Diversity in Fiber
You may have noticed that it's been quiet around here. We've spent the last few weeks following what's happening on the public stage, listening and learning about the experiences of the Black community. Created by Elsie B strives to be an inclusive company, and that has always been a part of our values. However, we haven't always been involved and aware of the issue of diversity in fiber. In fact, it really only came on to our radar within the last year. But, we want our customers and readers to know that we're focusing our energy in this area and are sorry that we haven't been more involved. The issue of the lack of diversity in our space has hit us hard, and our eyes are open. We have committed to doing better and being part of the solution. We will miss the mark. We will make mistakes. And, we will listen and learn and take accountability when that happens. If you follow Created by Elsie B on Instagram, that has been our main platform over the last few weeks to highlight the various resources that we have found invaluable to our education. If you are struggling with where to start, we have book lists, educational resources and blog posts there that we have found helpful. In addition, today's blog highlights a very personal and actionable step that any fiber artist can take to encourage, support and promote Black voices in fiber.
Instagram has been a huge resource for us. We first found out about the Growing the Black Fiber Community Mentorship Program through @melanatedbohobae and @alexcreates. Both are talented and inspiring fiber artists that offer inspiration and education in both fiber arts and the Black experience in this space. (Seriously, check out their feeds!) When LeAndra first read about their mentorship initiative, it immediately hit home as a something that she could DO TODAY to make things better. It is quick. It is simple. And, there are several ways that you can help, no matter where your skills, abilities and resources lie.
How It Works
The first thing we want everyone to understand about the Growing the Black Fiber Community Mentorship Program is that there is a way for everyone to participate. If your funds are tight, but you have skills, you can contribute still. If you have a surplus stash, there's a way to plug in. Even if you just ogle fiber and haven't actually made the leap to become a fiber artist yourself, you can still support and encourage Black artists. There is truly opportunity here for anyone who wants to help, and we love that so much! Manda and Alex have created a very simple, one-page form that you can find here. (If you're a Black crafter with an interest in fiber, you can sign up to be mentored here!) After inputting some basic contact info, you can choose what type of support best suits your circumstances. You can either
- Sign up to be a mentor. Whatever your skills are, whether it be dyeing, spinning, knitting, crochet or weaving, you will be matched with a Black artist that wants to grow in that area.
- Donate supplies - fiber, yarn, dyes, needles, etc.
- Donate cash in any amount. For those who don't have skills or supplies to place on the table, your financial support will go toward connecting diverse fiber artists with the resources they need to grow in this craft.
At Created by Elsie B, we understand that it can be overwhelming to know what to do to make the world a better place. While we are here for that hard work, sometimes we all just want to know where we can go from here. The good news is that even little things can make a big difference. We encourage all our Elsie B family to check out the Growing the Black Fiber Community Mentorship Program, sign up and use what you have to promote and amplify Black voices in the fiber community. We hope that your reaction to this opportunity will be what ours was - "Hey! I can do that!"
**Please note that the photos in this blog are stock photos and not actual photos of fiber artists or anyone associated with Created by Elsie B. We are working on highlighting diversity within our own community but didn't want to neglect promoting the mentor program because we lack this particular resource at this time.**
Today, we want to invite feedback and input from Black artists in our community. If there are ways we can better support you, we want to hear about it. If you have educational resources that you think we can benefit from, please send them our way or leave them in a comment!