Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 28 Meeting: Weaving Legends, Rare Breeds

Margaret B. Russell will be telling tales about rare breeds of sheep, just in time for the wool buying season.

Margaret is a handweaver with over 30 years of experience and a lifetime appreciation of this ancient art. She grew up listening to stories about maternal ancestral weavers and wool workers. Margaret is especially interested in primitive, rare, and threatened British sheep breeds. She works to promote awareness of their fragile future through research, articles, and presentations.

The basis of the talk:

Between 1900 and 1973, the United Kingdom lost 26 of its native livestock breeds. A great number were already extinct prior to the 20th century. Since the inception of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in 1973, not one breed has been lost. The Livestock Conservancy formed in 1977, and to this day its conservation efforts continue to protect traditional livestock breeds from extinction in the USA. Still, the population numbers of many breeds, in both countries, remain vulnerable for many unsettling reasons. These breeds are placed on annual watchlists and require vigilant monitoring.

Delve into the world of primitive, rare, and threatened British sheep breeds, Margaret’s area of special interest. Listen to stories of loss and survival, hardships and triumphs. Limestone and Cladagh, The Story of the Little Grey Sheep: Chapters 1 and 2, The Sheep That Roars, The Death and Life of the Norfolk Horn, and A Sheep in Sheep’s Clothing are just a few of the tales Margaret has to share. Meet these extraordinary and often outlandish looking sheep through photographs, pictures, and other resources. A vast mix of fleece samples, millspun and handspun yarns will tempt you to see and touch their extensive natural color and texture ranges. Examine their woven wools in Margaret’s ‘Preservation Wraps’ collection. Then consider contributing to the safeguarding of an endangered sheep breed by using their wool in one or two of your own pieces.