Welcome to our blog about life with six alpaca "fiber boys" in the Colorado foothills! We post once a week, usually on the weekend, when life slows down to sweet, slow dance. ~ Gib & Lisa

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Gathering of the Guilds

My new motto is to find a celebration in every day. I was a celebration hog today!  

First, my husband Gib and I took the long, winding, aptly named Lookout Mountain Road from Golden to the amazing Boettcher Mansion, where the Colorado Arts & Crafts Society (click HERE for information on the Society) was hosting a Gathering of the Guilds.   

I neglected to take photos of the house and its furnishings, so I am borrowing these lovely shots from the mansion's website (click HERE to learn more about this amazing place).
 The mansion ~ a showcase for the America Arts and Crafts movement of the late 1800s and early 1900s ~ served as the perfect backdrop for potters and their mesmerizing wheels, metalsmiths and their precise hammers, weavers and their intricate looms, and spinners plying their trade on a variety of wheels (including two Ladybugs, just like mine!).  The woodworkers were there, too, although they left their table saws and routers at home!

I, of course, spent most of my time with the fiber-arts craftspeople, while my husband visited with his fellow woodworkers, and talked with papermakers about their ancient art.

I first met Kathy Strathearn, a weaver who is on the board of the Society, and is a member of the Handweavers Guild of Boulder (click HERE for information on the guild).  She was finishing an amazing Navajo rug.

Because she was so close to finishing the rug, Kathy was using a needle (in her left hand in this photo) to pull the weft through the warp strings. She normally uses her hands as her "shuttle."

Kathy explained that the Native Americans call this last bit of a weaving project the "24-hour inch," because the small space calls for intricate, time-consuming weaves.

Next, I met Pat Martinek, with her enormous spinning wheel ~ just look at that long draw!

Pat was spinning alpaca and Husky, a wonderful combination!

Nearby, another Handweavers Guild member ~ Angella Dirks ~ was knitting with her just-spun-and-washed-yesterday dog hair (dog type unknown).

The fiber took on a silky, soft, Mohair-like wooliness after washing ~ look at it shine in her lap!

Next to Angella was a familiar face: Debi Dodge, a member of my "home" guild, the Northern Colorado Weavers Guild (click HERE for more information on our guild) as well as the Handweavers Guild.
Debi was spinning timberwolf (!), which she gets from a local wolf sanctuary. When she sells items made from the animals' soft undercoat, she donates a portion of the proceeds back to the sanctuary.  

She also had a silk-and-arctic-wolf scarf with her. This heavenly confection was featured in Spin-Off Magazine.

In Debi's display was also this stunning photo of a Rocky Mountain goat, which her husband took atop Mt. Elbert. "He got THAT close, and didn't bring me back any fiber," she laughed, explaining that collecting sheds is allowed.  "I almost sent him back up there!"  (That's a skein of Rocky Mountain goat next to the picture ~ a tiny skein!)

Members of the Rocky Mountain Weavers' Guild (click HERE for more information on the guild) were also there, including Anne with her knitting (forgive me, but I did not get her last name), and Janet Colville with her inkle loom, as well as several other weavers, spinners and felters in an adjoining room:

There were so many visitors that I did not have a chance to chat with these ladies!

I did, however, get to talk with Melissa Wager of Mystic Star Alpacas (click HERE for their website), who had some intricate alpaca shawls for sale; my photos do not do justice to the ribbon- or basket-type weave.  Melissa said her daughter brought back a similar shawl from Paris, and they asked a weaver in Kansas if she could duplicate the pattern...and voila!

It's difficult to see the dimensional weaving, but trust me, this is one gorgeous shawl!

As are these!

By the time we were finished viewing all these yummy creations, Gib and I were famished, and took the advice of the Colorado AAA EnCompass Magazine to try the American Indian tacos (on frybread!) at Tocabe on West 44th Street in Denver (click HERE for their website).

Gib had the ground bison with Osage Hominy salsa...

...and I opted for the less spicy grilled chicken with the even milder roasted red salsa.

Both were exceptional, as was the service (it's a fast-food place with people who treat you as if you are the only one in the joint...and on a Sunday at noon, we most definitely were not alone)!

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