This is where I live: in a small village on the Slocan Lake in the mountains of the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada.
View from Idaho Peak – New Denver on Slocan Lake in the summer
This beautiful landscape and all the other lands I have ever lived in provide inspirational sustenance for the way I live my life. The small things living inside this landscape touch my being every day and it is through these daily interactions with nature that I find guidance on how to live my life. Nature is my motivation, my teacher and my muse. It is the small things in nature that are constant reminders that smallness is important, that small things matter, that small things grow into big things, that a landscape is made up of little miracles, and that the world can be changed by small things, one action and one individual at a time.
It was this concept of small which motivated me to create my very first Kootsac bags in 2007. I was on a mission to reduce as much plastic in our household as I could and those little plastic bags that kept coming in with bulk bin food and produce were driving me crazy. In an effort to at least reuse them I would wash them and hang them out to dry on the back porch. We would walk into a wall of them every time we went out the back door, and we had bags of plastic bags. I began to think about how many plastic bags were used and thrown away in other households all over the world. My mind boggled. I searched for reusable bags to replace them and when I found none available for sale I went to work designing and making my own. I called them Kootsacs because they are little ‘sacks’ made right here in my studio in the Kootenays.
Kootsac bags are made with lightweight ripstop nylon or natural silk for bulk food bin shopping, and in unbleached cotton muslin for produce. Cotton produce bags are printed with my original screenprint designs of butterflies and bees – a reminder by these small delicate creatures that the earth needs our care and protection.