Fireweed Baby: Transforming family history into woven wraps
Baby Tula Wrap Conversion Carriers have been a fun and exciting item in Baby Tula’s collection of carriers for quite some time. These special buckle carriers are made with woven wrap material instead of solely canvas materials and printed fabric. These carriers expand the creative possibilities and make a carrier that looks and feels like a woven wrap but functions with the ease of a soft structured carrier.
One special reason we continue to make wrap conversion carriers is they allow for the chance to work with gorgeous textiles and artistry unique to woven wraps. One that we are excited to highlight was the opportunity to work with woven wraps made by Fireweed Baby.
This Canadian based woven wrap company creates high quality woven wraps that honor and speak to the traditions of the Giskaast clan which Liz, the creator of Fireweed Baby, is a member of. We chatted with this wonderfully passionate company about the woven wraps they make and the opportunity to have them transformed into Tula Baby Carriers. Here is some of what they had to share with us:
Baby Tula: For those not familiar with Fireweed Baby, can you describe the meaning behind your designs?
Fireweed Baby (Liz): I am a First Nation’s woman, specifically, Gitxsan of the Giskaast (Fireweed) clan from Kitwanga, British Columbia. From an early age, I was surrounded by the beauty of my Gitxsan culture. The Gitxsan traditions, the stories and the songs are quite simply just part of day to day life. Part of my culture is the signature style of art that finds itself expressed in all mediums of fine art. I remember specifically always treasuring the designs on the clothing worn in the feast halls, the button blankets, the drums and watching our master carvers as they continue to preserve our culture. The designs represent our clans, they represent our Wilp (house within the clan) and they illustrate the history of our families, our roles, and our responsibilities. The killer whale actually represents my clan! I want my modern take on our traditional designs to introduce and share the beauty of my rich culture.
BT: Why did you decide to blend your family’s stories and symbolism with woven material?
FB: I finished my first drum and design in my late teens and focused mostly on carving spoons and various random applications. My killer whale garbage can is still proudly in use at our family’s summer cannery! Sharing my designs is consistently and wholeheartedly supported by my family, who mean the world to me. When I was looking to start my woven wrap line, it just made sense. I tend to run in circles of avid babywearers. I dare you to travel throughout our beautiful arctic and not find every baby everywhere being carried in a beautiful amauti. My family has a rich history of babywearing and although I am doing it my way, I feel like I am continuing a tradition. When I re-entered the infant/toddler phase with my youngest daughter, I knew I was going to commit to growing the shared knowledge and access to practical babywearing tools and support. I was so lucky to meet Arie Brentnall-Compton when I participated in the educator’s course with the Canadian Babywearing School and she really propelled me over the hump to get started.
BT: What qualities of your designs do you think have a universal appeal?
FB: The form line art, what I learned in school, is truly a distinctive style from the Northwest Coast indigenous groups. The shapes, the designs, the distinct positive and negative spaces have been with us for centuries and are passed down through the generations. The style of the art is well known internationally because of the beauty and the work done by our artists who are typically our strongest advocates for preserving our culture. Once you dive into the style, you can find very distinct qualities that are passed on within the regions, through the mentoring of the artists, but overall the same appeal of representing our lands, our people and our stories is universal.
BT: What would you like someone to know about Fireweed Baby?
FB: Fireweed Baby is an extension of what I want to represent. In my culture, working together within your immediate and extended family is the backbone of what makes everything work. There is no generational divide, everyone has a role and is important in raising our families and sharing the work. As we grow our company, I want to ensure that same the principles of supporting our local economies and valuing the contributions of our partners is never lost. We are a micro business with a big heart and we are dedicated to sustainably offering our products and sustainably growing our business.
BT: Why do you think babywearing is important or ideal?
FB: Babywearing in my culture has been just part of the way we raise our babies. The instinct is natural to calm our babies by holding them and the need to get stuff done is also a strong priority, so babywearing achieves that end. Carrying my babies really just helped me feel balanced and it felt like the tool I could always count on to fulfill both of our needs. It is easy to see how practical the solution of a carrier is but it is also easy to forget when you are in the midst of minute to minute care. I remember being out with my Dad when my son was still a newborn and of course forgetting our carrier at home but not realizing why my day just seemed longer and harder. Never saying anything, my dad drove to the store and he just bought a carrier and handed it over. I will never forget that feeling of,” You’ve got this!” at that moment.
BT: What excites you about knowing that your wraps will be converted into Tula baby carriers?
FB: It is exciting on a few levels for us. On a personal level, my husband was the first Tula owner in our family. *His* Tula carrier has been, still is and likely still will be his primary go to carrier. He has taken and carried our daughter across Canada, to the top of Zugspitze Mountain in Germany and to his sister’s wedding in Jamaica with his Tula. I am curious to know if he will make the leap to a “Fireweed” Tula or stay with his trusted “vintage Dinos”. From a broader perspective, the support from a company like Baby Tula shows Tula’s commitment to valuing an authentic voice and really gives Fireweed Baby an opportunity to share our designs and our story with a larger audience.
BT: Anything else you would like to share about “Fireweed Baby”?
FB: Even though we are a small company we are still committed to growing the education and the safe practices of babywearing to ensure the practice and access continues to grow. In 2015, we teamed up with the Canadian Babywearing School (CBS) to offer a scholarship for an Aboriginal participant to join an Educator’s course. We saw our first successful participant complete her course this past December and we plan on offering the scholarship annually with CBS generously matching the initiative.
We are definitely looking forward to these beautiful creations!
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