I don't know about you, but my thought process for grocery shopping is exhausting. And it's not only during the pandemic when one has to wait in line 6-feet apart before getting into a store or to compulsively refresh a computer screen in hopes to grab an available delivery time slot. I run a thorough analysis in my head every time I shop for food: organic vs. conventional; pricing comparison across stores; ingredients and nutritional values; whole foods vs. packaged; locally made vs. imported (organic veggies from China? Yep, read the fine print). By the time a list is narrowed down, millions of my brain cells are ready to hibernate. No matter the effort, the true connection to store-bought food is still hard to establish. While there is enough information available about the foods we consume, things about sources of other items we use and love can get obscure. How many of us know the "ingredients" of their well-loved comfy couches? Do we know what substance is used to make sheets wrinkle-free? Is it harmful to our health? And what about the wool of our favorite sweaters? Does this all even matter? It might not - unless we seek connection, authenticity, and meaning.
One of the journeys to connection and authenticity for me is the wool I use for my felted creations. The anticipation of opening bags of fleece that I pick up from a local farmer in early summer and having a pungent sheep smell embrace my face, transforming me into my childhood memories, where I, as a five-year-old child, tended to sheep on my grandparents' farm in a small village in Russia, is exhilarating. I get soaked into fragments of happy childhood moments: freshly dugout potatoes, a handmade curved fishing rod that never caught any fish, dark blue sky punctured by millions of flickering dots... The soft and sticky fleece that I gently unfold and lay out on a surface for airing out brings me back to presence. I rustle my fingers through the fluffy texture looking for dried plants and other debris and pick every piece out from tangled fibers. This process is called skirting. While I skirt, I often imagine the sheep's care-free roaming on the lands of Maine. I attempt to envision how an owner of this woolly bundle might look like. Though it almost doesn't matter because I know I'd love it anyway. Then the most intense process starts - soaking the fleece, hand washing it, and rinsing. This cycle may happen several times until the long hair strands become white, silky goodness. Wet fleece takes several days to dry as if it respectfully goes along with the process ensuring its lusciousness.
The energy that unveils during the fleece procuring and processing gets shared in every 3D feltie I create. If you own a Fuzzy Lovie, you know that you're holding a piece of the beautiful journey that has fostered connection, authenticity, and meaning.
I invite you to follow your journey of caring for your special things and holding them dear to your heart - if you haven't already. Maybe in the process, you will discover that the sweater you're wearing has a special meaning.