Thursday, December 6, 2012

We Are All Connected

Cashmere sweaters, fresh from the thrift store, ready to be felted.

I just learned of the factory fire in Bangladesh, where so many women perished. They were working for just over a dollar a day to produce the clothes that we wear, name brand clothes that pull good prices here.  The columnist I read likened it to slavery, the way those women worked to give us the lifestyle we want.

I often say that my work – repurposing old clothing into new – is my way to fight this system.  A very tiny way, but I hope to be a voice calling for sanity in the way we consume goods.

And yet, I am complicit in the slave labor of those women, and the creation of more desert in Mongolia. The ability to buy cheap goods means the devaluing of those goods, and of the lives that went into the making of them.    If we didn’t live in a throw-away society, I wouldn’t have those Gap sweaters, or the lovely cashmeres I adore to work with. I love going to the thrift store and coming away with good finds – but that often means someone else didn’t care enough to mend a small hole, or try to remove that small spot.  Did I make them get rid of that sweater?  No.  But we are all connected, our actions are interwoven.

My work is my prayer that in some small way I can re-value those lives.  My work is to help others to see the connections.  May my work bring healing.