Introducing the Collins Collection
When we started The Fiberists, we were focused on science and nature and the people who have contributed to that body of knowledge. Over time, our mission has evolved. Now, one of the main goals of The Fiberists is to educate the fiber and craft world about the accomplishments of people in STEM fields who we believe should receive additional recognition.
Our first line of yarn and fiber was named for John James Audubon’s naturalist works including his extensive illustrations of birds. Over the past few years we have been actively working on being anti-racist and combatting the impact of living in a society plagued by systematic racism. Part of this process is reexamining decisions we made early on and as a result we need to acknowledge Audubon’s active role in buying, owning, and selling slaves as well as dragging escaped slaves back into bondage. Although he made positive contributions to the world of ornithology, we condemn his actions as a person and no longer want to celebrate him and his legacy. If we were naming this line of products today he would not have even made our list. We are sorry for any hurt or pain this has caused and are working to do better.
Moving forward we will be renaming the entire Audubon Collection to the Collins Collection, named for Doctor O’Neil Ray Collins. Collins was born the son of cotton farmers in Plaisance, Louisiana in 1931. Over the course of his education he received a Bachelor’s in Science from Southern University and a Masters and Doctorate in Mycology from the University of Iowa. In his professional life he worked at a number of universities before settling at the University of California at Berkeley where he was the first Black faculty member in the Botany Department. Collins made a number of important advances in slime mold genetics and associated research. While at UC Berkeley he was promoted to Associate Dean of the Graduate Division and eventually the Chairman of the Department of Biology. During his administrative tenure he helped develop the Graduate Minority Program which helped to attract and support graduate students of color. Collins succumbed to Hodgkin’s Disease in 1989.
We have chosen to name the Collins Collective for Doctor Collins due to his scientific accomplishments as well as his work in helping encourage other racial minorities in STEM.
We will be rolling this change out physically and digitally throughout our website and social media. We apologize, as there may be some sources that will continue to reference the Audubon Collection that we cannot change (such as patterns by other designers, hashtags, etc); listings may note the previous name for reference purposes. We are trying to limit the ecological footprint of this change and for the time being you may see yarn tags with the name changed via applied stickers until we exhaust our current supply.