Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Year of the Goat (Sheep or Ram)

It's Lunar New Year, and so out with the horse and in with the goat. I'm very fond of goats and sheep. I was a spinner for many years and did quite a lot with different wool and other materials. I still own my lovely spinning wheels, but rarely spin any more. I just can't bring myself to sell my wheels, though. They're beautiful to look at and I own each one because it does a particular task better than the others. But even though I can integrate many of my artforms with others, I haven't figured out a good way to integrate my spinning with my enamel work or drawing or even beading. Yet. The possibility still exists.....

There is something so relaxing about spinning on a good wheel. This is a
Rio Grande Wheel. I actually own one of these and it's a wonderful wheel. Currently
it sits in my spare bedroom. It's big, so it doesn't travel around with me.
I have other wheels for travel. But it's smooth and very versatile. 

In any case, before I run off to the gym for the morning's workout, here are some goats, sheep and wool pictures for all of you on this new Lunar New Year.

On the other side of my mechanical spinning wheels is this beauty. This
is a Louet portable wheel, often called a "hatbox" wheel. You have to
treadle a lot faster to accomplish the same work as a larger wheel, but
I survived an intensive 3-day working with silk workshop with this
wheel. It traveled on the plane with me under my seat, although I'm
not sure it would meet current size regulations.

One of the things I loved the most was taking my hand-spun and dying it
into a variety of wonderful colors. I learned to dye through workshops
with Trudy van Stralen and still have a lot of the components necessary
for natural dyes that I purchased from her. She was such fun! 

Trudy's goal, at the time that I knew her, was to
establish natural dye recipes that would create
the same colors again and again. She was an expert,
unafraid to experiment. She later became the President
of Louet North America which is now headed by her son. 

And, of course I have drop spindles. Lots of them. I still
really enjoy spinning on a drop spindle. There's so much
that can be done with such a small, simple product. 

So farewell Year of the Horse and hello Year of the Goat (or sheep or ram).
I hope each of you have a wonderful year ahead of you. 

So there we have it. Amazing what a simple New Year's wish led to. I haven't thought about my spinning experiences and friends for such a long time. It was a delightful trip through memories for me today. Have a wonderful Thursday. I'm off to the gym.

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