A while ago, an elder weaver gentleman stopped by and donated boxes of unique yarns that he was no longer in need of. The bolts of yarn were fibers that I was not familiar with, and at first wasn’t sure I wanted to do anything with. Up to this point, I had only been working with my wool on the looms with the end result being a garment that was soft on the skin and pleasurable to wear.
He could have dropped them off at any Goodwill and or thrift shop, but wanted to donate them to a place that he knew and hoped would continue his lifelong passion for weaving beautiful rugs. The fibers were fibers that he traveled far and wide around the world to gather for specific projects and clients; mostly yak, camel, and fiber from other mountainous animals. He went on to talk about the Nomadic peoples he encountered, their lifestyles, their processing techniques, the natural dye plants that they used to create the unique golds, greens and reds and the bonds that he had established with these farmers from so far away. He had heard through a friend that our farm would be a great place to make a donation; the life of wool project only being a thought at the back of my mind at the time.
The more he worked with the nomads and their products, the more in love he would get with his rugs; sometimes making it hard to sell to just anyone. I told him I totally understood that. Almost like you had to be worthy and understanding in order to receive the opportunity to purchase one of his pieces.
I am almost done working with the fibers he had given me and have to say, he was right. In creating these rugs, bags, and mats with past and present artists in residence, we were truly able to imagine and appreciate those involved in creating these fibers.
When the projects are completed, like him, I too will struggle with putting them on the floor with a price for sale. I have more of a desire to share them as gifts with friends that I knew would appreciate, not only the handy work that went into the making them, but more importantly, continuing the storytelling of its history.