Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oh deer my dearie

My dear sheltie Luna....the love bug who wants to play with everyone got herself in a pickle, not a sweet one.

I was in the studio yesterday working. Jack had gone out across the near and far fields to do some field mowing with the tractor. I heard the shelties yapping all the way as they always do and then I heard the most painful, repetitive yelping. After about 9 yelps I bounded out the door and ran down the hill into the woods where the pain emerged from. Not the scene anyone wants to mentally work through. I was thinking "one of the pups has gotten entangled in the tractor and Jack doesn't know it", help. By then the yelps were up to 25-30.

I called both Luna and Kalie's names over and over as I ran the distance and then Luna heaved into the path, encased in mud, limping and with a swollen eye. Not to mention a bit blown out! I looked at her quickly but then thought maybe Kalie is the worser victim...and I couldn't find her. Jack was mowing the far field unable to hear me. I ran on until I got him to shut down and help me search and rescue. As I approached Jack a huge doe bounded across the field in front of his tractor.

And then I knew. Luna had wandered into the woods and found a cute little fawn to play with, not realizing the mother was going to have no part of it. That doe pummelled Luna with her front feet and I heard ever hoof hit her as she yelped. Quite a sound, really.

Kalie, our smarty-pants sheltie was already at the house with her tail tucked in and Luna was just a muddy, achy mess, sitting in front of my studio. We cleaned her up but I decided (against my better judgement about the gouging vets charge for each visit, sorry if you are a vet but the charges are out of sight, thank you!) to have her checked to be sure she didn't have internal bleeding or broken bones. Here's Luna on the way to the vet...she looked good in this picture but she was truly miserable.

Result...shaken not stirred. She got lots of pain meds, we got a big bill. This is Luna on the way home from the vet. You can see where they shaved her back to determine the amount of bruising and damage. Her eye is fine after a bit of treatment, thank God.

Luna, Luna, Luna. Don't mess with Mother Nature or any mother for that matter!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wet and wooly weekend

I am back from the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool annual tradition for Long Ridge Farm and many other farms and vendors, showing sheep, selling fleeces and other farm products and just plain good shopping for fiber fans!

The weather was classic, a gray Saturday and a very wet and wooly Sunday with heavy downpours. Thankfully the rain held off until mid-day on Sunday so the roofs didn't start leaking until almost the close of the show. We have come to expect less than perfect weather at this great annual event, in our 35th year!
Faith joined me for the weekend and not only was she a great help but also so fun to be with. My most cheerful gal!
We met so many great people across the weekend and of course saw many good friends as well.
These ladies are sporting some cleverly designed headgear....from Friends In Fiber
getting ready for the show and not happy...baaaaaa
a bumper sticker...
not just another pretty face...
and an awfully cute face!
this lamb was moving so fast we couldn't get a steady picture...
clever art...
All in all a great weekend....enjoying friendship and the reward for all the hours of hard work getting ready for show season!
Thank you to each and everyone who made the weekend a pleasure for Long Ridge Farm.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

France and ISEND2011 ~ My Thoughts

My travels through France from Paris to Brive, the Dordogne Region, Bordeaux, St. Emilion, Rocamadour, Sarlat and La Rochelle with my friend Ramona were nothing short of fabulous. We traveled quite nicely together! We navigated, shlepped, spoke French at least 70% of the time, laughed til tears rolled on countless occasions, always made our trains even in the early AM hours, imbibed on balconies across the countryside and ate with pleasure, just taking each day for what it offered, feeling fortunate as heck to be there. It was just a great trip.
A moment in France, frozen. One Bloody Mary for Ramona and a rum and pear juice for me...on a street, mid-afternoon, no stress, no schedule, no problem.

The second week we landed in La Rochelle for ISEND2011. From a perspective of how to host a symposium where 524 attended from 56 countries, it was nothing short of flawless. The center known as Espace Encan, a renovated fish market on a pier

was the perfect environment under one roof for such an event. Each day was completely organized with morning lecture sessions, a three course sit down lunch, including red and white wine, more afternoon lecture sessions, here with a round table discussion about natural indigos.

followed in the late afternoon by simultaneous exhibitions, films, dyeing workshops, poster presentations and a vendor market. There was an amazing Art and Fashion Exhibition ongoing through the week with numerous pieces created by natural dye artists from around the world.

I was pleased to have a small part in one artists work as he bought his dyes from me!

All parts make a whole.

Wednesday there were four possible field trips to sign up for. Buses picked us up at 9AM and in some pre-determined fashion each group (3-4 buses per group) floated to our chosen venue. Some visited the seashore in search of purple dye from molluscs, some to the countryside to a dye plant farm, others to to an extraction and application laboratory plant collection and some visited Old La Rochelle from the natural dye point of view.

The week wrapped up with a gala dinner and dancing to two incredible live bands and an amazing feast. Many times through the week I thought how awesome it was that our globally small and diverse group was able to co-exist for five full days together with such joy, color and shared pleasure. Fabulous group, we were!

During the lecture sessions there was much discussion on the classification, standardization, industrialization and labeling of natural dyes. Although the concepts are laudable they are lost to me. Natural dyes come from nature and each dye is only as strong as it's future as a living organism. Similar to my breed of sheep, the CVM/Romeldale, which is the most rare and endangered breed of sheep in North America today, if the breed vanishes, it's gone forever. Rather, like our sheep, for dye plants, I would like to see the concept of nurturing and careful management always respecting "their" environment, not our needs. Not all living things are in abundance and no matter how much we try to bring the concept to the forefront, the species still need to survive and we need to be the stewards of their future. To this end, I don't support standardizing and general labeling of natural dyes. Stay conscious, stay concerned and never assume longevity.

One afternoon, Ramona and I rented bicycles and rode around La Rochelle...we stopped at a beautiful beach where I was compelled to place my feet in the other side of the felt marvelous! I still have a love affair with France and always for natural dyes.

To see some great video links about the ISEND conference click here

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

India Flint "Fieldwork" workshop at Long Ridge Farm

Fieldwork with India Flint

Date: August 22-26, 2011
Cost: $700(day class only), initial deposit $300 (includes $50 non-refundable) upon registration, balance due 6/01/2011. Credit card required with initial registration.
Where: Long Ridge Farm, Westmoreland, NH 03467 USA
Lunch: Catered each day and paid by the student

Working with bio-regional dye sources and gentle stitching during an explorative journey in stitch and colour.

In our ‘fieldwork’ we will colour cloth using very simple ingredients; leaves, water and heat. We will work with bio-regional dye sources, windfall bundle dyeing techniques and gentle meditative stitching. Together we shall take windfall-leaf collecting walks to gather material and supplement the harvest with green waste from the florist as well as discards from the green grocer. During the class we will create beautiful dye samplers, gradually piecing them together to construct the foundation of an exquisite composite textile that may be used as a practical plant dye reference. We will harness the effects of scrap metals, different waters and other easily sourced ingredients to influence dye outcomes as well as discussing a range of methods for plant dye application.