Spinning The Bedlam Farm Open House

Sue Smith and Flo
Sue Smith and Flo before the Open House began on Saturday

How I wanted to get a picture, maybe even a video of Suzy Fatzinger and Sue Smith spinning and knitting, under Jane’s tent at the Open House.  It was a beautiful scene.  And even though I didn’t get to spend the time with them I wanted to, I could feel their presence throughout the day.

People would come into my School House Gallery and look at Suzy’s gloves and tell me how they saw her spinning the wool that she makes into the gloves.   Sue and Suzy talked to people and answered their questions all day long.   After the sheep  were shorn,  I brought the bags  of Liam’s and Biddy’s fleeces to the tent so people could see what the wool looked like before it was processed.

Suzy came back on Sunday  and while she finished spinning a skein of Liam’s wool, ( “It’s filled with lots of good mojo” she told me later) her son, Sam, took his sketch pad and pencils out to the pasture to draw.

On Sunday Carol Law Conkin brought over her vats of  dyes and old electric frying pan, her wax and fabrics  and gave a Batik demonstration. It was so windy I had to put the sides up on the tent to keep Carols drawings from blowing away.   It was cold, but people stood around her, hugging their sweaters close to their bodies, and watched with awe and fascination as she dripped hot wax on fabric and her delicate lines became a horse.

The spinning, the knitting, Carol’s batik making, it all shows the slow process of creating.  The labor intensive steps that come from doing by hand.

Doing by hand slows us down.  It’s like reading poetry.  If you rush it, it doesn’t work.  You have to go slow,  which gives us a chance to actually think about what we’re doing.  Instead of pushing or forcing our way through it.

The people who watched Carol’s demonstration or saw Suzy spinning and Sue knitting, came to understand and appreciate the process in a way that’s hard to do otherwise.  Each twist of fiber, each individual stitch picked  up by the knitting needle, each time Carol dipped her fabric in dye and waited for it to dry,  then dipped it again, the continuous rhythm of the work, the satisfaction and fulfillment that comes  from doing.

Each a very personal creative process that is both intense and joyous.

Even though I couldn’t see them from inside my School House Gallery where I was selling art, I could feel their presence.  And knew they were doing the work that goes on all the time at Bedlam Farm one word, one stitch at a time.  Creating and putting it out into the world.  Inclusive and inviting and encouraging.

That’s what our Bedlam Farm Open Houses are about.  And because of the all the good people who showed up, that’s just what happened this weekend.

Carol's demonstration on Sunday
Carol’s Batik demonstration on Sunday
Sam's drawing
Sam’s drawing


3 thoughts on “Spinning The Bedlam Farm Open House

  1. Dear Maria, I’m so glad that it didn’t POUR RAIN ALL DAY as it did here in the Fingerlakes! The wind was raw here, too. How I love Sam’s drawing! Annie

  2. The paragraph about doing work by hand jumped off the screen at me.

    This post is a great response to anyone who has ever gone to a craft fair and said things were too expensive.

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