I’m a bread baker, gardener, home cook and produce canner, knitter, sewer (or sewist, whichever), researcher, and writer. I periodically add another occupation to the list, not because I dream of doing it all, but because I keep discovering things to learn and I can’t say no.

This blog is about my research, which involves all of the above, and which is about rethinking production and consumption. Utopian socialist, writer, and craftsman William Morris believed that cheap, throw-away, industrially produced consumer goods debased the masses. Then he went out and created a home goods line that was beyond the financial means of the proles, but that’s another story. Still, I do believe that by surrounding oneself with disposable things, one tends to lose touch with “deep time” — that long, geological history that makes a tiny speck out of the timespan of one human life, or even one generation. We risk losing that in part because stuff today is created to be used for a few weeks, seasons, or years and then thrown away. What does that say about modern, globalized cultures, and what does that say about their regard for each other, for future generations, for the people who make all these disposable belongings, and for the planet that provides the raw materials?

There are, however, other forms of production, forms of production that are found outside, on the borders of, or floating on a raft in the sea of the mainstream capitalist economy: DIY, homesteading, off-grid living, radical home economics, craft. These forms of production are part of what I call “invisible economies,” meaning that their outputs are not quantified and considered in the same way as a corporation’s annual report or a country’s GDP. In my research I study and experience forms of labor and production with goals other than monetary profit and growth as an end in itself. I seek out people who work in temporalities other than capitalist time, who participate in economies of production that we could say mirror the economies present in non-human ecosystems: structured around cycles rather than lines, functioning according to alternative rhythms outside the mechanical clock, that expand and contract, grow and shrink, and occasionally die off. I look for so-called invisible economies that in fact leave everything, or almost everything, out in the open to be seen.

This blog is part of an ongoing documentation of my theoretical research in addition to a log of my experiments in production — the experiments that succeded, and others that taught me a lesson for the next time. So besides notes on what I’m reading, you’ll also find here stories of gardening, baking and yarn, stories of my friends, family and me making bread, growing vegetables, knitting and crocheting and sewing clothes and nice things for our homes, and designing the tree houses of our dreams.

E-mail me at kate@wildeconomies.com

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