Viewpoint Farm presents Second Monday Weavers & Friends for a celebration and marketplace for coulee region fiber arts.
Folks looking to buy locally produced wool, yarn, patterns for knitting, rovings for spinning, hand-crafted goods or fiber art supplies will have much to choose from, or those just wanting to learn about raising sheep, sheep breeds, types of wool, preparing a fleece, weaving, spinning or felting will have workshops, demonstrations and experts on hand to speak with on all these topics.
When and where? Located about four miles west of Soldiers Grove, Elin Pring Haessly's Viewpoint Farm will be an idyllic site of the first annual ‘Fiber on the Farm’ event on Saturday, October 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Elin's small flock of Icelandic sheep will be readily visible on an adjacent fenced pasture, just beyond her colorful perennial flower and vegetable gardens.
The upcoming event was organized by a group of weavers and fiber artists from the Kickapoo Valley area, who have been meeting monthly at each others' homes for years for inspiration, a bit of show & tell, advice, camaraderie and studio tours. They loosely refer to themselves as the ‘Second Monday Weavers.’
Vendors and activities on October 4 will include: Denise Benoit of Winterloom, who recently moved to LaFarge from her Rumination Ridge Farm near Star Valley. Benoit will offer fleeces, wool roving and yarns, looms, spinning wheels and hand-woven goods for sale. Denise began weaving in the late 80s in Milwaukee and was driven by her fascination with wool to raise sheep in the Driftless area about seven years ago. She will demonstrate weaving, fleece ‘skirting’ and prepare a ‘walk up and weave’ project for anyone to contribute to.
Angie Feltes of Kindred Threads lives and weaves west of Viroqua. On October 4, from 1 to 4 p.m., she'll teach a beginning spinning workshop for $35. Please register in advance by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, so Angie will know how much material to prepare. Tell her if you have a wheel or if you'll need to borrow one.
“My love of color and texture has taken me on a journey from being a glass artist to the fiber arts world,” Feltes explained. “For the last 10 years, I have explored spinning, dyeing and weaving. With a side trip into owning a yarn shop for a few years, I am now back to creating, fine handwovens, handspun and hand-dyed yarns, in my log home studio in the beautiful hills of western Wisconsin.
Elin Haessly, who is hosting the event, is originally from Denmark, where she learned to dye yarns with natural plants. Two years ago, Elin and her husband retired to their farm in rural Soldiers Grove, so now she has time again to experiment with fibers and plants. She is also a weaver and uses her own sheeps’ fibers to weave rugs and spin yarn. Elin will demonstrate dyeing wool with plant-based dyes, many of which are home-grown.
Char Tumi, of Fiber Ridge Farm near Ferryville, raises heritage breed sheep, llamas and chickens. She and her husband were drawn to country life here in the Coulee region over six years ago. Here, they dye, card and spin the natural fibers they produce, and make colorful felted, woven and crocheted items.
Kris Potochick, of Ridgetop Icelandics, keeps a flock of 35 Icelandic sheep on a farm near Rising Sun. She recently retired, and now has more time to enjoy working with their fiber and weaving Zati masks (faces). Kris also enjoys the endless possibilities when needle-felting her wool.
Bonnie Wideman, of Pine Knob Organic Farm west of Soldiers Grove, has been raising sheep for 37 years. Her background also includes Waldorf teaching and directing an organic certification agency. In the past decade, she has focused her sheep-raising efforts on organic production, and through selective breeding, rotational grazing and natural supplements, now produces certified organic lamb meat and wool. Bonnie will sell sheep skins and yarn produced from her flock, and is also offering a Sheep Raising Workshop from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and will repeat it from 1 to 2 p.m. No advance registration required, just a goodwill donation to the event.
Phyllis Scarbrough, of Pickled Silk and Raindance Baskets, has been involved with arts and crafts of some kind since she was 12 years old. She has lived all over the United States, but chose to settle in the Driftless area of Wisconsin 18 years ago. Scarbrough has been teaching various forms for more than 40 years. She has been a basket maker and teacher of basketry for nearly 30 years and six years ago experimented with hand dyeing silk with food and plants, things progressed from there. She dyes silk with many types of dyes, but prefers to work with earth friendly non-toxic dyes. Food coloring creates such an endless array of vibrant colors and when processed correctly is 90 percent color fast! Phyllis will have hand-dyed silk scarves, silk scarf dyeing kits and hand painted leaf cards and possibly some baskets. Attendees can also take mini scarf dyeing class and hand dye a silk scarf in a jar.
Anna Rodriguez, of Backstitch Designs, lives and teaches knitting and sewing at Youth Initiative High School in Viroqua and will have hand-sewn, vintage-inspired quilts and accessories for sale.
Jaali Parrish of Jaali's Dollies is the youngest vendor. A senior at the Youth Initiative High School in Viroqua, she has been doing needle felting for nine years.
Kathryn Ashley-Wright, of Ewetopia Yarns in Viroqua, lives and raises sheep outside of LaFarge. In addition to running her Main Street store there, she knits, teaches, designs and sells her own knitting patterns online. Kathryn intends to have a special seating area within her booth for knitters to come and ask questions (kind of an impromptu technique knitting seminar.)
Find more details about ‘Fiber on the Farm’ on facebook at: www.facebook.com/ElinViewpointFarm or call Denise with questions at 608-482-4053