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Seattle: HempenRoad Production Journal

Another drizzly morning and we head up to Seattle. There’s plenty to see there as Seattle has kind of become the hemp-metropolis of America. A big-league city with an awkward mix of high-tech, red-neck, enviro-activism, loud guitars, gearhead REI yuppies and an international dose of everything else.

First off, we find the Beemis building on the shady side of the Kingdome. Apparently this classic building used to be a paper bag factory and it now houses artist and professional loft/suites. There is a neat Vespa out front and a intimidating freight elevator inside. We head up stairs to visit Earth Goods.

Earth Goods is the international business run by two guys named Dave or David which isn’t surprising as I’ve been meeting a lot of guys named Dave recently. The focus of Earth Goods is to make contemporary high-end fashions from naturally dyed hemp. No use dumping chemicals on a piece of organic cloth they figure.

The selection of garments for women and men are made and dyed in Thailand, overseen by another guy named Dave. The idea however, was conceived while were living between Boulder and then Japan where they heightened their sense of aesthetic and marketing.

The duo had just returned from European travels, styling in Venice where they showed off their fancy threads on the same runway that Giorgio Armani was pushing his own hemp designs. While they have been working hard to reach the public, they welcome the competition and figure any expansion of natural standards is to the net benefit to the Earth and the vitality of the industry.

Things are really starting to move for this sharp company as they create a solid niche with their hemp/silk, softened hemp, and hemp/cotton fancy/casual clothing line. They make especially nice vests.

Enjoyed talking about Japan and learning natural dye names in Thai, spent a nice morning in the Beemis building. Unique view, a sort of backdoor look of the city from giant windows. High ceilings, so high that a guy from the Sonics lives right up stairs.

So we head across to the University district to check out Rob Jungman and his new Manastash store.

Rob started with an idea for a small wallet that you wouldn’t loose even after a rough day on the beach and rougher night on the town. After a roadtrip brainstorm, the “Chenga” became. After a few batches of those, Rob made up some bigger packs, accessories and gear. All designed for action sports and having fun.

After spreading his line around the US, Rob took the show to Japan where he is hooking up all the hempster gearheads over there. This is particularly interesting to me as I research the history of cannabis culture in Japan. The possibilities of selling hemp in that massive consumer market is head-spinnin and Rob has got the goods to do it.

Rob headed out on Hemp Tour all summer. Traveling the land with a couple vans to concerts, mountain bikes races, rock climbing comps., festivals and wherever. . . letting athletes and adrenaline junkies test out his gear and put hemp to the test.

Instead of taking it easy when he returned, he decided to make a store right on Seattle’s infamous University strip. The store is loaded up with gear from a variety of hemp makers so we had a chance to preview some upcoming hempen road filming stops.

Business seems brisk both at the store and with getting the line of Manastash Mountain Products on the rack at outdoor stores. The horizon sees a couple new stores opening in Japan and new products coming out real quick.

As for the Manastash products, they are made across town at Panther Sports which Rob operates with his partner Khampy, a textile production designer from Vietnam. They run a nice facility, comfortably employing a rotating staff of about a dozen.

As part of a government job training program, the factory helps new immigrants learn a trade, make a fair wage, work in good conditions, improve language skills and gain positive work experience. Most move on to higher paying jobs at bigger factories after they are experienced. This is all part of the process and it certainly looks successful as we laughed and goofed with the sewers who were lucky enough to have hooked up with a great organization. The Manastash products are made with care in a local, international community atmosphere , a real working model of positive production and what is a great alternative to synthetics made in deplorable sweat shops both here and abroad.

By the way, Manastash is the Yakima tribe’s name for a mountain range in eastern Washington which translates to New Beginnings.


Dale the Weaver helped us out with the segemnt by provided random inspiring comments and hairstyles to urge us along. He is quite a motivator, ol’ Dale, and he is weaving and knitting some nice potholders and Christmas tree ornaments.

So after exploring the neighborhoods and eating some interactive Thai food recommended by Christian at Crop Circle clothes who we didn’t get a chance to hook up with cause he was in Las Vegas wooing a client. Right on, I can see Wayne Newton in a hemp tux. Christian seems to have the marketing and promotion game down and I hope to check out his products down the road.

That evening we were hosted again by the Dave duo at the Beemis Building. A exclusive gathering of hempsters, business people, store owners, buyers and friends sharing Christmas cheer and tasty beer.

Upstairs, some new friends put us up for the night in their loft which was decorated with some exceptional acrylic on plywood paintings.

The next morning we spent some time filming the curious community of Fremont. You know, it is the center of the Universe. Rocket ships, walking pizza, statue of Lenin, and Fremont Hemp Company. Run and designed by Cory Brown, entering the Fremont Hemp Co. shop is like leaping into a spendy magazine spread. It is exquistely detailed with luxurious items. Body care products, household accessories and dried flowers. It really is something different than Joe Q. Public’s perception. I expect to see Ralph L. and Laura A. models posing in the corner.

Not surprisingly, Cory’s background is in retailing and related arts. Everything down to the wrapping paper is done just the way he wants, no compromise. Beauty and functionality are tucked comfortably in together.

The building itself was once a Gas Station and the transformation is complete as Fremont built it up from a blank canvas. Spiral staircases go up to a loft and give a view of the courtyard out front. The design is slightly manic and comfy at the same time. A huge Masonic painting and a statue of Vlad offset the elegant yet utilitarian garage facade. A row of large letters along the top, tell you where you are. Fremont center of the hempiverse!

If Fremont is center of the Universe, than Belltown is center of Universal Hemp. Universal Hemp is the new enterprise of several experienced hemp industry workers. These are the men and women who have been pulling the weight at other companies in Seattle and have now jumped into making the new Belltown Hempery.

It is certainly not a regular hemporium, its more of an outlet for independent artists, crafters and makers to market their gear. There is a wide variety of stuff but its not the same as you’ve seen around.

One of the difficult things about trying to build a business is finding a decent, fair outlet to vend your product to start generating operating capital. Consignment generally doesn’t work, wholesaling doesn’t fit for home based, small time operators and winter is a lousy time to be out hustling at arts and crafts fairs. Ask me, I know. I wish I could’ve found an outlet like Belltown about 4 years ago when UncleWeed backpacks and dog collars, hempy sacks etc were being made in a tent and sold on street corners and festivals.

While it is a new business, there is plenty of room to expand. Plans for papermaking workshops, soap, candles, dyeing. Basically if it can be done to hemp on a workshop scale, they’ll be doing at one point or another. With space, enthusiasm and a plan, a lot can happen.

I tried on a fine hat and a fleece/hemp jacket and we hauled a little rolling sign to Pike Street market to explore the Seattle city center and check out people’s reaction as we walked around with our hemp clothes and mobile billboard.
Pike street market must of been brilliant about 50 years ago. It is still super cool, just a whole load of humans and not enough hemp. If you like salmon, get there.

We finished off with a few 16mm shots of the harbor and sailboats and actually even with all the concrete, it’s still pretty. Water, trees, mountains, sigh.

Victoria, BC: HempenRoad Production Journal

ian and Dave at Sacred Herb

So there we were, Olympia, Wa., 6AM. I quit my job by an early morning FAX, van’s loaded. Lots of cameras, mics, tapes, film, lights, sleeping bags and ideas. The Olympia morning is dark, coldish and drizzly. We drive north to the end of America, Port Angeles, top of the Olympic Peninsula to catch the M.V. COHO ferry to the Northland.

Aboard the MV Coho

The ferry split at 8:20, we arrived later. Wait. Pancake breakfast at a wharf-side diner, there is time to kill. Shoot the pulp mills, piles of logs, rotting boats, new painted buildings, sawmills, piles of sawdust, smokestacks spewing grey-blue-green sludge. The wind blows it away.

We drive into the mountains of Olympic National Park. Sky is November but it breaks clear for a moment and we capture shy mountain peaks by 16mm. Majestic.

More time on the dock, roaches into the ocean, roll into the swaying belly of the COHO. Away we go.

The crossing is cloudy and wet, a few bold oldsters remain on the bow searching for whales or just getting wet. Some nice ambient shots and views of the deckhand hauling in thick rope docklines. Think about olden oceangoing vessels coursing across the seas with hempen ropes, sails, caulk and rigging.

Crossing from Port Angeles to Victoria

Victoria is dusk and grown since last I was here, harbour-side condos and shopping malls. Still quaint, just not little.

We roll off, cruise customs and call Ecosource for our late appointment.

Waiting for us at Ecosource was a delightful Swiss woman named Odette who imports a beautiful array of top-quality papers from Eastern Europe. We talk about paper, fiber, supply, demand, sustainability and cooperation, capital and the future.

Several recent magazines, brochures and portfolio have used the fine Ecosource papers. New products and ideas are coming together and the future looks positive for this smart, gentle, hard-working woman.

Odette Kalman at ecosource

Odette gifted us several sample packs of paper which we used for printing our business card on. Works great, looks beautiful.

Back downtown to a Hostel. It’s convenient, clean albeit somewhat sterile.

We haul gear into locked room. Sleep soundly til morning, wake up, move car to legal parking, eat granola, soymilk, apple pie.

I go find Ian Hunter and he meets us for a cup of joe at an atrium like cafe where we chat and drink fine beverages.

ianbike

Ian ranges across topics and ideas as he eats a bagel and shares his thoughts from botany to bicycles to harm reduction. Clearly a man with a vision and sense of the future-ways.

Ian Hunter (RIP) and Dave O at a Cafe

We make our way inside the neat little Paper Box Arcade to Sacred Herb, the Hemp Store. The windows and walls are covered with newspaper articles and letters about Ian’s actions and campaigns on Vancouver Island. The shelves hold a wide array of stock from clothes to books to seeds to lip balm. Especially intriguing to me was the support of base level ecomomics. All products have a barter value and only cash or trade is accepted. No checks, no credit cards. This is a great way to rid ourselves of the yoke of dependence that banks tie us into.

Sacred Herb’s groovin manager, Sarah Bedard shows us around and points out the many objects made by local artists, many of whom are living on the streets and weaving macrame necklaces and other such ornaments. They do brisk business with these. Sarah also makes some high hemp-oil content lip-balms and even a special therapeutic type with tea-tree oil and THC.

sarah hannah bedard at Sacred herb

We head out to the garden to talk with Ian some more about his mayoral campaign (he took third). He said he “strolled” rather than “ran” for mayor.

He succeeded in bringing important questions and discourse about Cannabis into the public forum. We’ll see how he does in 2000. He also spreads free Canna-bikes around the community and is trying to convert an old Mercedes diesel to run on old grease, right on.

Next Ian leads us up and around the corner to Earthen-Ware which is a good contrast and complement to Sacred Herb.

The owner, Padra, keep an elegant line of high-quality clothing in his very sharp boutique. We talk about his university studies (Science stuff at Univ. of Vic) and about the ups and downs of doings business in regards to licenses, import, export, duties, permits, finance and especially about doing business with Canadian companies to support a local economy. Based on the well-made Canadian clothing, there are a number of fine manufacturers across the country.

padra from earthenware

Outside of Earthen-Ware, we talk with Ted, a local harm reduction, education and awareness activist working with groups about the medicinal and spiritual uses of Cannabis. He’s straight up and working hard in his goals and adhering to his values.

Over across town to Zima Foods where Eric and Alice are importing, cleaning, flavoring, roasting, packaging and marketing 4 flavors of hemp seed snacks. We munch as we film. They talk nutrition and public reaction while they were vending around markets and fairs all summer. They had such positive reaction that they are now selling in local stores and really bringing this delicious and healthy snack straight to the snackin public.

Zima seeds victoria

Zima’s new labels are real pro-looking and printed on 100% hemp Ecosource paper. By the way, those 4 flavors are; Teriyaki, Cajun, Garlic and Sweet Roast.

We eat good vegetarian buffet dinner at half-price and I find my old compadre Colin who I met in Mexico years back. Yeehaw, he’s living on a sailboat just a few blocks away.

Eiji and I meet Ian down at a lecture-hall at an indoor zoo with iguanas and flamingos walking amidst humans. Speaking is renowned ethnobotonist / author, adventurer Wade Davis. He is from Vancouver island but lived, travelled and researched elsewhere since gaining his Doctorate at Harvard. He spoke of South American adventures researching medicinal and spiritual plants used by indigenous peoples. Also talked about his Harvard professors teaching about the differences between Sativa, Ruderalis and Indica in Boston in the 50’s.

Fascinating and inspiring. He switched between several languages, topics and times and managed to relate the history of the region and tie it into the last hundred years or more of western science and thought. I was stunned and impressed. I wrote him a note telling of our project so maybe he’ll drop a line. You never know, right?

That night, amigo Colin and I check Eric’s 7-head jam machine named DIGG at a club. They grooved hard and it was neat to see another side of Zima Foods inspiration. We hang with our new friends then head off for a 2AM rowing adventure around the harbor in the tiny skiff, Sprite.

Next day after sailboat sleep, we head out to get some scenery around the area and then hook up with Alice downtown to film the seed roasting process at their commercial kitchen. It’s fun and interesting as she mixes, roasts and talks about health benefits and marketing strategy. We eat plenty Sweet Roast and take a bag for the road.

alice bracegirdle of zima

It was more or less a wrap at this point, we relax, eat well, crash out at our gracious hosts pad and get up early to vacuum out the van. I can just imagine the border, “No officer, these aren’t Northern Lights, they’re Teriyaki seeds.” Crinch, crunch.

Onto the ferry, away we go, more rain, I sleep, Eiji films. It’s hard to leave this lovely, tolerant, progressive and prosperous town. We drive from Port Angeles with the heavens dumping raining fury on us.

Smile. Thanks.

HempenRoad Dispatch #10, Nov. 1997

Mailing List #10

This is a broadcast message from the HempenRoad film project, a travel-documentary film about hemp in the Pacific NW. #10 in a series.

Greetings: Just a short note to let you know the the HempenRoad Winter tour is starting to come together. To start things off, check it out at the Midnight Sun in downtown Olympia WA on Friday Nov. 21st at 8:00pm.

The film does feature some Oly-local hemp action and music too (hey, maybe you can see yourself!). Not only the film, but also Live Music and tasty beverages (Mmmm hemp java). Presented with our friends at “aXis Music & Media Dispatch” and “MooreHempCo.” 2 bux gets you in.

We are working on other dates in Oregon, Utah, BC, Wyoming, California and everywhere else. Any ideas? Let us know and be sure to stay tuned in this channel for the scoop. Can’t wait til it rolls into town? Check out http://www.hempenroad.com to score a video copy.

 

****In other HempenNews

The voters of Washington State rejected ballot initiative #685 which would’ve permitted medicinal use of schedule1 controlled drugs. Further, HIP-WS #147 is in hibernation until next round too. See http://www.hemp.net for more info.

While a setback, this does set the stage for a more focused hemp bill, and an election victory, next year I do believe.

California’s Hemptech released a fine new book called Hemp Horizons by John Roulac. Besides being a very well produced and written book, it also features some of my Hemp in Japan research. Check it at: http://www.hemptech.com

HempBC ran full page ads in Vancouver’s 2 biggest newspapers urging the world leaders attending the APEC summit to reconsider hemp prohibition. Beauty activism ‘eh. Cannabis Canada’s mailing list fills you in.

All for now, Enjoy Knowledge!
dave olson
Producer/Writer
the HempenRoad film project

HempenRoad Dispatch #6, June 1997

Mailing List #6

June 1997

Good Day ‘eh:

Here is some fast breaking news.

This is your virtual invitation to check out the sneak Premiere of the HempenRoad film.

The date is Tuesday, June 10th, at the infamous Evergreen State College, Olympia Washington. That is soon, so think fast.

The HempenRoad will be thrown out to the public as part of the Cascadin’ Film Festival. The event is promoted by the International Students Association and features an eclectic selection of experimental films, digital animation, Chinese opera and Indian dances.

Also serving up Hemp N’ Java Expresso and tasty hempenfood by Blue Heron Bakery. Live music follows and plenty time to kick back with a bunch of phun folks.

You can link to maps to Evergreen and pictures of the LongHouse where we will screen the films etc. For travel & ferry info, shoot mail to “uncleweed@olywa.net”

If you can make it, great, if not, there’s plenty of chances later this summer at Seattle Hempfest etc. Heck, this is even the first time I’ll see it.

Hope to see you there or later on down the Road . . .

dave olson

producer / writer

HempenRoad Dispatch #5, April, 1997

Mailing List #5

Sometime between March & April 1997

Hello All;

This is a broadcast message from the Hempen Road film project, travel-documentary on the commercial hemp industry.

We’ve returned from Vancouver where we participated in the Commericial Industrial Hemp Symposium as the exclusive documenters of this landmark event. The Wiseman Noble production staff did a fine job of maintaining the delicate balance throughout the two days of science, agriculture, fashion and commerce. Look for exclusive clips of the symposium speakers and trade show in the Hempen Road film, coming soon.

In the meantime please visit: “www.hempenroad.com” to see clips and comments from the event in the on-line production journal.

On the trade show, we had a chance to speak with Mari Kane, editor and publisher of Hemp World magazine & Hemp Pages. Also filmed a great paper-making demo by Mosse of Greenman Paper. He showed the process, from raw fiber to finished product, in a 10′ by 10′ booth.

The Hempen Road film project is going into the editing phase using a Mac O/s pc with a 9 gigabyte drive. We capture images by 16mm & Super8 film and Hi8 video, 35mm camera as well as scanned images. The images are then edited entirely digitally which gives us great freedom. The downside is memory, there is never enough power. This technology allows us to make a film that wouldn’t have been possible financially or content-wise, even a year ago. This makes us smile.

Another note, Eugene, Oregon’s police force has raided the headquarters of Hungry Bear Hemp Foods and seized business computers, equipment, art & supplies. Hungry Bear, Todd Dalotto was not arrested or charged. Police also confiscated quantity of cannabis flowers found on premises. Police noted that, “you have to watch these hemp stores popping up everywhere.” Show your support for Todd and eat a Seedy Sweetie snack and go for a hike.

Well all for now, check out the new pics on the www page and

enjoy knowledge,

dave olson
the Hempen Road film project

Olympia, WA Cascadia

HempenRoad Dispatch #4, Feb. 1997

Mailing List #4

Early February 1997

Hello All;
This is a broadcast e.mail from the Hempen Road film. Fourth in a series.

New Film Pictures on the WWW.

Grab a peek at the all-new Hempen Road Web Site. On-line journals, film pictures, media releases, mailing lists, its all there. Fine new maps, graphics and no spelling errors :{__~

See the debut Clip in Vancouver.

Come check out the Sneak Preview in Van! A 15 minute clip featuring Victoria will debut at the CIHS Feb 18-19. Check us out and get a postcard from the Hempen Road.

The Hempen Road film crew will also document this landmark event and include exclusiveclips of the many fine speakers and panels including some Canadian hemp farmers. International researchers a packed trade show floor too.

Be there or . . . This event will also be cyber-cast via RealAudio. For more info the Vancouver Commercial Hemp Symposium visitwww.wisenoble.com or contactevents@wisenoble.com.
or catch it down the Hempen Road . . .

New Folks on Board

We’ve picked up a few hitchhikers along the Hempen Road.
Robert Lunday became our Exec. Producer. His skills in business, numbers & technology will make us a stronger tripod.

Ben Livingston is a graphic artist, writer and activist who will be helping with WWW duties so hold on to your mouse. . .
Robert and Ben can both be reached through Hemp.Net.
also visit Ben’s teenage poetics at Oblivion.Net.

Hold on California

We’ve had plenty gracious invitations to journey down to California which we hope to do soon. Especially since NW is well. . .damp. We’ve decided to wait a couple months and finish editing the Cascadia footage and head down with more time and bigger budget to do a top-notch shoot. So hang out and we’ll keep in touch.
Maybe we’ll meet in Vancouver too.

Thanks for reading and feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, comments.

Enjoy Knowledge,

dave olson

HempenRoad Dispatch #3, Jan. 1997

Mailing List #3

Early January 1997

Good day ‘eh

This is a broadcast e.mail update on the production of The Hempen Road Film Project.

More complete info is available at the Giggling Piglet Durable Goods Co-Op WWW page. Take a few minutes to check it out. Enjoy.

The Hempen Road is a documentary film about the contemporary commercial uses of industrial hemp and is currently in production along the west coast of North America.

Last message told of our succesful filming journey to Victoria, B.C., since then we’ve made it up to Seattle and down to Eugene for good times and great footage.

In Seattle we met with David and David of Earth Goods in their Beemis building loft (BTW what is it with guys named dave in the hemp biz? go figure).

Then Rob Jungman of Manastash, first at the store, then took a visit to the factory to talk with the garment workers.

Next we visited Cory at the Fremont Hemp Co.in Fremont, center of the universe (wait I thought that was Moab?)

After that, we visited the whole gang of folks at Universial Hemp’s new Belltown Hempery. We strolled down to Pike Place market with hemp info and cameras in tow and explored all around the waterfront for some nice shots of a nice looking harbor.

Next up was Eugene. We stayed in a great Yurt hut in Florence (famous for sand) on the way down.

We pulled into Living Seed Oil Company the next morning to meet Hungry Bear Todd Dolatto and his colleagues who are collectively doing some interesting work with oils and foods.

Next day I took a break as some dreadful virus reared its vengence in my guts.

The intrepid crew carried on with help from a friend and talked with hemp vendors at the public market then on to meet Carolyn & Harry of Living Tree Paper and Talking Leaves magazine.

Bruce at Sow Much Hemp filled up the rest of the afternoon and later he and Deidre got me feeling healthy again.

Due to the storm that spanked us hard, we missed Portland on NYE for the OCTA fundraiser gig but we’ll make it down next weekend to catch up with some more Oregon industrialists.

After that Bellingham, Wa for textiles, sweaters and snowboarding. Then off to the promised land, Vancouver.

Well, all for now, more info on the web page.

Hey, hope you all made it out alright through this storm. It was cold, wet, miserable and dark. Think nature is telling us something?

take care all,

dave.o

Contact me,Dave,uncleweed@olywa.net.

Or Eiji, the filmaker,eiji@olywa.net,

with any questions comments, concerns or happy thoughts. . .

HempenRoad Dispatch #2, Dec. 1996

Mailing List #2 — Early December1996

Good Day ‘eh;

This is a broadcast e.mail coming to you from The Hempen-Road Film Project.

For those not familiar with this film, let me explain. Starting a few weeks ago, myself, Dave Olson, filmaker Eiji Masuda and crew set out to make a film about the people, places and products of the comtemporary commercial hemp industry.

The response has been remarkable and we thank all of you who have expressed interest to talk with us and enthusiasm for our plans. We look forward to showing the finished product to you.

We recently returned from a succesful filming journey to Victoria, B.C. and are now readying for Washington, Oregon and then on to California.

So far the film is looking great. Interesting,intelligent people, great information, positive energy and lots of quality hemp goods.

This film will be available for distribution next spring and hopefully we’ll have it finished in time for the Vancouver Commercial Hemp Symposium in Feb.1997 which looks to be a very professional, exciting event.

May we suggest taking a few minutes and checking out all the low-down including a report on our Victoria journey on the Hempen Road web site. Just follow the signs and enjoy looking it over.

Please pay special attention to the part about Investment Opportunities with in the film project page. We are offering a one-third share of the project as an investment. This promises to be a film of exceptional quality, uniqueness and impact.

While at the web page, take a few to peruse through my Hemp in Japan research and art gallery. Enjoy Knowledge.

Thanks for your time and please send a message back if so inclined,

dave olson

uncleweed@olywa.net

p.s. if this info doesn’t interest you, let me know and we won’t keep in touch.o.k.

HempenRoad Dispatch #1, Nov. 1996

Early November 1996

Hello;

My name is is Dave Olson, I run an international mail-order hemperprise as well as research and produce other creative projects about hemp.

This month Japanese filmmaker, Eiji Masuda, and I will be heading to create a completely new hemp film in which we will travel the north america west coast stopping in along the way to visit hempy people.

All this is explained on a web page that we invite you visit and read through. We feel this is an exciting project that merits your looking it over.

If you are unable to access the WWW, please reply and i’ll send you the info via e.mail or post.

While there, be sure to link to look at my ongoing research into Hemp in Japan. Much research is there along with a bunch of pictures. Sit down and enjoy it.

This is not a mailing list or anything weird or sketchy. Please zoom over to check out our plan and respond via phone, e.mail, fax or post to become part of this film.

enjoy,

dave olson