Hello again after a looooooooong break! It has been a while since the last of what I would call my regular posts. There has been a bit of shifting with my time as my business has grown busier (no complaints) and I’ve been trying to catch up. At the end of the day I was feeling exhausted thinking about writing on my blog and at the same time, I got a bit overwhelmed by all of the social media options available.
Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more about my blog and wanting to share like I used to. So, this post is going to be a long one because there is a lot to catch up with.
France (last year’s visit)
I sort of visited France for the first time last year. What got me there? I took a class with the wonderful Heidi Greb. I remember watching a couple of videos on Youtube a few years ago where Heidi talked about her work and her technique. I was very much intrigued and thinking about it on and off for years, and wanting badly to take a workshop with her until one day I saw on FB an announcement about a felting workshop with Heidi. I don’t remember hesitating much before signing up, except that the only thing was that the class was going to be held in France! I thought: Maybe this is the time to visit France for the first time.
So, I gathered all my materials, my tools, and a few garments, and I flew to Toulouse.
The short time that I was there for the class was well spent. Even though the class was held in French, I was able to understand well enough what she was teaching, and Heidi was very nice and patient to make a pause from time to time to explain it to me in English.
During the class we also took a few breaks in between and visited the Niaux Caves and an old mill.
The cave’s paintings left a big impression on me. It made me reflect on the time, and also, about the ability to stand in front of a wall, thousands of years later, on the same spot, and witness the same artwork created back in Paleolithic times. Believe me, it gives you a sort of chill in the back of your head. The strokes of the drawings seem so simple at the first, but when you look closely at the details, the artists had the sophisticated eye to use the natural lines of the rocks to make the shape of an animal. Some paintings have only the lines of the head drawn, followed by a natural crack in the rock with the shadows indicating to your brain and eyes that there is the rest of the body perfectly shaped!
The visit to the mill was so much fun!
Sadly, it hasn’t been operating for a while, but there is a team of people, the Sibada Laines Association, working hard on making the mill operable again. There is a campaign created to raise the funds needed to make this happen.
We were able to walk inside and explore as long as we wanted.
On the way back to our place, we also encountered hundreds of sheep all marked with a blue heart crossing the road. We had to stop and wait a few minutes before we could continue, but it was fun to watch and listen to the cacophony of sounds of a combination of the bells and baaas.
There are two breeds from this area that I kept hearing about, the Merino d’Arles and Tarasconnaise Merino. You can click on the names to redirect you to more information if you want to learn more about these breeds. I was able to buy a batt of the latter at the store next to the mill and I’ve been using it in my felting. The Tarrasconnaise felts fast and it is very soft.