Piedmont Fibershed is happy to announce that we received a 2020 Fibershed Seed Grant ($4500) to start important work to connect, visibilize, and resource BIPoC fiber/dye growers and makers in our bioregion. BIPoC* Fiberways: Where Culture Meets the Land, is a 6-month seed project led by adé (they/she), a multimedia healing artist and member of Piedmont Fibershed’s Steering Committee.
Research and use media arts to document the material and cultural imprint of BIPoC fiberways on NC’s living textile story;
Do a small-scale BIPoC fiber and dye farming experiment;
Catalyze a bioregional network of BIPoC fiber and dye practitioners; and,
Identify resources for local BIPoC growers and makers to pursue financially-viable fiber and dye farming and supply chain infrastructure.
- pursue and meet the needs/interests of BIPoC practitioners across our natural fiber supply chain;
- identify marginalized growers, producers, and makers; and,
- live out our racial and cultural equity values.
Read an excerpt from the grant Intro, written by adé, below-
“An Indigenous homeland to the 5 Bands of the Saponi Nation (Catawba, Eno, Occaneechi, Haliwa, and Lumbee peoples) and many more, the Piedmont region of North Carolina is well known for its burnt red clay soil, abundant rivers and creeks, and diverse plant and animal life. Through a deliberate process of Indigenous land theft, genocide, colonization, and the enslavement of Africans, Southern white imperialists were able to set-up a lucrative, racist textile industry that became the driving economic force of white wealth creation for the state, and ultimately, the U.S. Even after Emancipation, dignity in work was denied to Black workers. Black textile mill workers were denied entry into mills, as well as homes in the mill towns. Instead, they were routinely relegated to tasks outside the mill and to homes in ruins, neglected by racist city officials.
The same mills towns that locked Black workers out in the 20th century are now the sites of extensive gentrification that is driving the displacement of Black communities in the 21st. Today, instead of spinning yarn, former mill buildings are brewing beer to cater to an economy that continues to profit off of the marginalization and exploitation of BIPoC communities. The financial wealth generated from the state’s textile industry remains in the banks of white families and corporations with plantation legacies. However, the cultural wealth of our textile industry spreads far beyond that. This proposal is a commitment to magnifying, honoring, healing, and financially resourcing BIPoC relationships to textile, fiber, dye, and the land.”