July 21, 2012
Farm Alley in Lagunitas hosted a beautiful week of ‘from the ground-up’ textile education, with special surprise visits from some of our local Fibershed talent! We all loved the cashmere goats, who romped around with the children all week and received so many formal names its hard to say what the children decided on. I think this little one ended up as ‘Carmel’. The goats came from Mary Pettis-Sarley’s ranch for our week of fiber education.
We also had a visit from ‘Peter’ the very relaxed and easy going angora rabbit, who was given a ride to camp by his farmer, Allison Arnold. Peter relaxed in the shade of the oak grove and enjoyed a stream of loving caresses and hair brushing.
Katherine Jolda came to our textile camp too and showed the children how to ride her bicycle powered drum carder. After creating a beautiful combed batt of wool from locally raised sheep the children learned to felt the fiber into small patches.
We harvested dye plants from our meandering wall of coreopsis that runs through an acre of meadow, like a curving water-way.
The children harvested enough to dye their sample fabrics and shirts.
They made bean bags with designer Amber Steinhauer from elder, black walnut, fennel and coreopsis dyed fabrics…
We created an impromptu form of ‘cornhole’ although we didn’t exactly have it set up in the traditional sense, everyone loved keeping score and tossing their homemade bean bags.
We kept the dye vats running over several days for the children to create and explore with. Each color was generated by the children’s own work to process the plants.
Everyone enjoyed squishing elderberries between their fingers.. hammering the fallen walnut shells, and chopping up the long fennel stalks.
Kid goats and kid humans make great companions.
Our final day was spent making paper from old jeans and T-shirts with paper maker Michelle Wilson.. (the final chapter of our textile story). “From the ground up textiles” have many lives. The children were excited to see an alternative to making paper from trees.