Saturday, February 21, 2009
Jennifer Heverly, Spirit Trail Fiberworks
1. What is your website?
2. Your Ravelry.com username?
3. Where are you located?
Located just outside of Sperryville, VA, near the Shenandoah National Park, about 1-1/2 hours southwest of Washington, DC.
4. What do you make?
I make lots of different handpainted yarns, handpainted combed top in a variety of fiber blends, and natural and dyed roving from rare and endangered sheep breeds from around the world.
5. Do you make fiber/yarn/etc. full-time?
I work pretty much full-time (as much as possible along with raising our 11 and 9 year olds and doing some accounting work for my husband's business).
6. How did you get into making stuff?
I've been knitting since I was 15 years old, and started spinning about 6 years ago. In college I majored in ceramics and fine arts for a while (before finally graduating with a degree in English Literature with a Concentration in the Romantic Poets ... very practical!) and had been wanting for a long time to do something more creative as a profession, rather than the commercial real estate I had been doing for over 10 years. I took several dye workshops in late 2002, and it was like a lightbulb (or an explosion) went off in my head: this was what I knew I wanted to do. And so I did. In the process of becoming a spinning addict, I started researching different types of fiber and found so many different sheep breeds, many rare or significantly endangered, that I decided to make rare and endangered breeds the focus of the fiber portion of my business. I especially love getting a hold of fleece from an endangered breed that I've had a hard time finding ... most recently, I was able to get some Arapawa from New Zealand, and Hog Island from here in Virginia. Very cool!
7. How long have you been doing this?
I started Spirit Trail Fiberworks in early 2003.
8. Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration really is everywhere! The colors of the natural world (and I'm lucky to live where I do, right near the Shenandoah National Park, in a very beautiful and rural part of Virginia) can be really inspiring. Sometimes just thinking of an image or an emotion while I'm dyeing will inspire new or different color combinations. Sometimes I just let the colors flow in a very organic and stream-of-consciousness sort of way, which is alot of fun, too. And sometimes my own mood will inspire a color combination. I also get a whole lot of inspiration from the farmers around the world who raise rare and endangered breed sheep. It is such a labor of love, and hard not to be inspired by their love and dedication to saving these breeds from extinction.
9. Any funny stories, words of wisdom, something else to share about you or your business?
Words of wisdom: I think Julia Child said it best: "Find something you're passionate about, and keep tremendously interested in it." Doing something which feeds your soul is so important, even if it's only part time, evenings or weekends. Finding new and different fibers, experimenting with color and texture, never cease to interest and excite me.
Jennifer was with us in 2008 too. You can read her bio here!