When you come to number 27 on your Shoreline ArtsTrail map, you may wonder why you’re visiting a farm. Wildwood Farm in Madison is the home and studio of fiber artist Laura Lyons, whose art and inspiration come from the farm’s main inhabitants — her sheep.
“I bought this property in 1974,” she explains. “Slowly over the years my husband and I built housing and a large barn, garage, and studio complex. We also picked up a variety of animals and started a flower farm. Ten years ago, we added the sheep.”
The sheep provide Laura with a massive amount of wool. “I have always loved to make things,” she says. “Over the years, I’ve worked with metal, woods, fiber, glass, and ferro cement. Using my own wool was a natural addition to the mix.”
“I’ve learned to skirt, wash, pick, card, spin, dye, weave, and needle-felt the wool to create wall hangings, carpetbags, and assorted animals.” More recently, she’s taken up weaving Celtic jackets on a tri-loom.
Laura’s quick to tell you she’s in love with wool. “It’s an incredible material with limitless sculptural potential! It can be combined with other materials, including glass, wood, and copper.”
“This art form makes me feel connected to ancient techniques and a very basic, low-tech way of life. The calm, gentle, and productive nature of the sheep is my perfect inspiration.”
Laura’s studio at Wildwood Farm has expanded to include a number of creative events including yarn spinning, crocheting, dying, and felting. She recently hosted a Shamanic Painting workshop by ArtsTrail member Catherine Steinberg, as well as meetings of local quilters led by ArtsTrail member Diane Wright. Dayna Mankowski, SAT’s Publicity Co-Chair, organizes most of the fiber events on the farm.
Laura and all of her efforts at Wildwood Farm were recently featured in an article by Spin Artiste. Check it out here.
You can more of Laura’s work online at her Etsy shop, but be sure to find your way to Wildwood Farm during the Shoreline ArtsTrail Open Studios Weekend, November 22-23, 2014. This year, she’s sharing space with Alice Chittenden, Susan Gillie, and Diane Wright.
For more information, visit www.shorelineartstrail.com.
Click here to read more Shoreline Arts Trail member artist profiles.
- by Jen Payne, Words by Jen