Over the past year, Annette and I have come to love helping people learn about fiber and help them become artisans. As educators, part of running the mill is teaching and helping people to understand how fiber moves from the farm to something we can wear, use, or create as works of art.
We never anticipated the excitement and joy we are bringing to our local neighbors and fellow fiber farmers. To see firsthand the joy of our new friends as they hold a finished fiber product from the mill is amazing. We have seen everything from tears to hugging the product. Our clients cannot believe their fiber, the fiber that they raised and cared for, is now a usable and sustainable product.
We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist. - Wendell Berry
A few weeks ago, after a client had visited, I was speaking to a non-farmer friend trying to explain how excited our clients are when they see their final product from our mill. I told the friend the story of a client who is a sixth-generation sheep farmer and has never experienced a product from their wool. The sheep farmer explained to me that the wool from their sheep is usually a liability that they either destroy or lose money trying to sell it as a commodity. Not once in his life has he ever held anything made from the wool that he produces. The day he picked up the finished yarn, tears flowed and a smile so big I thought it would stretch off his face appeared. He was now not only a farmer, but an artist. It not only brought the farmer joy, but it brought Annette and I added dose of motivation to continue our business in a kind of educational and learning experience for those that raise fiber animals. My non-farmer friend could not understand the farmer’s joy. “All of this over some yarn?” he said. Yes, all of this over yarn that he helped create. As Annette and I prepared yarns from our sheep, I felt the same kind of joy. There is a kind of magic at work in the mill as we work with animals, fleece, finished products, and of course our new friends and clients. We hope in educating about fiber that we are bringing a bit more joy to a challenging world.