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Fiber Panel Discussion

Featured Maker Talk: Sustainable Textiles with Three Rivers Fibershed

Saturday, August 18, 2018 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

How do you know where your clothing comes from? What should we be doing with clothing when we're done with it? Why does sustainable clothing cost so much? And what is a fibershed anyways? Join Three Rivers Fibershed for a panel discussion with Nicky Robare, Rachel Breen, Alejandra Sanchez, Emma Olson and Maggie Thompson on the opportunities and challenges of sustainable and local textile and fashion production.

From raising and processing raw fiber, to creating and selling clothing, to mending and passing along clothing at the end of its lifespan. Three Rivers Fibershed Director, Maddy Bartsch will lead five innovative women in the world of sustainable fashion through a conversation of questions, inspiration and ideas for action.

Featured Maker Talk is included with Great Makers Exchange or Museum Admission.

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Panel Participants

Maddy Bartsch. Maddy Bartsch is a fiber artist, educator, and sustainable fiber systems organizer working to bring awareness and action to systems that take into account the true cost and impact of our textile consumption. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a BFA and minor in fashion studies, Maddy set her sights on local fiber systems and began working her way from sheep to sweater. Maddy co-founded the Three Rivers Fibershed, an affiliate branch of Fibershed which works to create soil-to-soil fiber systems within strategic geographies, and currently serves as their Director. Maddy regularly teaches classes around the Twin Cities with frequent classes at the Textile Center of Minnesota and at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota where she is President-Elect. In addition to teaching and demonstrating throughout the Twin Cities Metro, Maddy works as a contract project coordinator and organizer to help folks navigate their local fiber systems around the country. Her artist practice centers on creating works that hold mindful consideration for content and materials, always asking the question of how her use of materials will either positively or negatively impact the world. Maddy grows natural dye gardens during Minnesota's sometimes-finicky growing season and is always grateful to make new connections.

Emma Olson. Hazel & Rose was founded by Emma Olson in 2016 when she couldn't find a place in town that carried her favorite sustainable & ethical brands all in one place. The shop opened in Northeast Minneapolis with the intent to showcase independent brands - some locally made, others from around the world - who were committed to quality, beauty, transparency, and sustainability. In September 2017, Bobbi Barron joined Hazel & Rose as a partner & co-owner, bringing years of experience with her own independent storefront in rural Minnesota. Together, Emma and Bobbi have remained dedicated to finding garments and designers that inspire and last.

Maggie Thompson. Maggie Thompson (Fond du Lac Ojibwe) was born and raised in Minneapolis. As a textile artist and designer, she derives her inspiration from the history of her Ojibwe heritage, exploring family history as well as themes and subject matter of the broader Native American experience. Thompson’s work calls attention to its materiality pushing the viewer’s traditional understanding of textiles. She explores materials in her work by incorporating multimedia elements such as photographs, beer caps and 3D-printed objects. In addition to her fine arts practice, Thompson runs a small knitwear business known as Makwa Studio and is also an emerging curator of contemporary Native art at Two Rivers Gallery and has worked on curating special exhibits for the McKnight Foundation and the Minnesota Museum of American Art.

Nickey Robare. Nickey Robare has been sewing and creating unique fashion since childhood. After making a commitment to sew all her own clothing, she started The Fashion Ration, an alterations and tailoring business. Offering body positive and queer-friendly sewing services, Nickey wants to help everyone embrace their truest selves through fashion.

Rachel Breen. Rachel’s installations, wall drawings and works on paper have been featured throughout the Twin Cities, the Midwest and Nationally. Rachel has received Artist Initiative grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board in 2009, 2014 and 2017, a fellowship from the Walker Art Center and maintains an active studio practice in NE Minneapolis. Rachel Breen is a visual artist whose practice utilizes non-traditional materials and exhibition spaces and explores social concerns through drawing, installation and performance. She uses a sewing machine, one that is often unthreaded, for the mark it helps her make and also for the way it embeds ideas of repair and connection into her work.  Connecting visual imagery with public actions is an integral component of her practice.

Alejandra Sanchez. Alejandra is an advocate for the slow fashion movement, the use of natural fibers and botanical dyes, and the raising of fiber animals utilizing humane and compassionate practices. She is the founder of A Woolen Forest whose focus is on wool crafts, natural dyeing, sustainable practices, and animal welfare. Alejandra raises English and French Angora rabbits in colonies, a practice in which the rabbits live together in large communal spaces built to resemble their natural environment, have access to unlimited hay, and are fed herbs & wild greens to encourage their natural foraging instincts. Their wool is gathered multiple times a year and used for a number of wool crafts. In addition to her rabbit colonies, Alejandra keeps a vegetable, flower, and botanical dye garden. It is Alejandra’s hope that in the near future, she will be able to expand her fiber forest to welcome sheep and even more rescued fiber animals.