Customer of the Month: Gentian
(Yes, it's entirely possible Gentian will turn out to be Customer of the Quarter, or even of the year, depending on how inspired I am to profile someone else. But Gentian deserves the recognition, regardless of how long it takes me to add a new blog entry. :)
Gentian has been a NearSea customer for years now, and as we've gotten to know her better we've been amazed and inspired by the wonderful lifestyle she's chosen to live. Living in the thriving town of Homer, Alaska (population 4,000, with another 8,000 outside the city limits and what looks like a splendid brownie recipe in the Homer Tribune), Gentian has made sustainability her focus.
Read on to find out more.
"We are putting together a sustainable website for our town of Homer Alaska, with lots of very good info on living sustain-ably. It will be called "(for the love of each other)". It's a work in progress right now. We are also building a living school with my sister and her husband and youth, while we've just began working with others to get a larger sustainable community going and are writing a book called The Equation of Love."
Not only do they have the cows, pictured to the right, and other livestock (including a yak!), but Gentian and her family also raise "old race Icelandic Settler Chickens - the original chicken breed that the Vikings brought to Iceland. They are small in size and lay a normal sized egg and are very thrifty feeders, with great character and beautiful feather patterns" The birds live in a nontoxic chicken house built by Gentian's sister. Reading the description of the birds and looking at this wonderful series of photos on flickr (possibly only visible if you have or create a flickr account) makes me feel like our collection of heirloom breeds from McMurray Hatchery isn't as special as I thought it was. I still really like their eggs, though!
Gentian says her family lives in NearSea's sustainable and nontoxic fabrics; pictures of a series of dresses and aprons they've made are scattered throughout this entry and there are several at the bottom. Click on the images to see a bigger picture. (You can see that they've done some dyeing, too, with very impressive results.) They've also used our yarns and buttons to make some splendid purses, like this one. The details are very much worth looking at -- the flowers are beautiful, the antler buttons accent the purse perfectly, the strap is much more interesting than you'd think a strap could be, and so on. I'm not sure if they make me want to start knitting again or give up because there's absolutely no way my creations could be this neat!
I could write about Gentian for quite some time, if you can't tell -- her lifestyle, the choices she makes, and her intense efforts toward sustainability not only in her home but in her larger community are so very inspiring to me. Instead, though, I'll close with several more pictures of her creations. Enjoy!