My family's new New Year's Eve tradition is to go to the museum. If you are similarly inclined, try to stop by Cooper Hewitt to catch the Design for a Living World exhibit before it ends on January 4th. In this exhibition ten designers tell their stories of using sustainably grown and harvested materials to create items that tell stories about the life-cycle of materials, conservation, and design.
Christien Meindertsma was my favorite member of this group of ten. She focuses on the connection between the producer of the raw material, in this case farmers and their sheep, and the final consumer. For Design for a Living World, Christien worked with the Lava Lake Ranch in Idaho where she gathered and felted wool into yarn tagging each lot with the particular sheep that produced it. Using giant knitting needles, she knits individual hexagons that loosely emulate the shape of a sheep. Each hexagon uses all the wool produced by one sheep. The individual shapes can be linked together to produce a larger rug made of a flock of sheep.
Here is a video of her experience:
Other designers participating in this exhibition and the geographic areas they worked in include: Yves Behar/Costa Rica; Stephen Burks/Australia; Hella Jongerius/Mexico; Maya Lin/Maine; Isaac Mizrahi/Alaska; Abbott Miller/Bolivia; Ted Muehling/Micronesia; Kate Spade/Bolivia; and Ezri Tarazi/China.