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Ontario Handspinning Seminar

Teena Jennings

Community Spinning in the Village of Soutanana, Madagascar: Their Essential Cog in Indigenous Reforestation

In the central plateau region of Madagascar, many of the indigenous trees have been replaced by white pine and eucalyptus trees, both of which are noxious to understory plants. In Soutanana, the village leaders decided to embark on the replanting of tapia trees which is the sole food source of the larva of an indigenous silk moth. This silk has important ritual relevance to the people of the region. Tree lumber is an important source of fuel, but by increasing silk output and selling the resulting fabric, the villagers acquired the incentive to permit the trees to grow. This presentation will discuss this community endeavor from all perspectives.



Teena Jennings. Having been a spinner for some forty years, I have just topped my experience by completing the OHS Spinning Certificate Programme. That truly is the way to find out how little you know and how to rectifiy it! Newly retired, I was a faculty member at The University of Akron in Ohio, USA where I taught all aspects of textiles including fibre science, yarn and textile structure, quality assurance, dyeing, surface design, fibre arts, textile history, conservation and other museum-related aspects. My research was dual pronged – caring for textiles within a museum setting; and, working with indigenous groups including some in Bolivia and Madagascar, re-establishing techniques found within museum collections and strengthening the use of original fibres from a sustainability perspective.

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