Labor Day, the first Monday of September, is a celebration of the American worker. Although the holiday is often associated with organized labor, to me it is a time to recognize those individuals who roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty making things happen in unison with others.
Yep, Labor Day is another of those days that cause me to reflect. Sandy and I have been getting ready for our biggest show of the year, the Western Design Conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Sept., 10-13, 2015. As well as a selling opportunity, WDC is an event where many varieties of creativity are celebrated and recognized. As we inventory our fabric creations and apparel, we talk about all the individuals whose hard work makes the finished product possible. Individual labor in unison with others for the greater good.
For us, it all starts with the alpacas and the annual clip that makes all this possible. We could not run both businesses (Whispering Spirit Alpacas and Whispirit) without Danita Coulter, who provides the daily loving care to the alpacas. Peter Connelly of Shorn is the professional shearer who arrives annually in May. All of our friends and neighbors who volunteer to the shearing process (Stella & Harold Evensen, Kris & Bob Staten, Cathy & Chuck McManus, Kelly Koepke, Gretchen Doyle and Heather, Chris & Emily Briggs) help us gather our harvest.
After harvesting, the clip is sent to mills who work with our specifications to create the batts from which we create our fabrics. Fiber milling is dark and lonely work. These are small mom & pop, plus maybe a couple of other workers, operations. Thank you Chuck Armstrong of Evergreen Fiber Mill, Sally & Jay Brandon of The Shepard’s Fiber Mill, Terri Stramba of Stramba Farm Mill and Lyn Riffel of Wild West Fiber Mill.
Our fabric creations are born on the FeltLOOM. Thank you Don Bowles & Lanette Freitag for inventing that wonderful machine. This machine was the missing link in Sandy’s envisioning of making drapeable fabric out our alpaca; we use it every day and it is a mule.
The garment construction and finish sewing is completed by Heather Briggs, an independent seamstress, or Sara Tafoya of Sew Whateva. Many other have played roles in helping us learn to construct garments, too numerous to name.
We have not named the numerous people who help us with bringing these creative items to market. That will be its own blog. But, you know who you are and know we appreciate your labors on our behalf especially on this Labor Day.
Sandy and I hope that each of you will find enormous pride in your individual labor and creativity that is a unique and an integral part of our finished product.
Happy Labor Day to all ……… until next week …………. Lee