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Episode 129: Weaving Sustainability and Social Justice with Sarah Gotowka of Luna Fiber Studio

In this week’s episode, LaChaun is speaking with Sarah Gotowka, the Founder and Director of Luna Fiber Studio, a textile studio specializing in weaving and natural dyes, rooted in sustainability and social justice.  

Sarah Gotowka is a practicing textile artist and instructor. She began weaving in 2005, and then growing natural dyes in 2010. Since moving to the Ithaca area she has taught at SUNY Cortland, Cornell University, Ithaca College, The Johnson Museum of Art, Wells College, and New Roots Charter School to name a few. Sarah is a Korean adoptee and also works part time for the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York. There she mentors youth adoptees, and advocates around trans-racial adoption issues.  

Weaving and dyeing have been a powerful healing tool in Sarah’s journey of exploring her roots and connecting to her ancestral knowledge. Comment below to keep the conversation going! 

Luna Fiber Studio

Luna Fiber Studio

Luna Fiber Studio

Luna Fiber Studio

Luna Fiber Studio

Luna Fiber Studio

Luna Fiber Studio

Weave Podcast Transcript Episode 129 

 Sarah Resnick: I’m Sarah Resnick.  

 LaChaun Moore:And I’m LaChaun Moore.  

Sarah Resnick: And we are the hosts of the Weave Podcast, a project of the weaving yarn shop, GIST Yarn & Fiber.  

LaChaun Moore:Hello. Hi, everyone. I hope all is well. In this week’s episode, I’m excited to speak with Sarah, the founder and director of Luna Fiber Studio, a textile studio specializing in weaving and natural dyes rooted in sustainability and social justice. Sarah is a practicing textile artist and instructor that uses her weaving and dying expertise as a means of exploring her roots and connecting to her ancestral knowledge.  Hey, Sarah. Welcome. Thank you for joining us.  

Sarah Gotowka:Thanks for having me, LaChaun.  

 LaChaun Moore:Can you start off by telling us about your background, where you’re from, and how you began working with textiles?  

Sarah Gotowka: So, I’m from Rochester, New York originally. I was born in Korea and adopted into my family, the Gotowkas, in Rochester, New York. And I grew up there, went to college at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and I thought that I was going for graphic design, like that’s what I thought that I wanted to do, but I took an intro to fiber class during my second year of college and I was just using chemical dyes at the time, but I fell in love with watching these fluffy clouds of wool absorb color. And I got really into felting, and I decided that that’s what I… Against my parents’ wishes, that’s what I wanted tomajor in.  So, I became a fiber major and then that’s when I learned how to weave, and it was just part of the mandatory curriculum at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and I really kind of hated it at first, like I did it, I was like, “Why is this taking so long?” But it was after I started really learning about how… So, every  single culture on this planet has a textile background, and how weaving is so much a part of that, and how weaving has so much significance, like cultural significance, spiritual significance for peoples all over the world, and to see how it varies from place to place, that’s when I really fell in love with weaving I think and understood the power of it.  And then after that, so that was undergrad. After undergrad, I graduated and I went back to CIA, and I was a teacher’s assistant, and so I was kind of running the fiber department there and working for a professor who was really interested in natural dyes, and so I started experimenting for her, and I was just kind of buying dye stuff off of the internet and not really thinking about the relationship between myself as the artist and the land or the plants that I was using. And not really thinking about the environmental implications of it either, like I think I was using purchased logwood and not thinking about the way that it was contributing to the deforestation in Brazil, and just thinking about, “Oh, I’m doing something good. I’m using sustainable dyes.”  Yeah, so that was kind of my first intro into natural dyes, and then when I went to grad school, a couple of the women in my cohort had farming backgrounds and were also interested in natural dyes. And so, they were like, “Let’s apply for a grant and try and grow our own dyes.” I was like, “What? We can grow our own dyes?” And so, that kind of launched me into my farming, my love affair with farming, and also with cultivating natural dyes.  

 LaChaun Moore:That’s such a beautiful story and it’s also just really similar and resonates a lot with me and how I kind of fell into natural dying and fibers. Can you go a little bit more into depth with how you began farming specifically? Like what was that process like and what were those early crops that you were growing?  

Sarah Gotowka:Yeah, sure. So, we kind of… You know, I also want to contextualize this with like this was before the internet was a thing. Like, I mean, I think I remember YouTube had just come out, you know? So, there wasn’t the plethora of information, like the wealth of information that we have now, where there’s all these people that are showing what they’re doing and sharing their secrets. We had like four books that we got from the library, and I don’t even know if they were in color print, so- 

 LaChaun Moore:Wow.  

 Sarah Gotowka:So, anyways, so we kind of just dove in. We got a small grant, but it was significant, like I think we got like $3,000 from the university, from Concordia University, and so we bought… I think we grew like over a thousand dye plants, not thinking about what we were really… or not knowing what we were really doing. So, we started off with Japanese indigo. We also grew amaranth, not knowing that it was used mostly as a food dye. We found that out later. We grew buckwheat, thinking that it would give us a blue, and marigolds, and coreopsis, like those staple yellows. And yeah, those were the plants that I think we first experimented with.  The indigo was really fun. The first year that we grew it, we grew I think over 500 dye plants. It was like an enormous amount. And we also had a little plot of land north of Montreal, like one of the women on my team, she had a friend who lived north and had an organic farm, and so she let us trade for helping to weed and stuff, and then she let us grow our plants there. And so, we were out there quite a bit that summer, and yeah, I remember when we harvested indigo the first time, we tried all the different routes that we had read about. We tried blending it, we tried composting it, we tried water extraction, and none of them worked. Like all we got were some pretty lime, putrid greens from it, like we didn’t get any inkling of blue from it our first year. But yeah. 

LaChaun Moore: That’s so interesting. Did you figure out why you weren’t getting blue from those first experiments?  

Sarah Gotowka:Now I totally understand why. It’s because we harvested way too late, so our indigo… I mean, we were living in the city and traveling out to farm, so I think we missed the window by a couple of weeks. Indigo is such a finicky, picky princess, and- 

 LaChaun Moore:Yeah, it is.  

Sarah Gotowka:And so, that small window I think really changed things, because it had already started to flower pretty significantly, you know? And I think when we were using the blending technique, we weren’t using protein fibers, which you need to. You can’t… Cellulose won’t pick up the same kind of blues and colors. And then the composting and fermentation that we tried, I just don’t think we did it long enough. Like all the variables weren’t correct. Yeah. So, it’s like it’s taken… I mean, that was in 2009, and I’ve been growing indigo almost every year since, and it took me after that another four years or so to actually get the blue that indigo is known for. 

 LaChaun Moore:Wow. I mean, it’s amazing that you have that experience of learning what the indigo needed, because it sounds like you have more information about how to extract the blue through having those experiments and the experiments not going exactly how you wanted them to.  

 Sarah Gotowka:Yeah, totally. I mean, I think I’ve never really taken a class in natural dyes, and I feel like my learning curve has been pretty steep and there’s been a lot of failure, you know? Or I should say a lot of unsuccesses, not successive moments. Not successful moments, sorry. And yeah, they’re all just learning moments. Yeah.  

LaChaun Moore:Absolutely. I started farming for the first time last year and I made so many mistakes my first year, but it… I know so much more now.  

Sarah Gotowka:Yeah, and it’s like you’re learning with all your senses, right? Your touch, your smell, visual, whereas when you read someone’s blog and you learn, it’s a very different understanding, I think.  

LaChaun Moore:Absolutely. One of the things that I learned when I was in farm school that was really valuable to me and also really encouraged me to take those early steps was one of the people who graduated from the program a couple years before me, he basically was like, “You’re gonna learn a lot of things in this program, but there’s also a lot of things that it can’t teach you, so just do it. Just get started and just do it and learn along the way.” And he was so right, because even when you read the directions of something, it doesn’t actually spell out exactly what it’s gonna be like to experience it, and I think that when dealing with farming and agriculture, there’s so many particular variables, i.e. where you are, your soil, the sun, this and that, that it’s just like you just gotta do it. You know?  And it’s amazing to hear the way that you started and that you just kind of dove in and said, “I’m gonna start with a thousand plants and I’m just gonna do it!” I mean, that’s really impressive.  

Sarah Gotowka:Thanks. I was a mess, but…  

LaChaun Moore:So, can you talk about how you started Luna Fiber Studio?  

Sarah Gotowka:Sure. So, I started Luna Fiber Studio a few years after grad school, so I was up in Montreal for grad school at Concordia University, and I was really entrenched in the art world, and like the “fine art” practices, trying to show in galleries and stuff while I was also doing this exploration of natural dyes and farming. And I realized that that was where my heart was. That was my passion. Growing plants and then extracting color from them was something that I think fulfilled me spiritually, even though I didn’t know it at the time, like I wouldn’t have named it that at the time. But something was happening for me where I was like, “I need to get out of the city. I need to see the stars. I need to…”  I think I was also looking for a community that wasn’t available to me in Montreal and in the art world. Again, I don’t think I knew it at the time. So, then I moved back home to the States, in upstate New York, and I just got a job in Ithaca, New York. I grew up in Rochester. Ithaca’s about like an hour and a half away, and I was like, “You know, this is far enough from my parents and from my family where they can’t drop in on me, but if something happens, I can be close to them.” And Ithaca’s also this kind of like small… It’s a very special town, I’ll say, where there’s a lot of support for local made goods, like local economies, that I think I noticed right away when I visited and I was like, “If I have any chance of doing work with natural dyes…” I didn’t know what I wanted to do yet, but I was like, “This could be the place.” You know?  So, I moved here on a whim and I got a job at Taste of Thai Express, shout out, and I was just delivering Thai food and I was a waitress for a couple years, and I started slowly… I had one loom that I got from undergrad in the front of my apartment and I started teaching lessons out of there.  

LaChaun Moore:Wow.  

Sarah Gotowka:And you know, I was scraping for money, like I didn’t have “proper” weaving equipment. I was using toilet paper cardboard roles as my bobbins, and just hand winding my own yarn because I couldn’t afford a bobbin winder. And so, yeah, I was just kind of like teaching out of the front of my apartment and then growing at my friend’s house, like she had a garden and let me grow a few dye plants. And from there, every year it kind of expanded to a bigger plot, and then more students, and then I was part of… There’s a local bank here called Alternatives, and they had this IDA program, where it was like they double your savings. Basically, it’s like a program to help business owners save money. So, through that program I was able to save like $3,000 one year, and then this space opened up down the street from me and I was able to pay rent for this small studio space for one whole year because of this program.  So, then I had this tiny space where I could only fit four looms, and I was also… I mean, my name was getting a little bit bigger in the community, like I was doing a lot of community workshops for free, just at universities, and schools, and we have a couple after school activity programs here where I was also a guest, and so my clientele base was growing, and then also my equipment was growing, because people were just like giving me looms, and I didn’t have anywhere to put them until I got this space. So, that was really exciting.  Yeah, so I started out in that small space and I then, I was able to start teaching classes once I had that space outside of my home, and I think when I… We kind of talked about this when we first met, but I think when I first started out I was really trying to just spread my name and get clientele, and become a profitable business, and even though my passion was really about talking about textiles through a colonialist lens, or I should say rather using textiles as a lens to look at colonialist histories, and that was really where my interest is in terms of teaching about textiles. It wasn’t something that I was like really confident about using as a mode of advertising in the beginning of my… the first few days of my studio coming together. It was just something that I was kind of slipping into all my classes where I was like, “You know, we’re here to learn about weaving, but first let’s talk about the colonialist history of indigo in this country.”  So, yeah, I don’t know if I’m making sense. I feel like I’m rambling.  

LaChaun Moore:No, you’re making a lot of sense. I mean, you’re telling your story and I don’t think anyone’s story is linear, and so I think that you’re doing a great job. I’m really interested, since you’ve kind of began to touch on the history of colonialization as it pertains to indigo, specifically the variety that you grow. In our previous conversation, we talked about how that variety was also a variety that came from a form of colonialization in Asia. Can you talk about the roots of that variety and maybe for some of us who aren’t used to having a conversation about that relationship, can you give us a little bit of a history lesson?  

Sarah Gotowka: I’ll try my best. And maybe you can actually help me, too. So, I mean the variety that I was given this year is from Naju, Korea, and it was given to me by Kenya Miles of the Baltimore Natural Dye Initiative, who was on your  podcast before. And this was just a side note, this was very special to me being that I was born in Korea but left at a very early age because I was adopted, and so this was a very culturally and spiritually significant farming year for me. But, so I’m not actually sure about this variety’s exact history, but I’m really interested in learning more about how this plant was introduced into Korea, because it’s known as a Japanese variety of Indigo, right? That’s, Polygnum tinctorium, is just known as Japanese indigo. So, right now I’m trying to research into its roots and figure out where it came from, and what I’m really interested in learning about is the Japanese occupation of Korea during the turn of the century from the 1800s to the 1900s. Japanese occupied Korea and it was a really brutal time, just like we see any colonialist era of a lot of violence, wiping out of culture, and language, and tradition, and I’m really interested in researching into that era and its influence on textiles in Korea, specifically around indigo and the other natural dyes.  

LaChaun Moore:Yeah. And you know, it’s interesting to talk about the colonialization of indigo, because I think more often than not on this podcast, we tend to talk about Persicaria tinctoria or Indigofera suffruticosa, but it’s always in the context of America and the American history of indigo, and it’s always just really interesting to me to learn about the ways in which indigo existed in various countries in Asia, including India. They have a sort of tumultuous history with indigo. In the States, we have a tumultuous history with indigo, and so it’s kind of like something that I think is throughout the fiber and textile industry, and I think that’s why it is so important that people of color are occupying places within the fiber and textile industry, and I’m wondering if you can talk about the ways in which you see… If this is even a question that is able to be answered, but the ways that you see decolonizing the fiber industry, the ways in which we as fiber users and fiber makers can create space for people of color, but also to actually change structurally and with the things that we use?  

Sarah Gotowka:Yeah. I mean, yeah, I think that’s a really big question that I can attempt to answer a little bit, but you’re talking about the dismantlization of a really large system that just trickles down into the textile industry, into the textile culture, but… So, for me, I think the first thing… I mean, for me, I think the thing that I can really contribute to is talking about these issues, right? Educating around the colonialist histories of textiles, whether that’s like within the actual fibers themself, or the dye industry, or the weaving industry, like it’s all there. And really, I think stressing to all textile makers that textile making is political. Textiles are political. Textiles are entrenched in a racist history, in a colonialist history, and the more that we can have those conversations, the further we can move, because we’re not gonna budge anywhere unless we are having these conversations, you know?  So, I think that’s one of my priorities within Luna Fiber Studio and within my work, and just like my day-to-day life, is having those conversations. I also think that in terms of making space for BIPOC makers, I think this should be happening in all industries, in all places, in all spaces, which is people who have power practice their listening skills and giving space for other people’s voices who have been minimized and marginalized for hundreds of years. So, what that could actually look like is like I think… I do a lot of nonprofit work, and I think about the groups that I facilitate with, and it’s like so even just thinking about it in small scales, because I feel like that’s where it can show up a lot faster than these larger scales that we can hope and dream for.  But I think about these spaces where certain people who have power tend to take over conversations, or tend to lead a project in the way that they want it to be seen, so instead of them taking the reigns, it’s like you could literally have them take a step back, take a breather, and open the floor for other voices, and specifically uplifting BIPOC voices. And like not just… I don’t know. I feel like there’s also this trend of people who are trying to do this anti-racist work, and you know, say they’re uplifting these voices, and saying they’re giving space while still bulldozing over them, you know what I mean?  So, yeah, I don’t know if that answers your question.  

LaChaun Moore:Yeah, and I mean thank you for answering it, because it is a really huge question, and I know that it is often difficult to articulate something, especially when you’re living it, and it’s something that is constantly on my mind as a Black woman artist, especially working with the materials that I work with, and so it’s important to me when I can take the opportunity to kind of cross reference with another artist that is of a similar or adjacent identity, and kind of see how they’re navigating these spaces.  

Sarah Gotowka:Yeah. Can I just add? Maybe one more thing too is I think what… Since the George Floyd uprisings, I’ve seen just like on Instagram… I mean, I know maybe you’re not cruising Instagram the same way. We talked about that. But you know, I’ve seen a lot of textile studios or textile makers attempt to start unraveling these… or should I say trying to do the work, trying to uplift Black voices, people of color, and I do think that that’s important, for white artists to… If they have power and they have a spotlight, especially like on social media, to give space to artists of color and to offer up and share some of that power. But I think that what I’ve been noticing is that people do a couple posts of like, “Hey, check out this Black artist...” Check. You know? Like, “I did my work.”  And I just want to stress that that sharing of power, that stepping back is like a lifelong thing, and it’s something that has to be implemented in everyday actions, and not just like… It’s not just a one-time thing, you know? 

LaChaun Moore:Absolutely. Absolutely. It is such a huge, huge… I don’t even know what to say. It’s such a really big issue, it’s such a really big problem, and I just think it’s important for all of us to really make sure that we’re still working in the direction of and constantly having those conversations and doing the work, and really trying to figure it out. And like you said, I do see a lot more people engaging in the conversation, which has been really interesting. A very, very interesting change.  One of the things that I also saw on your site is that you offer various courses, and you have a really amazing team at your weaving studio. Can you talk about some of the courses and programs that you run at your studio and maybe some of your team members?  

Sarah Gotowka:Sure. So, things have kind of taken a pause because of the global pandemic that’s been happening, so I’m no longer offering courses. I’m just doing private instruction, so one on one. But the last… I can talk about some of the courses that I offered beforehand. So, one of them, which has been a really exciting project for me, has been the decolonizing indigo course. So, that’s a course where students learn how to grow their own indigo, and then they get to harvest it, cultivate it, and extract pigment from it, and then dye with it, all while talking about the history of the indigo plant here, even though we’re using Japanese indigo. It’s talking about the history of indigo in this country and…  Yeah, so for that project, I collaborated with two different farms. One is the Youth Farm Project, which is a farm here out in Dryden, where basically they work with disadvantaged youth and they have different speakers and workshops all year long coming in to talk about capitalism, and talk about the food system, and talk about colonialism, and all these things. So, that was one project where I grew indigo. And then the other project is my friend, Amanda David, of Rootwork Herbals. She’s working specifically with the reclamation of plant medicine for BIPOC peeps, and she had a BIPOC community garden that she started just in the back of her house, and so I grew indigo there, as well.  So, those are… You know, some of the other courses that I teach are just like weaving classes. I used to teach just intro to natural dye classes, that type of stuff. And so, I think that yeah, that answers that part about courses, and then as far as my team goes, I just feel so lucky to have these friendships with such amazing, talented people. So, one of the people that I work with, his name is Jose Gonzalez, and so he’s from Oaxaca, Mexico. He’s a Zapotec weaver. He’s an Indigenous weaver. He is not only a weaver, he’s also a spinner and natural dyer, and he is like… He’s a master. When I say master, I’m not exaggerating in the slightest, like he’s so badass. But so, he, I actually met him because one of my friends was his ESL teacher a number of years ago and was like, “Yo, you gotta meat this guy Jose.” And I was like, “Okay.” And we just started hanging out and became friends and shared weaving secrets and natural dye secrets.  And then when I opened my studio he started teaching there, and he would teach cochineal class, a class on cochineal. Actually, your recent guest, Sydni Gause, was one of my… That’s how I met Sydni. She was a student in that class with Jose.  

LaChaun Moore: Oh, wonderful.  

Sarah Gotowka:Yeah. And so, Jose actually cultivates cochineal, so for those of you who don’t know, cochineal is a small insect that grows on the… I believe it’s the prickly pear cacti in Central America, and it gives this bright red dye. You can get purples, to brick reds, to oranges actually from cochineal, and he… Yeah, so he has his own cochineal farm, and now he lives here, up in Ithaca, and teaches classes, or used to teach classes at my studio. I’m sure we’ll reconvene once things have changed.  

LaChaun Moore:And can you also talk about the agricultural aspects of Luna Fiber Studio? I know that you grow in conjunction with having a studio. Can you talk about how you are growing, what type of land you’re using, and some of your growing methods? Sarah Gotowka: Sure. That was a layered question. Maybe you can help guide me as I start rambling. So, I grow at Remembrance Farm, which is an organic and biodynamic farm down the street from me, and I literally knocked on their door I think four years ago and… Because I was at a point of growing my plants where I couldn’t grow at my friend’s garden anymore, and the plot of farmland that I did have access to had absolutely no water, so I was driving buckets of water over to my- 

LaChaun Moore:No way.  

Sarah Gotowka:Yes. It was a mess.  

LaChaun Moore:How did you water it? Like were you using a vessel?  

Sarah Gotowka:No. I was using a bucket and a cup.  

LaChaun Moore:Oh, my goodness!  

 Sarah Gotowka:Yeah. But yeah, the hard part was driving it. You know, because I only had… I could only fit like three or four buckets in my car, and during a heatwave it’s pretty intense, so I was starting to look for other opportunities to collaborate with farmers, and I stumbled upon Remembrance Farm is owned by Nathaniel and Emily Thompson, and they were just so welcoming and kind and they were like, “Yeah, we have so much land. Grow whatever you want.” And they gave me a little strip right near their driveway. They’re like, “Just grow here,” and so it’s kind of like a work-trade scenario, like I help volunteer for packing their CSA boxes and I also babysit their kids sometimes, and so it’s been so beneficial for both of us.  Yeah, so I have a small plot. I’m not sure exactly what the acreage turns out to be, but I grow probably… I don’t know. 500 plants a year I would estimate. And you had asked about growing methods?  

LaChaun Moore:Yes.  

Sarah Gotowka:Yeah. So, I just put them in the ground. I don’t know if I have… if my agricultural knowledge is that… mature enough to call it a growing method, but I start them all, all my seeds indoors. They have a greenhouse, which I think has helped change my growing game quite a bit. When I first started, I was just growing starting in cold frames that I had built out in my yard, which was really problematic just in terms of the frost, so like also one year, the cold frame windows closed during a hot day and I lost my entire farm, basically, like in May.  

LaChaun Moore:Oh, wow.  

 Sarah Gotowka:Yeah, this greenhouse has just been a lot easier, and yeah, the Japanese indigo, I guess there’s lots of different ways that you can grow it. It likes to be really compact and stuffed together, and the guy who… Rowland Ricketts is growing Japanese indigo down in Indiana, and he basically sprinkles his seeds, almost as like a cover crop, you know? But I grow my indigo very differently, like I grow it as small, tall bushes, so like in one row I’ll have three small rows of plants, like they’ll all be pretty close to each other, but they’re allowed to grow in a bush formation as opposed to way that Rowland Ricketts is growing it, which is like… It’s just a very skinny, tall plant. But he’s growing it so that he can compost the leaves, and so he is doing it so that he can break the leaves off really easily once they dry from the stem, and I’m really looking to grow as many leaves as possible and strip from the stem, so I don’t mind having a thicker stem and having bushes.  

 LaChaun Moore: Interesting.  

Sarah Gotowka:But I’m open to trying his method, I just haven’t had as much seed every year to try that.  

LaChaun Moore:Yeah. And Rowland Ricketts was actually one of the first people who grow Indigo that I was getting most of my information from, so- 

Sarah Gotowka:Oh, wow.  

LaChaun Moore: It’s good to hear their name. And do you have any new projects that you’re working on?  

Sarah Gotowka:Yeah, so I… This is a long-term project, and it’s at the very incubation stage right now, but my long-term goal, my long-term project is to go back to Korea and visit and learn about indigo, so I really want to learn how to start indigo from… Or I’m sorry, I want to learn how to… like the Korean method of harvesting and growing, harvesting, and then dyeing with indigo is. I also am really interested in learning about ramie weaving. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that?  

LaChaun Moore:No. I’m not familiar.  

Sarah Gotowka: So, the ramie plant is like, from what I know, it’s kind of similar to like the hemp plant. That also, I don’t know, that might not be true, but there’s a whole tradition of weaving in Korea around the ramie fiber, and it’s used specifically I think for burial cloth. And yeah, so I’m really interested in learning about both of those parts of Korean textile history, and right now I’m just kind of in a stage of learning Korean, and this was like I said before, this was my first year growing a Korean variety of indigo and trying the water extraction method that I think Kenya and Rosa Chang talked about, and so I’m kind of trying to plug away little by little of learning these things and securing funding for it.  

LaChaun Moore:Amazing. And also, I know that you are working on a GoFundMe. Can you tell people where to find you on social media and the internet to follow your work and also to donate?  

Sarah Gotowka:Yeah. So, my website is lunafiberstudio.com and you can find the donate button right there on the homepage. You can also follow me on Instagram. It’s @LunaFiberStudio. Facebook, I’m not so good about keeping up with, so that might not be the place to go to. But yeah, and you can always email me if you want to reach out with questions, or concerns, or criticisms. I’m always down to have a conversation and dork out about textiles. My email is lunafiberstudio@gmail.com.  

LaChaun Moore:Thank you so much for being so transparent and talking about your process and also just letting us get closer to you and your work.  

Sarah Gotowka:Oh, thanks.  

LaChaun Moore:So, before you go, we have one question that we ask everyone that joins the podcast, and that is do you have any advice or words of wisdom to share with weavers and textile enthusiasts?  

Sarah Gotowka:Any advice. I think what I would just say to textile enthusiasts and makers is to keep thinking about the histories behind the things that you’re using. Whether that’s like knitting, or wool, to really dig into the history behind these things, and also to think about the land that it’s connected to. I again, I don’t think I have any solutions or direct answers, but I think that these questions around history and also relationship to the land, like whether again that’s wool and thinking about sheep, or looking at dye plants, all of these are attached to the land that for some of our listeners, we’re here in the North American continent, and there’s a… To think about land and to have a relationship with the land is to also take part and be in communication with a really violent history, and I think that we need to start as textile makers, we need to start questioning what our relationship is to the land and who has access to this land. Who’s land is this? Who has sovereignty over this land?  So, I think just asking, encouraging listeners, and encouraging makers to ask ourselves these really hard questions, because I think it can actually enrich and deepen our relationship to textiles and to textile making, and I think it can change… I mean, I believe it can change the world. I think it can change the systems that we’re living in.  

LaChaun Moore:That’s a wrap. If you’re interested in supporting Luna Fiber Studio, you can find links in the show notes at www.gistyarn.com/episode-129. In next week’s episode, I’ll be speaking with Lydia, the founder and design director of California Cloth Foundry, a sustainable fashion brand with goals to positively change the industry one bolt of fabric and garment at a time. Thank you for tuning into this week’s episode. I’m really excited to bring to you all next week’s episode. Until next time, happy weaving. 

Creative Commons License

The music for this podcast  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International LicenseThe musical section is an excerpt of the original: The Beauty of Maths by Meydän.

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