fiber porn at the whitefish bay farm gallery’s shepard’s market

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My step-mother-in-law’s birthday was last Friday, so over the weekend, the Husband, the In-Laws Wisconsin Edition, and I schlepped up to Door County to check out the Whitefish Bay Farm Gallery and the annual Shepard’s Market.

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There’s a complete list of this year’s vendors, so go take a look.  It’ll be well worth the time, especially if you’re fiber-inclined or think you’d like to learn to spin.  *is resolute about not learning to spin*  Oh, who am I kidding?  I’m so going to end up learning to card, spin, weave, and cause general mayhem with wool.  *sigh*

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But, as you might have guessed, Door County is fabulously beautiful (if full of cherry trees, which, I discovered last year in Baltimore, I’m really allergic to when they’re blooming), and the Whitefish Bay Farm Gallery is no exception.

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It’s situated on a farm a bit outside of Whitefish Bay (which is a super-cute little town), so it’s a bit of a trek to get there.  Yet it’s completely worth it.  There were noisy/nosey guard sheep that I’m sure alerted the entire county that there were people–strange, maniacal people hell-bent on shearing them of their lovely fluffiness–within a field’s breadth of them.  But they were so cute!  And there was something brilliantly tranquil about the greenest-greens with little (re:  freaking huge) dirty white and chocolate sheep nibbling away the day.

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Needless to say, there were a lot of sheep-derived products for sale (okay, really they were just yarns and stuff like that), but there were some things that really caught my attention that I thought y’all might like to hear about.

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Here are my absolute favorites in a huge pile of awesome.

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One of my favorites were these accent yarns by the incomparable  Bonnie Paruch of Icelandic Lamb and Wool.  The neat thing is–Bonnie’s a plein aire oil and pastel artist whose studio is located in Sister Bay, Wisconsin.  The beautiful accent yarns that she makes and sells are, as she phrased it, a hobby.

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I don’t know about y’all, but I really love that idea:  that artists can have hobbies, can have something in their lives other than just their art, than teaching, than activism.  That we are not limited to one realm of experience and expression or one gleaming interest.  That we are no more singular in dimension than anyone else–even thought artists of all types always seem to be classified as such when there’s really very little evidence to support that kind of imposed self.

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Really, though, her yarn is art in and of itself.  Each batch is hand-dyed with acid dyes in small batches and hand-spun.  Yes, these yarns are intended to be used as a raw material, but what could be better than a skein wound lazily into a loose ball in a perfectly clear glass bowl or vase?  If it weren’t that I was a kept-artist, there would have sooooooooooo been yarn bought.  As it is, I’ll have to wait until next year or see if she sells her yarn somewhere online. <–I have, however, not found any inclination that they are for sale somewhere.  *is sad*  But, maybe, that is a forthcoming endeavor?

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A person who I was excited about seeing was Barbara Heike of Wildflower Studio Arts, who is a Green Bay area artist that I know from The Art Garage. Incidentally, she’s the person that told me about the Shepard’s Market at Whitefish Bay Farm Gallery.  Talk about kismet, yeah?

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Doesn’t she look lovely and confident?

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Barbara does Viking Knitting which she describes as

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Before the advent of chainmail, and as early as 850 AD, the Vikings used a knitting technique in making armor.  Today, the ancient art form of Viking Knitting can be used to fashion fine silver wire into bracelets, necklaces, and other beautiful jewelry.

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I can attest; they’re really awesome.  They make my little SCA-heart go pitter-pat.

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She teaches classes at The Art Garage on Viking Knitting as well as demos at conferences and such.  She was the big surprise at the Shepard’s Market since, while she’s weaving, she’s also working with metal.  And, for anyone who hasn’t tried to weave or crochet with metal wire, it is a job of work.

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One of my other favorite vendors was Apple Hollow Fiber Arts.  I was draw to them because of their amazing baskets.  But!  They also have magnificently beautiful spinning wheels and looms!  Unfortunately, the lovely baskets that I feel in love with are not currently listed on their site but hopefully will be soon.  So.  Pretty!

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I am particularly fond of the pink one.  *hands*

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And, to round out this exclusive about a (mostly) off-season event, more pictures!  Okay, I admit that I kinda lost track of who the vendors were for some of these, but seriously, check out the vendors and check their sites (where available)!

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This lovely scarf was make by Karin Hoagland of Quiet Creek Ranch.

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All in all, a fantastic adventure and amazing event that I’m going to go back for next year and, hopefully, have a ton of money with which to purchase pretty, pretty sheep-products.

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