Block-printing, the age-old printing technique we use to create Beastly textiles, is a beautiful, labor-intensive, multi-stage process. It is the ultimate example of slow fashion. What does block-printing look like? Let’s start with the hand-carved wooden blocks.
The Jaguar is the largest big cat native to North America and the third largest cat in the world. It has played an important role in North and South American religion, mythology, and art due to its beautiful spotted coat, ferocity, strength, and elusiveness. But being revered for millennia has not spared the jaguar from the effects of habitat loss, hunting, and conflicts with livestock. Northern jaguar numbers have dropped dramatically over the last 100 years. To ensure the survival of this extraordinary animal, the 55,000 acre Northern Jaguar Reserve was established in Sonora, Mexico in 2003 to provide a safe place for jaguars to roam, raise families, and hopefully, grow in population.
We asked Turtle Southern, Northern Jaguar Project (NJP) Coordinator, to tell us more about the northern jaguar, the NJP reserve, threats, and ways for us to help.
Simply put, Beastly Threads exists thanks to the extraordinary talent and effort of many people, several of whom live in Jaipur, India. A few years ago, I started working with Sonia Jain who helps brands like Beastly get their products developed by the amazing artisans in India. Along with being a wonderful person, Sonia's help in coordinating the block-printing and sewing of the latest Beastly sarongs was invaluable. And wow are those sarongs beautiful! I recently asked Sonia to give us a better sense of the block-printing community in India. Enjoy!
2017 was a year of extraordinary challenges, to put it mildly. Looking back and surveying the damage leaves you queasy and certainly questioning whether this is a hole without a bottom. From the senseless violence in Las Vegas to the hatred in Charlottesville to the state-mandated discrimination at the airports to the collapse of American leadership in the fight to save our planet to the abandonment of Puerto Rican citizens in their time of need to the attack on transgender members of the military to the pathetic sparring of two nuclear-armed frontal-lobe-deficient adolescents should be enough to make anyone start drinking heavily to numb the pain. Then you add Mother Nature’s fury in the form of wildfires, hurricanes, and earthquakes and one really wonders if this is actually the beginning of the end.
I have certainly found 2017 to be brutal, disheartening, and relentless in its continuous blows against all that I value as a woman, a mom, an American, and a member of humanity.
BUT it has also been a year of amazing accomplishments, resistance, and hope. The lows of 2017 were really, really low but wow, were the highs high!
Finding inspiration while running on the hamster wheel of life – going from one task to the next, always in a rush, never with enough time to stop and see all of the amazing things happening around the world - is tough.
Or is it?
Maybe we are just looking in the wrong places. Maybe we don’t need TEDTalks, Instagram, and Anderson Cooper to find the energy and hope we are seeking. Because really, the greatest place to find inspiration is in the brilliance and creativity and generosity of our friends. When I take the time to look, I find that I am utterly surrounded by awesomeness.
One of the amazing organizations that Beastly Threads supports, Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF), is doing everything in its power to restore coral reefs in the Florida Keys and Caribbean. I got the chance to ask Ashley Hill of CRF some questions about their work, the sunscreen vs. coral controversy, and what global leaders need to do before the planet's reefs are gone forever.
Beastly Threads (BT): The global decline of coral reefs is really scary. What makes you hopeful that the reefs can be saved?
Ashley Hill (AH): The work being done at Coral Restoration Foundation gives me hope. Our organization is working diligently to understand causes of not only local, but global coral reef decline. Over the next few years, CRF is honing our efforts to fully restore several reefs throughout the Florida Keys. The reefs of the keys were once iconic dive sites with impressive stands of elkhorn and staghorn coral. Due to warming waters, increased pollution, and physical damage, the reefs have experienced dramatic declines and are now ideal candidates for our restoration efforts. Working with NOAA and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, CRF will begin to fully restore several reefs. This type of effort informs international projects. Criteria for reef restoration can transcend a singular area to be useful across the globe.
Every once in a while I am reminded that my kids are hearing, digesting, and filing away every single word I say.
At dinner a few weeks back, my 8-year-old son Nathaniel told me about his “Minipreneur” class, an after-school enrichment program where 3rd to 5th graders are taken through the step-by-step process of starting a business. This being the first day, the teacher had asked the kids to share and discuss businesses and business owners they know.
“Mommy, I told them all about you and Beastly Threads! I told them about why you chose your company’s name and how you want to save endangered species and block printing in India and how long it took you to find the right people to do it and how hard it is being eco-friendly cause it just makes things harder and how you don’t want to just have everything made by a factory in China even though it sure would be easier and how you thought you had a great first year until you calculated all the darn costs and…”
I listened with mouth agape. This kid had been listening to literally every word I said and was now reciting it all back to me. He remembered the tough vendor decisions I had made, the joy of my first sales, the incredible frustration that had accompanied disappointing production results, my goofy pride in a great Instagram post, and even the tears associated with the realization that I might need to start all over.