It started in our Malvern store, we had visitors all the way from the beautiful province of Suzhou in China, which happens to be the ancient city of silk, as well as being known for it's beautiful gardens and landscapes (see above). Our visitors were a young family attending a Steiner Kindergarten in China - they took photos of our store - and were very excited about seeing so many Steiner-inpsired toys and books in one place. After three visits, and all of us overcoming our language barriers with lots of patience and smiles from both ends, they left with lots of new inspiration for their Kinder. Steiner books and art supplies are VERY expensive in China, so we rummaged around and found a big pile of donations for them, and in return we received a beautiful pure silk scarf and an address in China to go visit! (Here's wishing).
Now this morning, I logged in to see what all my bloggy friends were up to today, and another thread was drawn into the picture. Mike from Sarah's Silks in Forestville, California - who supplies us with all our lovely silk dress-ups and playcloths - is in China, and what's more on his way to Suzhou!!! If you meet Vivian, Mike, send our love from Honeybee!!!! You can read all about Mike's journey on his Sarah's Silk Blog. Mike has been visiting the Chengdu Waldorf School and has some great pictures and experiences to share. It makes my heart sing to know that Steiner education if finding a place in China.
Today is World Environment Day, so it seems rather appropriate to thread another needle and tell you a little about Sarah's Silks. Sarah's Silks is one of my favourite companies because they are living proof that it is possible to manufacture in China ethically and provide people with meaningful work. The people at Sarah's Silks (which is a family run business) have visited China from the outset and ensured that the workers have good conditions and fair pay. Their silks are hand-hemmed in a small village near Shanghai, and the seamstresses work often in their homes, as their children play nearby.
From an environmental point of view, silk is a natural fiber, produced by silk worms, and therefore a renewable resource. The majority of the worlds silk comes from China, so it makes sense (from a carbon footprint point of view) that the products be manufactured where the raw materials are grown. (photo courtesty of Alberto's photostream).
Thank you to these inspirational little creatures - for making the strongest thread in the world, and for all of you out there - each of us linking to each other in sometimes invisible ways - but nonetheless through the strong threads of being human!