I couldn't have imagined a better way to share Anima with the community than through the Timeless Fundraiser! This Community Palette fashion-show-turned-fundraiser became a beautiful multidisciplinary expression of local talent, that shifted intention to focus on acknowledging the Soberanes Fire, and raise funds for relief. I was just a few days from launching Anima’s website, and still in my two-week evacuation from Weston Ridge, when I got in touch with the crew to donate the special fire scarf I designed as an auction item... I was honored to be welcomed by Domini and Kierstyn as a designer in the show, and am still filled to the brim with gratitude for the experience! It was simultaneously pure fun, and quite meaningful to engage with the many talented and caring people that came together to create such a wildly imaginative, positive, successful and unique event. With intense and prolonged concern about the fire, my own home, those fighting it, and for those who suffered losses, it felt so good to direct the energy of Anima’s launch into this compassionate cause. Check out Walter Ryce's pre-show article about the event, and a few kind words about Anima in the Monterey County Weekly:
"If the litmus test were not just need, but virtue, Jessica Neafsey's clothes would warrant reward. She creates clothes with animal patterns uncommon in greater fashion, but native to our landscape – the Western scrub jay, plankton, Pismo clams, the Western fence lizard." “This is one of the most biodiverse places in the country,” Neafsey says. “It’s about promoting a little eco-literacy.”
With just a few weeks to prepare, amidst a busy work schedule, seven looks were designed and crafted with love and inspired curiosity for this new medium! It was a beautiful experience to see some of the classics – including the Western scrub jay dress - emerge out of the nest, modelled by the wonderfully audacious artist and activist Michelle, in addition to the new pismo clam print romper, modelled by local visionary filmmaker Caroline Harrison. Ana and Drishti lent their alluring beauty to share dungeness crab – featured in a new silk tank, as well as giant kelp and copepod prints. It excited me to no end to see the lovely dancer and fellow landscape architect Marion Weaver carry the Soberanes Fire Scarf down the runway, with such grace and light and power, as the cool ocean breeze lifted the scarf and its intended message of resilience high in the air. You can read more about this pattern – made of California condor, brown pelican, and red-shouldered hawk feathers, here. Profits on your purchase of this scarf will go to CPOA in support of those who lost their homes, or to your local volunteer fire crew of choice – Mid-Coast, Big Sur, or Cachagua. These are flying! It’s wonderful to be able to give actual dollars back out of something that was so therapeutic to create.
Enjoy the slideshow and take a listen to Hanif’s song he crafted just for our set – pay close attention to hear the hawk carry you into the beat, and the scrub jay closing it out! The next show, you can be certain, is going to be ALL about the animals!!!!
Huge thanks to so many for so much – including original music by Hanif Panni of Hanif Wondir Production; Excellent photography by Nic Coury, Michelle Magdalena, Patrice Ward; Jewelry by Carrie Beth McWithey of Nautilus and Sway; Makeup by Gaia Cascio of Naked Faces, Karen Alatriste, Leah Beets of Absolute Artistry; Hair by Ann Parodi of GaGa Hair Lounge with Diana Mondragon; Shoes donated by Shara of Footsie; Show organization by Community Palette – under the leadership of Domini Anne and Kierstyn Bachmann-Berlin as part of Sand City’s West End Festival; Anima models included Marion Weaver, Ana Poirier, Caroline Harrison, Drishti Nand, and Michelle Magdalena!
Stay tuned for new items for sale and new prints! This summer I’ll be focusing heavily on the Kelp Forest Collection!
Friends -- it's time to get excited (and get tickets) for the Timeless show next Saturday night, August 27th, in Sand City!!! What was originally conceived as a fashion show has evolved into a multidisciplinary feast for the eyes and heart that now includes some amazing local musicians, big SuRCuS, and a whole lot more... This event is one of many ways to support our friends and neighbors affected by the Soberanes Fire, with proceeds going to CPOA. There will also be great food and wine - please read the invite for all the deets!!!
The best part of the show is already happening = community coming together to make beauty for a good cause!! Thanks to Domini Anne and Kierstyn Bachmann-Berlin and many many others who are working to make this magic happen!
I am honored to be participating as a designer in what will be ANIMA's first public show -- I can't think of a more beautiful catwalk than one that emerge's out of one of Jayson Fann's Spirit Nests! I will be showing a few of the classics and a number of new pieces, and auctioning off the condor silk that I created during my two week evacuation, as a meditation on the fire. There are a lot of amazing designers in the show - I am sure you will be inspired! https://www.facebook.com/events/1756801747871452/
As many of you know, the Soberanes Fire continues to burn... In its 10th day, it has consumed upwards of 40,000 acres, 57 homes, and taken the life of Robert Reagan, who died while courageously dozing a break on hard-hit Green Ridge in our Palo Colorado community.
Since we evacuated Weston Ridge a week ago Friday, when I watched 50’ flames light up the mountains east of us, I have lain awake many nights in awe. I am in awe of the terrifying beauty that truly defines this California landscape we call home. I am speechless to feel its power. And I am broken wide open by the grace, acceptance, transcendence, generosity, compassion and selfless love that has been moving through and within our community like an equally brazen force of nature.
I’ve never before felt more like a wild animal, nor more human. And never have I appreciated home more than I do now.
Two nights ago, I dreamt that I saw a California condor fall out of the sky into an agricultural field. Thinking it may have had a broken wing, I slowly began to move closer to it. But then it stretched its immense wings open wide, and took to the sky, flying south, back into the wilderness.
I took this dream as a sign of hope, and homecoming. For some, this will mean returning to our smoky abodes… For others, this will entail a long process of acceptance, grief, and rebuilding...
While I had planned to launch Anima last Friday, it feels right to share it with you now… I can’t think of a better time to celebrate the beauty and rich biodiversity that will surely continue to thrive here in our chosen home on the Central Coast of California.
I have created a special print, inspired by this fire, in hopes it can contribute to the groundswell of support for those who’ve lost homes, and those who’ve fought for them. This 36”x36” silk scarf features the feathers of our beloved, endangered California condor, who knows how to transfigure death into life energy. Brown Pelican feathers carry cool ocean water and air, and symbolize the resilience of a species that’s made a miraculous recovery. Finally, hawk plumage honors the fierce and enduring strength of our amazing firefighters, especially those of our local Mid-Coast Brigade.
I will be exhibiting and auctioning this scarf at our local Community Pallette Timeless-Fashion-turned-Timeless-Fundraiser this August 27th…. Please come to this exciting and beautiful event!
I am so happy to finally invite you to www.animacalifornia.com… Here you will find a number of items representing the first five species, of many more to come! I encourage you all to get a little more native, and support ocean conservation through Mission Blue while you’re at it! If you’re into it, you can follow Anima on Instagram and Facebook, and sign up for our monthly newsletter, so you never miss a new pattern release!
This is a question that Robin Wall Kimmerer pursues as a bryologist (an expert in moss), and a Potawatomi woman, and believes is a question we all should be embracing... In her recent On Being interview with Krista Tippet, Robin expounded on her life experience of close observation of the natural world, and a revelatory inspiration she felt through her longing to understand why New England asters and goldenrod look so stunning together, as they frequently grow alongside one another in prairie landscapes. The complementary purple and yellow flowers attract more pollinators than a single color of flower would, but is there more to it than a biophysical explanation? Michael Pollan also explored the evolutionary advantages of beauty and sensuality in his well-known book the Botany of Desire... I am inspired to dive deeper in wondering why that which strikes me as beautiful, does so. I have always felt responsible to reflect back whatever beauty enriches my life -- it has a way of asking for it. As Robin puts it: ..."beauty asks me for reciprocity, to be the complimentary color, to make something beautiful in response.”
Grateful for this incredibly tender song from the beautiful Marketa Irglova. It is a song that seems uniquely able to carry the heaviness of the world after recent traumas. Keeping this one close. The best each of us can do is try our best to live from love, not from fear.
The Oceanic Preservation Society's film Racing Extinction airs tonight around the globe at 9 PM on the Discovery Channel. It is one of those works I feel that every human should see!!! This film brought me to my knees and has inspired me to make immediate changes in my own life. We can all make a positive impact - everyday choices add up!!!