MATERIAL LIBRARY AND GLOSSARY
This section is amusingly incomplete and should be viewed as a placeholder for a bigger ambition.
The intention here is to provide definitions and quirky links that provide a baseline of knowledge and a vehicle for your further research. Please submit more terms, or better yet volunteer to add them yourself. I’ll keep a look out for your email!
From Merriam Webster: Any of a genus (Lama) of wild or domesticated long-necked South American ruminants related to the camels but smaller and without a hump, especially : a domesticated llama descended from the guanaco and used especially in the Andes as a pack animal and a source of fiber.
Llama is considered a luxury fiber; some characteristics are copied here from and article in Owlcation by Beverley Byer. Linking through to the original article will provide more definitions and useful comparisons.
“As with alpaca fleece, llama fibers has varying degrees of medullation or hollowness and are therefore lightweight. Llama fibers are also extremely warm; strong; durable; lanolin-free and therefore hypoallergenic; water-resistant but will lose its shape and shrink a bit when wet; versatile; comes in many natural colors: white, silver, grey, various shades of brown, rust, dusty rose, and so on. Unlike its alpaca cousin, however, the llama fleece color scheme can be solid, patterned, broken, or spotted (there is definitely no need for dyes here). Fibers are easily damaged by alkaline substances and sunlight. They are also not as elastic, soft or fine as alpaca fibers though some types are providing stiff competition in the softness area.
Regarding diameter, llama fiber ranges from 20 to 40 microns, though some say 25 to 31 microns. Llama guard hairs are long, very stiff, and tough.”
From the book Home Ground: A Language for the American Landscape “Erosion, volcanic eruption, earthquakes, floods, tectonic grinding, landslides, and other natural forces act continuously on the Earth’s crustal rock, creating various types of debris: gravel deposits, mudflats in the tidal estuaries of creeks, cobble terraces, and beaches of black lava sand. When chemical agents such as phosphorus and nitrogen infuse this debris, and biological entities including microbes and earthworms work material into it organic enough to support plants, it becomes soil. A soil that is chemically or organically exhausted, that’s been pulverized or becomes deeply parched, that has been invaded by decomposing rock, or that’s been fouled by sewage or industrial pollution to the point where it cannot support plant life is called dirt.” Author - Barry Lopez
Tule is a little known plant, yet is significant in California Indian material culture. Paige Bardolph of KCRW interviewed Tongva artist Tima Lotah Link about this essential plant.
“Tule has been a part of California Indian culture for millennia. It is one of the most versatile plants in California, and multiple species grow in different environmental regions. Two major species in California are the common tule (Schoenoplectus acutus) and California bulrush (Schoenoplectus californicus). In addition to Native North America, tule and its relatives are used around the world.” https://www.kcet.org/shows/tending-the-wild/tules-weaving-baskets-boats-decoys-and-houses