or woven installation.
berries galore of elderberry and Indianplum should provide a nice dark rich dye
milkweed and flax from up top can be a fibre base, with a small amount of stinging nettle
lots of Scotchbroom/ blackberry that could be fibre
yucca, NZ flax plants and iris stocks in the top beds can be installation fibres too
There are lots of Indian Hemp plants! Alas all too young yet for harvesting, so we will curb ourselves to the local flax crop growing, local edge of park fireweed and tansy as well as some stinging nettle from 2 blocks away ( maybe our furthest fibre range) There is lots of lupines for dye, and also some iris that can be cut back this fall for more fibrous weaving.
Project-wise, the place is very sterile and new, with lots of chain link and metal calling out to be softened, so perhaps a woven panel for the shipping containers or fence? Time will tell…
Hastings Urban Farm:
Our cloth shall be spun from milkweed and flax fibres we grow in one of the gardens 4x40ft raised beds. There are lots of pollinator plants in surrounding beds, including lupines and Rudbeckia, so we can dye the fibres, and then we will spin and wax the line with beeswax from the local rooftop hives. Our local one-city-block-sourced waxed line can then be crocheted into markers that will hang in trees identifying where the pollination areas are in the downtown eastside along Hastings Street.
Meanwhile we have fun on Tuesday nights with our first gatherings for working together.