Monday, April 13, 2009

Wild Fibres

2009 Maiwa Textile Symposium Lecture
by LINDA CORTRIGHT
Thursday October 22, 2009 at 7pm
Vancouver Museum (MacMillan Space Centre Auditorium)



Linda Cortright is the editor and publisher of Wild Fibers Magazine, the only publication that focuses on all aspects of the natural fibre industry from travelling with nomads and their camels in the Gobi Desert to working with veiled weavers in Morocco. Linda also brings a timely world focus to the symposium: she is currently serving on the Steering Committee for the International Year of Natural Fibres 2009 – a global initiative sponsored by the United Nations’ FAO Division in Rome, Italy.

In this presentation participants will discover the truly “wild” world of fibres with Linda as she travels with nomads and shepherds raising some of the most exotic fibres on the planet, from precious cashmere in India’s high Himalayas to the rare vicuna living precariously close to a not-so-quiet volcano in Ecuador. There are two threads here: the story of the husbandry behind these rare fibres, and Linda’s story: how she has taken on the role of editor, writer, and publisher to produce one of the most stunning magazines in the fibre arts world.

LINDA CORTRIGHT

Since 1995 Linda Cortright has made her home near the coast of Maine where she raises an “aging” herd of cashmere goats.

Before moving to Maine, Cortright worked in public relations at CBS television and in nuclear training for the Philadelphia Electric Company, eventually writing and producing a documentary on Chernobyl for the United Nations in Vienna, Austria. She has also worked as a dog groomer in New York City, a sales associate for Tiffany & Co., and a marketing consultant for the Peace Corps after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Cortright decided to start Wild Fibers after spending several years as marketing director for The Island Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping sustain Maine’s islands and remote coastal areas. That experience led Cortright to understand the importance of preserving both the agricultural and artisan traditions associated with the fibre industry. The general public tends to focus on the end products, such as cashmere sweaters or alpaca scarves, without giving much thought as to where the fibres actually come from, who is responsible for raising them, and what impact they have on the environment.

In addition to publishing Wild Fibers (which just celebrated its fifth anniversary) and travelling nearly 100,000 miles annually, when Cortright isn’t back on the farm cleaning out the barn or looking for escaped goats, she enjoys giving lectures about her “wild” travel experiences. She also enjoys having her own private supply of cashmere that she spins and knits while waiting in airports in some very remote parts of the globe.

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