Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fibers and Travel - A Welcome to Linda Cortright

Mmmmmmm, fibers.  The very name evokes a big basket full of rich softness that just begs you to plunge your hands in and mmmmm feel it's lovely softness.  Eyes closed, mind you!  And fibers come from more than just sheep: they come from alpaca, angora, and cashmere and even silkworms.  Of course, there's also quivet, and New Zealand possum, and dozens of other, local, animal fibers that have been with us for centuries.  Some domesticated, some wild, but all natural. 

And fiber enthusiasts enjoy them immensely.  Sometimes our enthusiasm encourages us to go a bit above and beyond on our budgets when we purchase them, and sometimes our love and enjoyment of fibers takes us to places we never thought we'd be.  One woman, Linda Cortright, found herself doing just that:  publishing Wild Fibers Magazine and dedicating her life to "honoring the heart of natural fibers; the animals and people, who typically lead very simple lives so millions may enjoy the fruits of their labor."  

In a year-end email to her Wild Fibers subscribers, Linda eloquently wrote how her life has changed since she began this journey:   

I have spent the past few weeks agonizing over two very different but nonetheless challenging dilemmas. What should I say in my year-end letter to all of you?  Followed by, should I really spend $65 on an electric chicken water heater?

You know, ten years ago I didn't have either of these problems. I had no magazine and I had no chickens. And then somehow life got complicated while I wasn't paying attention, and I think now is as good a time as any to look back and see just how much has changed.

Linda is principal photographer and writer for Wild Fibers.  Their “About Us” page describes them as "The National Geographic of Fibers" and I am hard-pressed to find a better description.  Really.  Their photographs of a local spinner using a drop spindle under a tree in a desert, or a large yak lying at ease on a mountain range DO grab the mind and the imagination, and make one wonder about the culture and the life of these herders, spinners, and their animals.  Linda herself owns a small herd of cashmere goats, she travels the world learning about natural fibers, the peoples who tend their flocks of fleecy animals and their communities, and then she travels some more to give lectures about what she's learned. 

So guess what?!  She's coming to Atlanta to talk to our city of fiber enthusiasts thanks to a "wild" question by Suzi Gough, President of Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance (SEFAA)!  Suzi thought that anyone who does so much traveling must come through ATL on a regular basis, since, after all, we have the busiest airport in the world, right?  Well, turns out Linda has only come through Atlanta once or twice on her travels, and she decided that adding Atlanta as a destination in and of itself was a worthy journey.  And we couldn't agree more! 

With the help of the Peachtree Handspinner's Guild (PHG), Linda is coming to Atlanta on Saturday, March 23rd to share her wisdom and travels and worldviews on fiber and the people who tend these animals, as well as her wicked sense of humor.  The talk will be held at the PHG meeting space: North Decatur Presbyterian Church, and PHG members will help with setup and refreshments and additional promotion.  They are also planning an open house beforehand in conjunction with their monthly meeting, in an effort to introduce folks to spinning and to their Guild.

Please plan to come and attend the lecture.  Even if you don't spin yourself, you certainly have  enthusiasm and appreciation for the fiber arts, and what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than learning about cultures and animals and fibers from around the world??  After all, our lives are "held together by one very long, long thread."

The fine print:

            Date:  Saturday, March 23rd

            Time:  4-6 pm.  Come early (anytime between 1 and 4 pm) and enjoy spinning and visiting with members of the Peachtree Handspinners Guild.  Stay after the presentation and enjoy light refreshments.  

            Location:  North Decatur Presbyterian Church, 611 Medlock Road, Decatur, GA 30033

            Cost:  $12 for SEFAA and PHG members; $14.50 for non-members

            Registration/Payment:  Please visit

PS  If you'd like to bring a munchie to share for the informal reception after Linda's talk, it will be appreciated by all!

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