“Knowing another is endless. The thing to be known grows with the knowing.”
― Nan Shepherd 🍃
(The following entry is written by our designer Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka.)
Quite fittingly this written text on what the art of slowing down means to me has been a long time in the making. It has taken 45 years this September and many generations prior to come to this point in time and the birth of Fog & Moon linens.
Slow paces & places are often not quite what they seem..
Where do I go to remember slow?
The photograph above comes from one of my favourite places in Wellington city the native trees have been left to grow and they are so tall and strong. Rūaumoko the God of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Seasons rules this region the tremors and shakes and wild winds are a constant reminder to all inhabitants of the power of the earth. Tane Mahuta God of the Forest is also resident here, felt in the quiet solitude that rests like a mantel or korowai on the shoulders walking between his children. It never ceases to amaze me how the quiet and solitude of these raw and natural places contain such an abundance of energy. ‘Peace’ here is such a vibrant hum and I am in constant gratitude for this energetic exchange. In the same manner Tangaroa God of the Sea rumbles and thunders around the coastline and we often walk away with our hair standing on end, feeling quite battered yet fully revived! This wild place is our home and over the past 5 years I have spent time building my own connection with the landscape. Developing my research and searching for solutions to help maintain this wildness/ wilder-ness.
S L O W = H O P E
This idea filled me with hope and at the time I needed to be filled with hope. Since starting this journey I have met and read about many wonderful people who are doing this work all over the world.
Slow Linens | Grow fast | Process slow
It is no revelation that industrialisation increasing and speeding up product creation, making more at a cheaper rate has cost us, and I will say ‘us’ because whether we are consuming fast or slow all things have an impact. We are more aware of the growing environmental issues everyday. What matters now is how we deal with this information, solution based thinking has filled me with hope in a time of uncertainty, simplifying complex issues by bringing them back to the source, honouring the origin, assessing and evaluating the positive and negative influences over time.
Last week I was so happy to find Libeco and I let them know it. They are a 5th generation linen company, these people have flax in their veins! Libeco have developed an organic linen, their mill is also solar and wind powered. This company takes pride in the development and craftsmanship of their exclusive linen range.
See their linen stories here.
(image from Libeco website.)
Globally less than 1% of linen is grown organically. Linen flax requires no added chemicals and less water than cotton. It is the most environmentally friendly textile however because natural materials are labour intensive for farmers, non organic linen will often involve going through the following process: Seeds are pretreated with fungicide. Flax linen plants are annuals they will grow over the summer season approx 100 days from seed to ground. After planting, small sprouts are sprayed with pesticide. Petroleum-based fertilisers are applied. Prior to harvesting, two different herbicides are sprayed on the field. If needed, more pesticide and fungicide may be applied. Later, when conventional food crops are planted in the same soil, a different roster of chemicals will be added.
There is growing information regarding health issues and mental illness linked to food. Long story short some who have been diagnosed with depression or worse experiencing psychotic episodes have no further mental health issues when wheat and dairy are removed from their diet and more organic plantbased foods are introduced. You can read about one Doctors work (meat incl.) here & another Doctors work (no meat) here.
As an indigenous person I know that my ancestors would honour their food from the ground, to the seed, to the plant or the animal. Every living thing was connected as a system together; gratitude and respect for the elements that sustain the body was an integral part of the process of life. We have all seen what happens in industrial food factories & fast food chains. If we think of the energy of a wild place, walking in trees, on beaches, or up mountains, the energy or mauri of the place enters our bodies and nourishes our wairua, the fibre of our being. We feel alive. Then if we consider the form of energy taken into our bodies from chemicals designed to kill, disregard of place and apathy towards other life.
Is it too illogical to question that our rising health & mental health issues stem from this source – the way our food is grown?
It’s slow | Progress
Here begins a light at the end of the tunnel organic farmers in Europe are growing crops in cycles, utilising other crops such as wheat, spelt, buckwheat, rye, lucerne (alfalfa), in between the flax crops according to the ‘give and take’ of the plants, basically what they give to the soil or take away from it and how this will benefit the following crop. This is the growing style that we want to develop through our Positive by Nature project for Fog & Moon linens. We intend to start small learning how to balance crops and the soil, integrating our NZ native plants and creating cycles; annuals, perennials all working together to sustain each other and the land in a whole system. These growing methods are not new and of course we acknowledge those who have been working with the land using permaculture principles, biodynamics or just old school organic gardening pre chemicals and keeping track of our heritage seeds pre genetically engineered or matauranga Maori knowledge and maramataka growing by the moon cycles. I am thankful to these people for their knowledge and hard work.
History has shown us that industrialising equals environmental issues, it is hopeful to see potential solutions in reconsidering natural cycles and working with circular systems that feed each other beneficially and increasing small local businesses. Circular economies maybe the new catch phrase to outshine the misuse of the word sustainable but I believe it is a hopeful. Pinatex is another great example of this and the 9 year journey to becoming a plant based textile by creator Carmen Hijosa is also inspiring and well worth viewing.
I am grateful for my journey with Fog & Moon. Every day I am more aware of the reality of what it takes to create an ethical product. When your goal is to make a product that not only benefits your customers lives, but also strives to create a positive change in the system it is exhausting for the mind and body. Annoying whispering fears often build in the darkness of the unknown and taking time out in wild places is my favourite way to blast them away and reconnect with nature, wairua (spirit) and my family.
Fog & Moon would like to make a commitment to support other small businesses, growers, makers, influencers and wordsmiths who are striving towards greater positive changes in the environment and social enterprises. So we will do our best to showcase the inspiring products and concepts we find here on our blog and also on our Fog & Moon face book page.
Our story of the day comes to an end for now as we patiently and hopefully work towards our goals and materialising our concepts.
Before I go I’ll share some wild energy with you – Tangaroa thundering against the rocks at another of our favourite places.
Whatever your calling/s (it maybe plural) I hope you remember to breathe deep and enjoy connecting with what matters most to you – honouring yourself and your own truths. If what is written here speaks to you, let us know, we love to hear and read inspirational stories and we want to grow our community here in New Zealand and overseas.
Ka kite xo
(see you soon)