EPISODE 49 :: Charlotte X.C. Sullivan - May West: Leading with Curiosity & Magic of Milkweed  

The Close Knit podcast aims to hold space for conversation about the ways we use fiber to process life and world events


 In episode 49 of the Close Knit podcast, I spoke to Charlotte X C Sullivan, one of two folks who run May West: a textile innovation collaboration between Charlotte and  Alayna Rasile-Digrindakis. Charlotte walks me through how May West formed, through connection and feeling, and how this has continued to inform their work with milkweed. We discuss the way that clothing, and fashion, can serve as armor, a way to cloak and protect yourself through circumstances in life. 

Charlotte in her backyard in Vermont

Charlotte in her backyard in Vermont

Alayna with milkweed in her studio in Montana

Alayna with milkweed in her studio in Montana

She explains to me how her collaboration with Alayna began, and how their expression of feeling has impacted their process, and how they intend to imbue their clothing with purpose and meaning through each stage of production. 

Harvesting milkweed at Borderview Research farm in Vermont

Harvesting milkweed at Borderview Research farm in Vermont

Charlotte tells me about the evolution of May west’s design studio, from drop spinning of milkweed fibers, to its current iteration: jackets using milkweed batting as insulation, how this iterative process has unfolded over time, through prototypes and experiments. We discuss the importance of local manufacturing and how they’ve managed this production process thus far.

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What I think is most special about this chat is the way that it unfolded from a place of curiosity- something I am realizing is such an important part of my own practice and this podcast, and it was interesting to see that mirrored in the way that Charlotte tends to work. I knew very little of milkweed & its practical uses, and I found it incredibly intriguing to hear Charlotte and Alayna’s collaborative approach towards May West. I feel I need to disclose that the circumstances of this podcast making were a first for me- I recorded it in a friend’s house in Hobart & had little control over the external auditory circumstances, so please bear with me if the audio quality is a little less than you’ve come to expect. 

This was an experiment in dedication for me- seeing if it’s possible to continue creating content as usual, without my safe set up. So thank you for giving me space to try that 

Listen on for my whole chat with Charlotte, thank you so much for tuning in 

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Things we Mentioned:

Find May West: Instagram | Website

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