From Marian White, Land & Lamb Co (raising purebred Navajo-Churro sheep) (& Tunbridge Woolworks fiber processing) with Frank Tegethoff (weaver)
Fiber College Interview 2008:
- We know that interest in textiles and fibers evolve over time. What is your currant passion? Did you start directly with this form of the art or did you progress through a series of interests? Textiles, fabric and color evolved into a passion as I traveled extensively in my first working life. With my first farm (a whopping 4.7 acres huge) an open pasture led me to grazers and there I was, raising sheep and just loving textiles. A major job opportunity introduced me to Navajo-Churro sheep and my dedication was complete: this rare and wonderful wool breed thrives in Vermont, bringing rugged individualism (of personality as well as of color) to everything the fiber touches: weaving, felting, knitting…..[visit both www.landlamb.com and www.navajo-churrosheep.com]
- What or who fired your initial flames of artistry? My mother taught me to knit somewhere around age five (“busy hands are happy hands”) and this just evolved with my fiber enthusiasms
- What’s your biggest challenge? Time and money are obstacles to us all, and there is the constant challenge of learning new techniques all the while managing the flock’s consistency with diversity
- What’s the biggest payoff? By far my biggest pleasure is watching new fiber enthusiasts begin raising their own Churro sheep— because I know, from this jumping-off point, fiber and textiles will nourish them for decades.
- Emotions are a major driver of our passions…does your art make you satisfied from the moment you start or are there moments of anxiety as the process evolves…do you see the finished product differently as time passes? My ‘art?’ Oh I am never ‘satisfied.’ From raising the sheep cleaning the fiber through textile creation: everything tickles with questions of what would this look like if I had tried….. It is what leads to more art, different colors, re-using material another way. Growth & discovery.
- What best describes your personal learning style? I learn best by asking questions then actually doing. Reading doesn’t stick in the same way as puzzling things out. Often I try to recreate a ‘look’ and find I have stumbled into something quite different but even more interesting. Consequently, I am always, always available for people with Churro sheep questions: behavior, health, fiber, fencing, feeders… just blog to me through www.landlamb.com’s ‘Buzz’
- What would a perfect fiber shop look like? My favorite fiber shop is Rio Grande Weavers in Santa Fe, NM. They have an [endless] wall of color as high as my reach full of natural and dyed colors. Rooms of completed weavings— rugs large & small, wall hangings and art. I am inspired beyond awe by the talents of the artists who display.
- How will those who wander through the Fiber College grounds best recognize you? Weather-permitting I hope to bring sheep but I will definitely have a small loom with Frank at the business end. Also, there will be a banner saying Tunbridge Woolworks for anyone with fiber to be processed (for information visit http://www.TunbridgeWoolworks.com)
- Answers from Frank: I am a production-oriented weaver, working exclusively with natural fibers, locally obtained if possible— like Marian’s Navajo-Churro. I ended up here after a long journey beginning with knitting and needlework. My initial flames I blame on my grandmothers and for me form follows function: I find the individual pieces push me towards the fiber and structure they want. For me, the BIG payoff is when someone asks for something special or for teaching. But, still, I find satisfaction in each step of the process even though there is always some anxiety. Because my mantra is Practice makes better, this covers everything!
My favorite fiber shop would be primarily focused on weavers. Nothing would be in limited quantities or out of stock. Brassard’s in Quebec comes close. A strong second would be Vav Stuga in Shelburn Falls, MA run by Becky Ashendon.
In the ideal world I would only study, travel, teaching. My individual studio would grow to a cooperative workshop. And time would slip by, each moment garnished with yet more inspiration!