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The Adventures of two Fibre Artists.



Contributing Artists

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Crispin Proud Neck

Every year for the past 6 or so, I look forward, with great anticipation to a trip to Asheville, for two special reasons, colours and fibre. The last weekend in October, when God's glory is evident in the colours of his creation the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair takes place in Asheville NC. The view alone is worth the trip. The trees are out in their most colourful dress which lends to a normally mundane 2 hours inside a car, something I usually dread and find most painful, a fuel for creativity. The mountains in all their glory distract me from the pain, and the excitement of gathering with other fibre enthusiasts and their fibre animals finds me all but enjoying a most physically unenjoyable ride. Unfortunately for EM, who was driving, it was raining, which did not make the drive for her very pleasant. Still we were all smiles the closer we got and forgot all about the negative components of the trip once we arrived.

I had been saving, a good part of the year, for my planned purchases. Living in the south we are hard pressed to find natural fibre sold in local stores let alone spinning and weaving supplies. So once a year we get to participate in a fair where fibre vendors from all over the nation sell their wares.

Over the years I have pretty much stocked up on the essentials for my various crafts but I always enjoy finding good buys on natural fibres in various stages of needs, from raw to spun and dyed. Beside the odd tapestry beater to replace the one dropped and broken during the demonstration at our local State Fair, and the occasional good deal on spun dyed linen and or wool my favorite purchase was Crispin.

Since I had to give up my spinner's herd of angora goats, earlier this year due to my concerns over shearing them with my physical limitations, which was making it harder over the years as the goats put on more weight and my back pain worsened, I thought I might try a smaller fibre animal. I decided on English angora rabbits. I had enjoyed house rabbits as a teen and a young woman, so beside the obvious concern that their long fibre would need addressing, I feel confident that I should be able to create a healthy environment for them. I decided to start with one, get the feel for how many I would physically be able to manage and also to afford more time for bonding and training him to sit still while I brushed to harvest his fibre.

I came home with a 4 month old chestnut buck. We are slowly getting to know each other. He has so much more to get familiar with than I obviously, especially with the other furbabies in the house, namely Mika our 14 year old dog, the queen of all she surveys, and Kiki, my lovable male cat who is such a sweetheart I just knew there would be no problem with him. I named the little guy Crispin then later gave him the rest of his name "Proud Neck" as he has a habit of posturing, as most rabbits do when they are ignoring you, by sitting with his back to me he won't even turn his neck to glance in my direction as if to say he has no use for me and the horrid brush. Still I feel sure as time goes on and expectations are realized, boundaries are set and wills have been broken :-) we will all get along just fine.
My patron saint, St. Melangell, left Ireland fleeing an arranged marriage and to devote her life to God. She was found praying in a field by a hunter and his dogs as they chased a rabbit, seeking shelter in the folds of her dress. The dogs would not approach, even with coaxing from the hunter. When questioned she explained that she had lived as a hermit for 15 years devoting her life to God and when it became evident to the hunter, who owned the land, that she was committed to God, he gave her a piece of his property to build a monastery. I have asked St. Melangell, who's churches in Wales include rabbit sanctuaries on the grounds, for help in understanding Crispin's needs so I will have some expert guidance.



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