I’ve been cajoling myself for obsessing just a little too much about fibre, …and knitting.. and fibre..
and NOT drawing and painting.
Just as I’m settling down to paint the withering skunk cabbage that’s been banished to the kitchen porch, and have all my pastels out and my golden yellows smudging my fingers, – a call comes in for me to pick up three bags full of alpaca fibre from one of our Spinning and Weaving Guild members that has been generously offered for our members to share.
Well. It was A Perfect Day for a quick diversion with Spring in full bloom…
and full feather! ….
Immediately, on my arrival to the farm, the alpacas were back staged. I was greeted at Belle Cria Farm’s gate by Judy and some of her beloved farm animals. First, wandering distractedly up the drive was the fair Joanna, a heritage white turkey hen in very determined broody mood. She had just emerged from deep in the salal bushes where she’s been fussing with her nest. She was completely white with an odd tuft of bristly things sprouting from her breast feathers that looked like the remains of a barbeque brush. And then from the wings and the motley ranks of bantams and barn cats, came the reason for her distraction. – The Señor, strutting and posturing to command the spotlight with his magnificent outspread black plumage. He is a Black Spanish turkey – a heritage breed that harks back to the first turkeys brought to America by the explorers. I was imagining Columbus’s stout brave little ship Pinta as I watched this puffed out Tom in full sail sashay imperiously over to Joanna.
Judy told me that he was new at all this, and praised him and cheered them on, while the barn cats and bantams scattered. He seemed perfectly adept to me.
The rest, as they say, is history.
My skunk cabbages have paled next to these creatures. As I watched, I wanted to paint them. They need to be painted. The amazing wattled and snooded visage glowing red and blue like the face of a Mandrill baboon. The wan Joanna. The drama, the humble eternal rites of spring brazenly played out in the sunlit driveway.
Here’s my first sketch.
I grew up on a small farm with fowl and goats and a pig and highland cattle … and artist parents.
My Mother was a great hand with a charcoal stick.
As I wended my way home with alpaca fibre stuffed to the ceiling of my little Jetta, and schemed of spinning and knitting, I came back to that and resolved, YES, to draw and paint, AND spin and weave and knit.
These are pottery buttons that my Mother made over sixty years ago. Now don’t you think the turkeys would need to be part of that fibre creation!