DIY, just not alone
Frugality, the looming “post-oil” era and a homey rebellion against the engulfing tides of plastic-packaged disposable everything have spawned a DIY movement that has a strong heartbeat here in Quirkutopia. Knitting and sewing, auto mechanics and woodworking,chicken raising, hunting and fishing, baking and canning: all of these and a lot more are making a resurgence here and nationally, with a bubbling scene of workshops and fairs and gatherings in Sonoma County and the whole Northern California region.
One annual gathering is Transition Sebastopol Reskill Fair in October at the Laguna Farms CSA (Community Supported Agriculture – more on those HERE).
At this Fair and other events in Quirkutopia (see a few HERE), you can learn “practical skills for a creating a resilient and sustainable community and life” according to promoters. Gathering on a local active organic farm, you learn things like recycling grey water, knitting, sewing, cooking and food preserving, bicycle maintenance, natural building, herbal medicines, basic home energy efficiency, practical food growing, harvesting rainwater, composting waste, edible mushroom growing, food fermenting and olive curing, knot tying, making your own clay based paints.
Many of the classes are taught by specialists like Alexandra Hart, onetime historical clothing pattern maker and author of Native Funk and Flash,(also the name of one of the many thrift and re-use stores in the Quirktopia region more on that HERE); Tamara Wilder, a paleotechnologist who teaches acorn harvesting and processing, including Pounding, Sifting, Leaching, Cooking and Eating. I think I’ve got that last one, thanks. The national Primitive Skills movement has been quietly growing over the last couple decades, popularized lately by many TV shows on survival. If some of these sound like skills you ought to learn from a well-versed grandmother, note that Sebastopol also has regular meetings of something called Insurgent Elders Gathering. They may be busy reorganizing the world, so don’t be startled to find a younger instructor. Not everyone’s been doing all their learning on their new computer tablet!