Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Taos Wool Festival 2009

This past weekend we traveled up to northern New Mexico to visit the Taos Wool Festival. We also found a harvest festival to attend, but will post on that later. It was all around a magical autumn weekend! The wool festival showcased artisans from New Mexico, Colorado and Texas for the most part. We met up with some good friends at the festival and of course checked out the furry critters.

Churro sheep cross...
Angora goats...
Goats (not sure what breed)...

We watched sheep shearing with shears, no razor and marveled at the relatively few number of cuts on the sheep after the fleece was removed. What HARD WORK.

Perusing the wares....quite incredible really - so many vendors with fiber products that began as fur on their animals then sheared off, skirted, carded, spun, woven &/or dyed and sold. These hand arts that make up the rich history of our past are such an important piece of our present and future.

We chatted for a while with the Navajo woman pictured in the photo below. She is one of two families on the Navajo reservation that still make a living raising sheep. She spoke to us of the deep connection to the land and heritage this livelihood brings to her and of her desire to inspire young Navajo to find interest in these traditions. She has a standing offer for youth in her area to come spend a week with her and learn traditional Navajo weaving for free. She has yet to have any takers. You can read more about here here.

Her roving and yarn come from the Churro sheep they raise.

Her mother gathered the Navajo Tea or Cota pictured below, which we purchased for drinking and for wool dyeing. This plant has medicinal properties making it good for many ailments and will yield a yellow dye when mordanted with alum.

Other plant dyes...
Community events that inspire creativity and pride in heritage are so worthwhile to attend!


  1. wow. looks wonderful. i'm jealous. i love those sheep!!! so glad you two had a chance to get away and enjoy this.

  2. Thanks for the mini vacations and learning about New Mexico while living in Indiana.


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