Water Cycle


Gravel & Gold

Design: 2015

Collection: Spring 2016


San Franciscans worry about survival probably more than average city dwellers. It's the earthquakes, I think. Geologists can monitor tremors and rate what's already happened, but who can predict the next Big One? Aristotle suggested earthquake weather. Hot and calm conditions, he thought, presaged an eruption of ancient winds trapped in subterranean caverns. The California weather report this year has indeed been hot, calm, and, above all, dry. Dry-dry bone dry. Never mind an earthquake—we're already in survival mode.

Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency way back in January 2014 after four years of drought had already passed and that drought has continued. Our neighbors in the Central Valley producing the bulk of America's fruits, nuts, and vegetables are out of water. Wells have run dry. Forests are burning.

In the city, we've quit watering our lawns. We flush less often. Running the tap while brushing your teeth is grounds for a breakup—if you don't understand the impact of your personal water usage, we'll probably disagree about other life issues too.

Actually, most of our domestic water usage goes down the washing machine pipe—up to 40% of the average American family's water consumption is used up on laundry. As makers of clothing that inevitably becomes laundry, that got our ear at Gravel & Gold.

This new print Water Cycle was inspired by Japanese screen paintings of the Edo period that blur the boundaries of the holy natural world. It is a 4-sided tessellation that depicts the flow of water from the sky, through the landscape to the sea, and back again through evaporation and respiration.

We humans, of course, are part of this interconnected cycle and wholly dependent on its continuation for our survival.We humans in California want that flow back; we need that flow. What else can we do to get back on track? We can dance for rain, why not? Please dance and sweat in one of our joyful Water Cycle schmattas 'til you just can't stand the stink. Then please wash it responsibly in a full load with a high efficiency washer, and dance some more. Make it rain!

Rotary screen printed by Prima-Tex Industries, Los Angeles.

Photos by Terri Lowenthal.