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Shepherds and the Fiber of Our Being

Not long ago, I became a member of the Northeast Felt Maker’s Guild. They recently put out a “call to artist” for their upcoming collaborative exhibition. This year, the exhibition is titled, The Fiber of Our Being.

…As felters we work the wool with every fiber of our being. There is a direct connection from our fingertips to our medium with no separation as with a paintbrush or stick of charcoal. Does our process begin with the wool or from someplace within ourselves? …

As a shepherd, these words ring deep within my soul as the day to day work of my hands revolves around my flock of sheep. From my inner core values and beliefs around life, death, and the divine power that shepherds my own life, to the support systems and people involved in my endeavors, to the physical strength needed to care for animals, to the constant learning and exploration of unanswered questions and concerns, to the creative flow that drives me and restores me, my sheep set the motion for each day.

Gotland Wool Felted Vest
From the wool on my sheep, to the clothes on my back…..Felted Vest using Gotland curls.

As a feltmaker and fiber artist, my connection between my fingertips and my medium, wool, runs deep within my being. I know each fleece by name. I was there during lambing to witness the beginning of each new life on the farm. I know the health of my sheep based on the quality of their wool. I know the events that happened in each ewe’s year which influenced her wool growth. I know what upsets each individual sheep, and their distinct personalities. And lastly, I know the hours of care poured into each animal so that it can thrive and produce lovely curls of gray.

Felting with Gotland Wool
The process-connecting my life with the wool on my sheep.

Just as I have given to my flock of sheep, they give to me in return through their lovely wool. My knitting and felting soothe my sore back and my tired shoulders. Working with the wool from my sheep nurtures my soul, it restores a sense of calm and peace to a sometimes stressful, hectic day. There is no separation between my hands and my medium-we work as one.

A warm welcome to all visiting from Nicole’s Keep Calm, Craft On. Please let me know what soothes your soul.

Come share some time with me and my flock on my hillside farm. We offer overnight farmstays to those wanting to experience rural Vermont life. We are also offering an felting retreat here at our farm this September. Visit our website for details.

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