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Episode 53: In Conversation with Mira Blackman


Mira Blackman is a clothing designer and maker, she cuts and sews her own line of sacred textiles in Oakland, California, using handwoven fabric from Uganda. Mira has a background in healing arts and teaching yoga, and moved to Oakland from her hometown of Marin, California. She grew up sewing, then a few years ago she made the decision to study apparel design and merchandising at College of Alameda to learn more about pattern design, drafting, and construction, and go into business for herself. Mira tells the story of how she first discovered the indigo dyed 100% cotton fabric that she works with on her trip to Senegal. She and Marlee discuss the details of starting and running a business as one person with many tasks, and talk about how to find your people after moving to a new place. Mira’s approach was to go dancing enough times until she found a scene that felt like her home, and going to a church that vibed with her beliefs that serendipitously intersected with the community she found House dancing.

The blog post by Stacy Feyer Solo I mentioned about the benefits of a church community is here 

Words of wisdom:

“It’s fulfilling [the fabric]’s purpose, to make it into something… The fabric is all hand-woven and hand-dyed, so I wanted to make stuff that I felt like really respected the fabric and showcased the fabric… I felt like it already had so much life in it, it’s just about making it something that can be worn and something you can move in.”

“The people who were speaking there were speaking my truth and my heart… and it was just a really sweet community that connected me with so many people.”

Current Projects:

Mira is just following the path and seeing what the next step is. It has been a process, from deciding to move her studio out of her home, to meeting new stockists through instagram and selling at markets, to balancing spiritual and romantic life while being her own boss. Life and projects unfold as they come.

Things to be excited about:

  • Podcasts! Mira listens to podcasts while she is working in the studio, namely storytelling platforms like Risk and The Moth, but she has also recently rediscovered KPFA station programming. KPFA hosts awesome shows, and Mira’s favorites are Your Own Health and Fitness, and The Visionary Activist- an astrologer’s point of view on activism.
  • Continuing to learn! Mira loves the benefits of taking a class. She is excited to take an upcoming Boro textiles workshop with Jody Alexander of Wishi Washi Studio.
marlee cook-parrott