DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE – PART 1
In January 2021, I was scrolling on Instagram, or in other words allowing myself to venture down a rabbit hole, which lead me to the discovery of Wild Red Clover Fiber Mill. I thought ‘how amazing is this fiber mill and the story behind it’. I immediately sent them a message giving a bit of my personal history and interests, while gently asking if I could come for a visit in March. Annette responded quickly and said they would love to connect.
While I was anxiously waiting for March to arrive, I asked Annette and Troy if they would speak to my fibers students via Zoom. Of course, they said yes – in all their spare time - they have now graciously offered to give a presentation to the students at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. The presentation was fabulous and my students who were a bit frustrated with their studio classes being online had new energy within them to produce fiber-related work.
In March my sister, Jennifer, and I drove from Salt Lake City down to Koosharem for our fiber mill tour ☺. Pulling up to the mill we were greeted by Tundra and soon after Troy and Annette. Our tour was quite in-depth, more than I expected since had I asked them to take time out of their workday to show us their process and machinery. Annette and Troy showed us all how all the machines worked and their typical production process – including saving the water used to wash fiber and distribute it back to the land throughout the ranch. Troy and Annette graciously taught us how to make a fiber batt and some roving. After the interior fiber mill tour, we had the privilege of stepping outside to meet their new additions, Twilight, Renley, and Widow, their Icelandic sheep.
It was a lovely morning filled with passion and idea-sharing. We chatted about their future goals for the mill with one catching my immediate attention, a possibility of an artist residency program. As my sister and I headed back to Salt Lake City I reflected on the experience, and I hoped that Annette and Troy would invite me back for that exact opportunity….
As a contemporary fiber artist Heather has focused primarily on color, pattern, texture, distortion and memory. Her use of color and pattern arose out of childhood experiences steeped in the popular material culture of the Midwest in the 1980s and early 1990s. Macali’s work has recently been published in the books Digital Jacquard Design by Julie Holyoke and Textiles: The Art of Mankind by Mary Schoeser. She worked in the fashion industry for four years as a textile designer at Abercrombie and Fitch and Limited Brands. Macali grew up in Munroe Falls, Ohio and received her Bachelors of Arts in Crafts from Kent State University. She continued her art research and development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison receiving her Masters of Fine Arts in Textiles in 2009. Macali currently resides in Detroit, Michigan working as an artist and a professor at Wayne State University.