Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Partnering with Pergamena - Eco friendly Tanning in The Hudson Valley

Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more 
listening than talking..." --Bernard Baruch

Watching the hides being worked
As we toured Pergamena Tannery this past week, business of the Meyer Family since 1550...listening was most definitely par for the course.  PMF has sent 60 lamb pelts who all passed unexpectedly during lambing season from our Farmer's Cooperative to these specialists in vegetable tanning.  Stephen and Jesse were gracious hosts and spent the greater part of the morning helping us understand first hand just how their process works.  As with all alchemy, this work is not for the weak minded or faint of heart.  True art and transformation requires dedication, process, rigour, and vision.  The Meyer's provide superior vegetable tanned leather to world designers at a scale we aspire to... it's awesome.   

Pergamena's buttery parchment was too enticing for my wee beast...

Unwillingness to compromise (both mine and theirs) drove me to find Pergamena.  In the days where you can buy almost anything (including fur) for under $10 - my goal is not to produce, but to produce well.  To produce not just a superior produce ethically, but which also
Not just to pay people, but to pay them so they can thrive as employees.
To spend my money and my client's forever raising the bar that little bit higher.  What else is worthy of energy if not perfection?
Why try for second place?  PMF has about 500 years of catching up to do with the Meyer family's business, and it gave me deep pleasure and a sense of surety to see that this 500 year old business is focusing on sustainable high end production of a timeless product. 

We will gratefully send our leather to receive their treatments, listen and learn about running a business that lives for centuries, and look forward to launching our first accidental and sustainable leather products for this holiday season. 

Some of my favorite colors from their vegetables like chestnuts

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Divinity in the Swamp

Swamps are often depicted as wild, dangerous, unnavigable places.  Many times they are some of each of those things.  

They are most certainly magical.  


Our Apache Model Sparrowhawk 

Swamps hold water - they purify it.  Swamps decay organic matter and turn it into rich soil for new life.  Swamps are sanctuaries for many species not otherwise seen and certainly in this time, remain strongholds of wilderness amongst suburban sprawl.  

Swamps require us to let go of thoughtless motion and existence if we want to enter them.  We must be prepared for walking, swimming, and the precarious sprawled belly walk on the floating peat. What looks like ground is water, and what looks like water is ground. Nothing can be taken for granted.

I've been drawn to these places while founding PMF.  They are both critical to ecosystems health and also totally under appreciated. They complete the circle of life and take what was old to make it new again - much as I attempt to do.   A wet, dark place where life is born anew and kept safe from the quick changes of forests and plains at the hands of unending growth of western capitalism. At times we bulldoze soil into them, or brazenly force roads through them.  Inevitably those developments flood - rot, and in the case of the swamp by our house and former dairy farm - require endless trapping of beaver.

This past year our town stopped trapping.  The beaver flooded the swamp road.  My Grandpere fumed at the beaver (he's a righteous piece of Quebecois grizzle and still has a six pack at 85) for killing the cedar that had grown in the swamp during the century after they had been trapped out of Massachusetts. They were good fence posts for the dairy farm says he!   But it was not closed out of a love for beaver, but rather the 15 foot drop on either side of the road that cars can disappear into which closed the road.  Liability's a bitch.

Regardless - this hot, steamy, dark, wild place played host to our photo shoot this weekend after a flash storm.  Our team was incredible and in particular the models who braved unsteady ground for some epic shots.   Many thanks to our brilliant team, Connecticut Renaissance Faire for our costume pieces,  and a deep bow to the Swamp.  We will be sure to keep you posted about both the final images and the exhibition!


Beautiful Alexandra pausing for the emerging sun 


Photographer: Morten Smidt NYC
MUA: Irene Kim

Monday, 1 August 2016

"We do not look to be ruled"


Politics aside that is a certainty about every American. 

These included --- 

I would argue for every nationality, and species. 

Every business must ultimately decide if they are willing to rule over others and subjugate them. 
You must decide this every time you consume - food, energy, clothing, and even your 
steps on the earth. 

None of these species asks for mercy - they are apex - and that does not mean subjugating others - it means being badass enough to be able to take them even if they are free.  And to be taken yourself at the end without shame or fear or regret. To contribute in life, and in death. 

There is much to learn from each of them about how to rule and be a game changer without destroying everything around you. Specifically to do that without enslaving those which feed you. 
Just as we used to enslave each other, and have since grown beyond that - so too this can happen with other species.  Women work no less hard today now that they have the vote - every individual whose people have achieved civil rights is no less focused on a task at hand - the critical difference is that they choose to do it - the action fulfills their nature. 

North America is a massive continent with upwards of 365 million animals dying on it's roads every year - these are mostly healthy populations of wildlife.   Until we have tapped out that resource of animals living and dying according to their own free will there are no excuses.  We don't do things because they are easier - we do them because they are right.  We have an opportunity to align our business practice with the universal American value of FREE WILL. 

With Veterans Day behind us - and Labor Day ahead - 
let's stay focused on who we are and how we chose.