It took a long time and a lot of persuasion to convince Elaine that along with being a very capable crafter and rare breed animal breeder she is also a wonderfully creative fibre artist.
The early years found Elaine carding and spinning her own home grown wool and alpaca fibre and mohair and then knitting her fine yarn into a variety of sweaters, socks, scarves and gloves.
Being brought up on a small farm in the rural New Zealand of the mid 20th century Elaine learnt the habits and benefits of making the most of what you had and so she was determined that none of her wool or fibre was going to be wasted. Any wool or fibre not suitable for fine knits she used for felting.
Felting opened up a whole new world of creativity as she began to experiment with different textures and fibres and colours not only making wearable arts from exquisite vests to fashionable wraps and hats but also using needle felting to create cute creatures out of their own fibres and other creations from jewellery to kids soft toys.
With the growth of our rare breeds’ farm Elaine’s smorgasbord of fibre has grown as different breeds of sheep, goats, alpaca and rabbits have contributed their fleeces and fibres to her creative endeavours.
Elaine derives a great amount of pleasure when she is introducing her creations to our many guests and visitors and is able to point out to them the actual creature, usually by name that has donated to her crafty cause.
" How often, she says, " when you get back home from your holidays and you knit something up from the souvenir wool you bought, can you tell your loved ones the name of the animal it came from and then show them a picture of it.
In our increasingly busy high-tech world, Elaine has always chosen to use natural colours to work with. She has a beautiful palette to choose from here on the farm, alpacas’ come in 22 different shades for a start, let alone the variety produced from our flock of black and coloured sheep and arapawa and gotland pelt sheep.
In the last few years however, Elaine has been experimenting’ with using a variety of dyes to further enhance her work. Along with the large range of Ashfords dyes she also experiments with home grown ones from the likes of our walnuts, blackberries and anything interesting with potential from the tunnel house.
When Elaine can find a spare hour or so she has been developing her skills as a weaver which allows her another way to artistically express herself.
Living off the Farm provides a lovely lifestyle along with the animals and the arts and crafts, however it can be financially stressful and we are, particularly in the winter months looking at new income streams to allow us to continue our work. With this in mind Elaine has decided to offer her services to anyone who wants to work with her.
If you would like to learn a new craft or further develop the one you have or even just work on your own projects we are very happy to offer you a package whereby you can stay in the Barn and spend your time in crafty or artistic endeavours.contact Elaine