All photography credited to By Darius Photography
I wrote it down somewhere that I wanted to write a blog titled “A Year in Review”. I don’t feel that attached to the construct of time, really, but the construct of accomplishment continues to both delight and delude me despite my repeated attempts over half a decade at deconstruction. I wish to extract myself from the most harmful effects of capitalism, as it stands. To do. To make. To create. To work. To impress. To keep up. To do to do to do. A list. This list reminds me of trying to memorize new verbs in Spanish in high school. A thick stack of flash cards and a three ring binder and a plan to go and make something of myself. Something others would be proud of. As if I wasn’t already someone. As if I wasn’t already worthy. I never knew what it was to feel pride in myself. I am learning this now, at 35 years young. I am still learning Spanish too - I never became fluent - and that's probably okay.
Anyway, we do live in a capitalist system, and in fact, we did accomplish things here this year. The shop girls and I called it our “seed” year, in preparation for the great “bloom” of 2023. And I think just as in nature, there are times that require effort: seeding and watering and fussing about. And we can seed good through capitalism, I truly believe this. We can create fair wages and safe working conditions and meaningful employment and we can protect the environment and work alongside it, rather than in opposition. And by doing this, we can stand in solidarity with people - which is the reason for being on this planet, if you ask me, even though no one did. But maybe no one needs to ask - maybe...just maybe...I can stand in my authentic truth without anyone asking me for it. Maybe I can exist, just as I am, without looking for validation or reason or value. And maybe, if we put people in front of profits, we will realize that respect and care for the planet naturally follows. That indigenous people everywhere have it right. That we are meant to be stewards of the land, not conquerors of it. That we exist alongside one another, and if we do not harmonize, we will fade away. This land is not my land, and it is not yours either. The land belongs to itself, you to yourself, me to mine self. Let us seed respect. Let us seed awareness of self and place and our ability as people of privilege to be a part of the solution, rather than the driving force of the problem.
And for each action or force in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction. And the opposite of effort is ease. And the opposite of seeding is bloom! And so, once we have seeded the good we can sit in wonder and open our eyes wide and say, "wow!" or..."come see!". And we can be. Just be. I told Jo, our Shop Manager, that my goals for next year are “ease, simplicity and intention”. The opposite reaction, perhaps, of hustle and complication and "throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks" - aka, what I feel I accomplished in 2022. 2020 was a year of rebirth - of a literal flood - a washing away, a global pandemic in which we lost close family, and the birth of my third baby. 2021 passed in a blur, I blinked and we had firmly established ourselves in our new location along the Coast Highway in Leucadia and my infant was walking...wait, running. Running and jumping and growing and growing and growing. It felt like everything was moving too fast and too slow, all at the same time - some sort of beautifully melancholic symphony. I kept waiting for the intermission, but it never came. Instead the show rolled right into 2022 and now here I sit, lamenting on (and celebrating) its demise.
We worked really, really hard this year. And I say this less with pride for the working (hello, healing!), and more with pride for what the work created. The work created space for caring for human beings around the world. People we haven't met, whose situations we will never fully understand, and yet we empathize - as we do with all of Earths creatures. I created this business as a response to the worst parts of capitalism: to low wages and meaningless work and disrepect of people and planet. In 2022, we maintained true to our mission to make finding unique and well made goods easy, and conscious consumerism enjoyable and impactful. In this past year we:
Supported more than 300 independent makers and small companies that are incorporating sustainability into their business models through small scale, earth friendly production and eco-friendly shipping processes, fair pay and dignified work for artisans, and social support programming.
Sustained above-living wages for six women in San Diego (and created three new fair wage jobs).
Donated $6,400 to 501(c)(3) charitable organizations and mutual aid funds, equivalent to 1.49% of our total profits for the year:
- $2,150 in mutual aid to our friends in Afghanistan (a family of seven)
- $1,500 to Celebration Nation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization supporting farm workers and their families in California
- $275 to Dig Deep, a 501(c)(3) organization working to bring clean, running water to communities in need throughout the US
- $275 to the American Indian College Fund in support of scholarships for Native students and colleges
- $350 to Native Like Water to prepare and reintegrate Native teens and adults into ocean recreation and conservation
- $150 to the California Indian Basket-weavers Association to preserve, promote and perpetuate California Indian basketry traditions
- $100 to Changing Tides, a 501(c)(3) organization working to empower women to protect the planet through environmental and surf initiatives
- $500 Thread Spun gift card to the Still We Rise auction in support of charitable organizations providing safe access to abortions
- $500 Thread Spun gift card to the Pine Ridge Bear Project Auction, a literacy and life outreach project for children and adults on the Pine Ridge Reservation
- $250-valued gift basket to 501(c)(3) organization, Groundswell Community Project, to benefit their trauma-informed surf therapy programming
- $200 Thread Spun gift card to Amigos de Animales, a 501(c)(3) charity rescuing injured and abused animals in rural Guerrero, Mexico
- $150 Thread Spun gift card to Encinitas Community Resource Center (ECRC) to contribute to the safety, stability and self-sufficiency of individuals living in North County, San Diego
To live in our modern society is marked by profound effort for all but the most privileged of the developed world. In most places, human beings toil day in and out just to meet their most basic needs. Many would give anything to be where we are now, in this place of relative safety, calm, and ease - with access to food, shelter, water and education for our children. This place of massive, weighty privilege. The opportunity to rest and to enjoy life is not one to squander. It is an opportunity few have.
In this next year, I wish to shake off the yoke of do-ing, and embrace the simplicity of be-ing. I am an “elder millennial”, and I grew up feeling the pressure that is being raised by Baby Boomers - my parents wishes for "successful" children living "successful" lives, their own backs laden with the desire for more! more! more! - long cultivated by the Industrial Revolution and the very human desire for comfort. I feel the generational trauma of my grandparents - of a great grandmother sent to a sanitarium for “female hysteria” (depression). Of a grandfather who spent a little too much time in a POW camp in Germany and got a little too mean, as a result. I wish to let go of this, to learn to watch my children just be, and to be with them, leaning in to ease and appreciation. When I do - do, I wish to do with the intention of cultivating a more just world, a more peaceful place in which to settle into my new life of being. Into abundance for everyone, not just for a few, in consultation with the earth and with deep respect for her.
And if I can make steps toward this - toward more be-ing, and less do-ing, yes, but still do-ing what needs to be done to seed the bloom...if I march toward progress, personally, what will it mean for the people around me? For my community? Perhaps, if a few individuals from each generation improve a little on the one before it, maybe, just maybe - we’ll figure it out before it’s too late. If next year’s Thread Spun is, in some form, the protege of this year's - what will it become? Who will it be? I am excited to find out. We do have some exciting plans in the works for next year, and I hope you'll come along. As always, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for listening and supporting. It means so much to so many.
In Peace, Heidi