A Verb for Keeping Warm occupies a 1700 square foot space in Oakland, California and is comprised of a shop selling their own line of naturally-dyed yarn as well as others yarn, fiber, fabric, and natural dyes, two classrooms, two dye studios, and a natural dye garden.
A Verb for Keeping Warm incorporates founders Kristine Vejar and Adrienne Rodriguez's love for textiles, plants, fungi, and community. Through classes focused upon natural dyeing, knitting, sewing, spinning, and weaving, and via the materials we carry, many of which support US-based farms and manufacturing, we strive to preserve longstanding textile traditions and to support others working to create a textile-centered art practice.
Kristine and Adrienne aim to support textile artists and to connect with people who create textiles around the world, create jobs in textiles, and to support and cultivate a local textile economy. Due to your support, and these projects, A Verb for Keeping Warm currently employs ten women.
Our goal is to create an inclusive, welcoming, and creative space as well as to support a just and healthy Earth and society. We hope you will visit us and join us in creating handcrafted textiles and clothing.
ABOUT KRISTINE VEJAR
Textiles, in the form of quilts and sweaters have always been part of Kristine's family’s cultural landscape. She grew up within knitting and quilting circles, where the creation of textiles functioned as a way to create friendships and share stories. Years later, Kristine found herself in India studying Art History. Drawn in by their stunning, embroidered clothing, she worked with a group of nomadic herders named Rabari. She learned about the context of their work and the techniques used to create their intricate embroidery and applique.
Before working with the Rabari, Kristine had not thought much about who made her clothing. From working with the Rabari, Kristine realized textiles can embody endless potential to communicate identity and ethics. Like in her own family, she witnessed how textiles brought people together, and provided a focal point over which to exchange news, stories, and lessons. Through learning about the Rabari's way of choosing materials, colors, and ways of using motifs as symbols, she found textiles to be a way of documenting one's journey and ideology. The Rabari's textiles are important, as they provide a record of the Rabari's history from their perspective.
Kristine returned to the US briefly, to complete her degree at Mills College and to work at The Textile Museum, Washington DC. She returned to India via a Fulbright grant to continue her research with the Rabari and to explore textiles further. She met artisans and craftspeople within a wide range of textile traditions and production; from those who weave cloth with ikat patterns to those who spin cotton by hand. A community of natural dyers were particularly influential. Kristine found the idea of creating color from nature fascinating, yet another way to connect with one’s present and influential environment, and a medium in which to reflect this connection.
Upon returning to the US, Kristine began practicing natural dyeing in her kitchen as a way to stay connected to her work in India. In 2007, Kristine created her first line of naturally-dyed yarn. This is the seed from which A Verb for Keeping Warm has grown. Kristine published her first book The Modern Natural Dyer (Abrams) in 2015.
ABOUT ADRIENNE RODRIGUEZ
Adrienne joined A Verb for Keeping Warm full-time in 2010. She has been a central figure in its creation doing everything from building each and every shelf to leading the dye studio in pre- and post-production.
Adrienne was born and raised in Indio, California. She spent her childhood surrounded by the beautiful desert landscape and learned from her father, a gardener, about plants. Adrienne's father's lessons of plants in conjunction with the beauty of the desert were deeply impactful upon her life. She manages the dye garden and local dye production at A Verb for Keeping Warm and enjoys teaching others how to grow dye plants and how to dye using home-grown and foraged plants and mushrooms. She has written numerous articles on mushroom dyeing and teaches annually at the Sonoma County Mycological Association’s three day retreat. She has also been an annual guest lecturer at the California College of the Arts textile department.
Adrienne attended Mills College in Oakland and graduated with a B.A. in Art History, with a focus on modern and contemporary women artists. While at Mills College she was heavily involved with the music program with a focus on electronic music. Driven by her love of people and sound, Adrienne began her podcast, Reverberate, in 2018. The podcast explores the world of textiles and the people who grow, design, make and wear them.