Radical Human: Brita Ulf

Hi Brita! Can you introduce yourself and share a bit of your story? 

Hi! I’m originally from Vermont and have lived in San Francisco for a little over four years. I love the outdoors and spend a lot of my free time exploring the mountains and coastline of the Bay Area. I’m an avid skier and also get my kicks playing in the ocean, climbing rocks, and hurling down singletrack trails on my mountain bike. 

I love exploring creative passions and am always looking for new inspiration and ways to channel that into creating things. I’ve tried so many different mediums and am constantly curious about creative processes and expressions.

We really dig your naturally dyed clothing and decor! What’s Outerline all about? 

Thank you! Outerline began in my kitchen in the Outer Sunset and is still in its infancy – definitely something I’m looking to continue growing and developing this year! I started natural dyeing at home with items commonly found in a kitchen, like onion skins, avocado stones, and black beans, as well as locally foraged plant material. I got hooked pretty quickly on the magic of creating natural color, but also learned a lot more about commercial garment dyeing processes, which have a huge and detrimental impact on our environment, and sustainable alternatives.

Outerline blends my love for the outdoors and our environment with my creative drive and inclination. It’s finding a way to honor our environment and hopefully foster dialogue about sustainability while producing beautiful and fun pieces.

Where do you find inspiration?  

I find inspiration in many places. There is so much going on around San Francisco both on a large scale and in smaller communities, so it’s easy to immerse yourself in music, art, and creative thinking. I try to seek that out and enrich myself with diverse experiences as much as possible. There’s also immense natural beauty in this area – I’m endlessly moved and inspired by the rugged coastlines of Northern California and the awesome (in the true sense of the word) landscapes around the Sierras. I’m grateful to live in a place that continues to fill me with wonder.

How do you do things differently (in your art, work or life)?  

I’m extremely experimental in my art, work, and life. I have a pretty diverse set of interests and passions, and I’ve spent a lot of my life exploring how they come together in various ways. Some of it doesn’t always make sense or correlate directly, but that’s part of the journey. I love leaning into new inclinations and passions to see what works, what doesn’t work, adjusting, trying new things on for size. One part of me is super analytical and strategic, and another part is free spirited and creative. Natural dyeing is a combination of art and science that really feeds into my instincts and need to combine different qualities and passions.

What do you love to do outside?

Pretty much everything. I grew up ski racing and mountain biking in Vermont, and have added ocean sports to my list of passions since moving to California. It blows my mind that you can access world-class skiing, climbing, and biking as well as an entire coastline of possibilities within 4 hours of San Francisco. A true outdoor playground.

As somebody who often has a hard time slowing down, outdoor recreation is a way for me to be active but also be mindful and in the moment.

There’s nothing that commands your full attention and appreciation for life like dropping into an exhilarating line while skiing in the backcountry or placing your trust in a tiny hold on a rock face hundreds of feet off the ground.

Follow Brita on Instagram @britaulf. Discover her hand-dyed work @outerline.shop.