Presentation: Reviving Local Fibre Systems: Challenges and Opportunities in Unama’ki Cape Breton

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Panel Moderator
Rhonda Ferguson
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About This Event
September 21, 2024
1:00 pm
Fisherman’s Landing Inn – Small Conference Room
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In 2022 Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design embarked on a research and activity agenda to explore the history, challenges, and opportunities related to local material production for fibre craft on the Island, and specifically wool. This work forms part of the Centre’s Sustainable Craft program, which understands sustainability holistically, to encompass environmental, economic, social, and cultural sustainability. In this presentation, I will give a brief history of settler fibre systems in Unama’ki Cape Breton, followed by an overview of our work investigating and illustrating the possibilities for local supply chains for craft and wool micro industries. Some of the activities we’ve undertaken include the piloting of enhanced networks between fibre producers, processors, and craftspeople; the engagement of expertise in sheep and fleece care for fibre purposes; a series of community conversations to gauge community needs, and a mapping project with our partner, the Flaxmobile Project, to uncover the systemic nature of the displacement of local material production by imported, synthetic materials. Our interest in local sustainable fibre systems stems from our dedication to craft, and it extends to the flourishing of rural economies, the environment, relationships between settler and Mi’kmaw communities, and the sector in a way that prioritizes our collective and individual wellbeing and resilience.