Letter: This llama is high on fiber

Skye King

Is what I co-create art? I watched 101 cars come up my driveway on studio tour weekend with at least two persons in each vehicle and out they would jump to stare at me and take a photo. The next thing these folks did was to listen to a presentation on felt history, felt legends and felt use. That over, they would move to a table where my owner was banging wet felt fabric against a table to get the air out of the fiber. That fiber was my hair! What was going on?

Folks from Arlington, Bethesda, Fredericksburg, Jefferson County, Orange, Rappahannock, Richmond and Winchester were gathering to learn about how hair, hand-shorn from a llama, could be pounded into flat felt, the basis for a multitude of durable, fashionable clothing and household items: in this particular case, hats.

Quite a number of these people volunteered that they were thrilled that fiber was included in this studio tour and that animals were being recognized as contributors to the arts. Many who know the value of handmade outerwear ordered custom hats of their choosing and chose fiber-painted designs to be needle-felted on the hat. There was no question as to whether this was art or not . . . these folks knew what they were here for. Next hair-growing season will bring more hats, wall hangings, necklaces and . . . well, I hope I won’t get a felted bowl for my grain.

Feltmaker and farm studio hostess Nan McEvoy notes that there were giggles as folks connected a natural-colored felted item with a llama in the field. “A simple joy,” one lady stated. “And I want a photo of my llama with my hat.”

As for me and my herd, we are glad to have been a part of this annual antidote to fiber-myalgia! Who wouldn’t give a hum!

Skye King
Guardian Llama
c/o Nan MacLeod McEvoy
Skye Llama Farm
Flint Hill

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