Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Best In Show

I spent the weekend at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and had a fantastic time, as always.  The weather was sunny but not hot and the venue was very well organized with many volunteers who worked very hard.  The Festival is made up of sheep competitions, sheepdog demonstrations, wool and sheep related classes for shepherds and craftsmen, and vendors; lots and lots of venders selling many types of art and creative fixings for artists, especially wool artists.  And did I mention the food?  Lamb, goat and sheep cheeses, gyros, lamb sausage, etc.  This show estimates attendance at 50,000 to 70,000 visitors anually and this year was a record number in attendance.   Here is some info. from their website: 

"The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is sponsored by the Maryland Sheep Breeders Association, Inc., a non-profit organization. The Festival's purpose is to educate the public about sheep and wool. The Festival is organized and conducted by volunteers from the sheep breeding and fiber arts communities."  It is located at :
Howard County Fairgrounds
2210 Fairground Road
West Friendship, MD

For more information on the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival go to:  http://www.sheepandwool.org/

 I took a class from Sharon Costello on Thursday called, "Go-Felt-A-Fish" where we learned to make three-dimensional fish with hand felting - something new for me.  Of course, I had done wet felting of my own pieces before, but this was more along the line of sculpturing the shapes with wet wool, rather than needle felting them first.

After this class, I appreciate even more the invention of the Babylock 12 needle Embellisher that can put your fibers exactly where you want them and then you can wet felt them in place. 

 For more information on how to wet felt go to my blog archives to access the previous blog tutorial called, "Wet Felting Wool Paintings" on  Thursday, November 18, 2010.   

Best of all, my piece called "Provincetown" won the Best In Show award with the "Bottle Study" coming in second place.  I was thrilled to be a part of such a large venue and was hoping to introduce the Babylock Embellisher artwork to this subculture (knitters, spinners, wool people).  Currently I have been introducing it to the Quilters subculture but wool roving tends to be foreign to them.  These thousands of "sheepy" people have access to all types of wool and could easily relate to how this is done but most of them have never heard of a needle felting machine.  Hopefully, those who saw the art pieces will understand it a bit better now or at least have been introduced to the artistic potential it affords. 


Bottle Study
I told myself before I went to the Festival that "I don't need to buy anything this year, just browse."  Now that I am back home I have to rearrange my studio to fit all my new stuff and get to work creating with it.  There's always something to look forward to when you are a fiber lover. 

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