Mother’s Earth Things 1970-1985
(Text by Linda Huntington)
“While living in San Francisco I experienced incredible social encounters, appreciation for new cultures, political views, relationships with the exuberance of freedom having a profound effect on my life & perceptions. I participated in art and music festivals in the Bay Area. Working for a marketing & political poll company, concert poster company, and art classes. An entrepreneurial spirit led me to create Mother’s Earth Things in Salt Lake City during 1970 with my sister Tamara Buranek in the 9th & 9th Community.”
“Mother’s Earth Things beginnings were simple and natural, consisting of quality hand crafted clothing apparel of natural fibers of cotton, silk, wool, rayon. Embroidered, tie dyed, crochet clothing and jewelry made by local crafts people. Our sister Jill Huntington also proved to be a creative contributor of apparel and jewelry.”
“Mother’s Earth Things featured locally hand crafted designs and when local supplies could not be met, we incorporated handcrafted international and bohemian influenced imports of embroidery, lace patchwork and vintage beaded dresses to augment our inventory. We were a gathering place and enjoyed sharing friendships, stories and interacting with people from all walks of life.”
“Skin Company was well established in the neighborhood, and when one or two more business joined the neighborhood, we began advertising as a group called the 9th & 9th community ( See advertising maps and posters of the time ) The 9th & 9th neighborhood grew and became a more vibrant alternative community.”
Linda Huntington expanded the 875 location and created a wider space for the shop. Through trial, error, and entrepreneurial insight, Mother’s Earth Things kept brightening up the corner:
Around the corner northward were Ed Hurd’s sandwich shop and Skin Company — the space that Nature’s Way occupied later hosted the Coffee Garden during the 1990’s before they moved across the street to their present address. Starbucks Coffee attempted an incursion on the corner, but they were fiscally forced to relocate because of firm neighborhood support for the Coffee Garden. A Gelato parlor replaced Starbucks, somewhat reminiscent of the drug store soda fountain that once was there.
A brief reminiscence of the 9th & 9th Community
by artist and model Nancy Caravan:
Nancy Caravan writes:
“For about six years, starting in the early seventies, I was lucky to live just 3 blocks from the 9th & 9th Community. It seemed to exist just for me, a young person who embraced the spirit, and style, of the time. Looking back, I probably didn’t contribute much to the actual commerce since I was a struggling artist. But the social aspect was an important part of it. My boyfriend and I were friends with several of the business owners, and one could stop by anytime to chat and hang out—and maybe smoke a joint (at Stone Balloon Water Beds.) The attitude was very friendly, and “laid back,” which of course reflected the era.”
“Mother’s Earth Things carried the kind of “hippie chic” clothes and jewelry that I loved—and still do. My most pleasant memory involves a necklace that I still own. It was a plain strand of deep green semi-precious beads that needed a clasp. Linda Huntington, who was always very kind, took it, and a few days later presented me with a complete necklace—but so much nicer than I expected. She had generously added a few extra beads of a contrasting color to make it more attractive, plus a pretty silver clasp. I remember being relieved that she charged me only seven dollars!”
“A welcome, and enlightening, addition to the community was Nature’s Way Organic Market. At the time, being unfamiliar with this kind of store, I wandered in one day and ordered iced tea. He said, “It’s Red Zinger, is that ok?” I had no idea what that meant—it sounded foreign—but of course I loved it. Then, I tried the peanut butter, banana, honey, and sunflower seeds, on whole grain bread, sandwich. Wow! What a revelation! I had never liked peanut butter before.”
Mother’s Earth Things brought handmade beauty and practical sensibility to the Alternative Scene.
After expansion, Mother’s Earth Things grew — along with the 9th & 9th:
(Left) Mother’s Earth Things adjacent to the 9th Street Jewelry Store, with angular wood facing; (Right) Mother’s Earth Things in its expanded space, with vertical wood facing.
Mother’s Earth Things became a respected custom clothier, selling locally hand-crafted clothing and gifts, also hand-crafted items from Peru, Bolivia, Japan, India, and the United States. It was open for business 1970 to 1985 — fifteen total years.
A brief memoir: Mother’s Earth Things – Help Wanted
Staff member and model Lee Chew writes:
“I was 19 years old when I first started working at Mother’s Earth Things ( MET ). As a teenager, I grew up fascinated with Joni Mitchel, Hendrix, Joplin, Jerry Ruben, Woodstock, and all expression creative. I was having a love affair with authenticity, in all its mind blowing forms. I had moved out of my parent’s house when I was 17. I felt very cool living out my fantasy of the starving artist, literally. Aimless and hungry for life, I was drawn to the 9th and 9th community where this creative global vibe thrived. I had just rented an apartment down the street and noticed a “Help Wanted” sign in the window at MET. In I went, and met Linda Huntington goddess extraordinaire. I have such fond memories of working each day with Linda. She has taught me what strength and integrity looks like in a woman. She gave me acceptance, in all my inexperience and self-doubt, she accepted me to be myself. Her acceptance helped me get out of my own way and consider the possibility that I may have something to contribute, something of value. I had not found my place in the world and at MET I was home. I reveled in an environment that was a sensual feast of madras fabrics, ethnic clothing, handmade, tie dyed, herbal potions, oils, incense, jewelry, paraphernalia, and MUSIC. This environment created a very cool space for people to drop by, check out all this wonderful stuff, and chat. High touch, high texture, human to human contact. Mother’s Earth Things, yeah, Linda had an extraordinary run. I am grateful for Linda’s many contributions to our community and to me. She has brought intelligence, authenticity, courage, beauty, and a deep appreciation for that which is “other.”
More Fashions from Mother’s Earth Things
(Above) Modeling by Evelyn Tuddenham and Lee Chew.
A Neighborhood Bonus at 8th and 8th: The Eighth Street Market, a family-owned store on the opposite corner gave a lot of moral support to the entrepreneurs of the 9th & 9th as they in turn competed with the sprawling Keith Warshaw supermarket.
Neighbor and friend Mary Kontgis writes:
“Growing up, my dad owned the market on 800 S. 800 E. It was such a wonderful area. Just around the corner was the wonderfully eclectic 9th and 9th! It was such a great neighborhood. We had wonderful artists turning their imagination and dreams into beautiful art. Even the sandwich shop sandwiches were works of art. Culinary delights. We could find music, clothes, art and even waterbeds right in our own backyard. The people were all so kind. Such a peaceful place to be!”
Interstate franchise Smith’s took over the supermarket, plus a few local houses, over time. The 8th Street Market’s building exists in 2017, but houses an antique store.
Bonus Gallery — 21st Century 9th & 9th Community Gatherings
Linda Huntington writes:
“Steve Jones of Cosmic Aeroplane was helpful, encouraging and supportive of Mother’s Earth Things efforts in the community. Steve & I connected throughout the years around my poster collection from SF area and SLC, and our mutual interest in local artists and music.”
Linda Huntington writes:
“Over the years I enjoyed being a part of the Utah Woman’s Entrepreneurial Group, the original Salt Lake Jazz Society, and my partners in creating local music and craft festivals. Greg Floor, Nathan Goodman and I developed Westminster May Fest ( 5 years), Mule Hollow Music & Crafts Festival, Park City Jazz Festival ’77 (A.K.A.”Car 19″ Festival.) ”
“We met and cultivated friendships with many wonderful and talented craftsman, musicians, artists, photographers, writers through the years. I savor my pleasant memories of creating an artistic atmosphere, experiencing a cultural period in time like none other, sharing stories and treasured friendships that continue to the present day.”
Linda Huntington — Proprietor of Mother’s Earth Things
875 East 900 South SLC Utah- 1970-1985
*See the page Cosmic Roots & Branches: Mother’s , Mayfest, and Jazz
More about Mother’s Earth Things: Cosmic Roots & Branches: Mayfest Memories
Advertisements and more: Cosmic Roots & Branches: The 9th & 9th Community
Photos and memorabilia courtesy of Linda Huntington, Tamara Buranek, Vicky Williams, Mary Kontgis, Evelyn Tuddenham, and Michael Evans. Mini-essays contributed by Linda Huntington, Nancy Caravan, Mary Kontgis, and Lee Chew.
We actively request your contributions of artwork, music, corrections, memorabilia, and oral histories concerning the Cosmic Aeroplane — please contact our blogmeister.
Blogmeister Michael Evans is an author and historian.
————————————————————————————————————– DISCLAIMER: Any advertisements you may see below this page are artifacts of our blog-hosting service and are totally unrelated to this project. —————————————————————————————————————–