A place-based approach to regional fiber economies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Rural New England is a place of hills, rivers and streams, stone walls and rocky pastures – the remnants of a once-thriving regional fibre economy. Every river and stream in our region once powered a small manufacturer, including many wool and textile mills. These industries and the large populations they employed are long gone. Hydroelectric dams have taken their place. Pastures that herds of sheep once grazed upon have been retaken by forest, and mossy stone walls map the borders of a forgotten landscape. This is a landscape that has long captured the rural escape fantasies of artists, writers, back-to-the-landers and homesteaders. Artists, homesteaders and farmers continue to be drawn to these remote hills and valleys; among them are a number of craft food producers, small-scale and organic farmers, cooperatives, artisans and shepherds. This chapter explores how these groups are reinventing a regional fibre economy. They are doing things differently than their predecessors by, for example, keeping their flocks small and diverse, developing new marketing strategies and inhabiting multiple economic identities – farmer, shepherdess, professional, designer, entrepreneur, textile artist, spinner, wool processor, knitter and weaver. These new regional fibre economies blur the boundaries between craft and food, borrowing from each.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCraft Communities
EditorsSusan Luckman, Nicola Thomas
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Electronic)9781474259675
ISBN (Print)9781474259583
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2023


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