We’re thrilled to introduce a special guest today: Amy Higgins Stambaugh – the talented lady behind Woolcrush (@woolcrush). She’s kindly shared photos and stories about her beautiful Fibre Space. Be warned, you’re about to come down with a serious case of studio envy!
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you ended up in Fiber-Arts.
Knitting was my gateway drug. It was all about color and texture. Not to long after came spinning and then dyeing. Natural dyes came onto the scene in an active way about two years ago. I love how it pulls my years of experience gardening and cooking together in what feels like, an artistic expression. The entire process of natural dyeing and extracting color keeps me constantly engaged and curious. About 4 years ago my husband, kids and I moved just outside of our Missouri town onto our dream property. We’ve been working on gardens, maple sugaring and converting, and now running a guesthouse/retreat place on the property. Someday I hope to host knitting retreats and natural dye workshops.
Give us a brief history of your workspace/studio and how it has evolved over time.
My studio space is constantly changing. It takes so much time to bring the right pieces together to make a functional space while paying attention to aesthetics and balancing financial limitations. I decided on taking over the garage attached to our home, since it already had water and electric. I installed two large windows, with the help of my very handy carpenter brother, and that has brought the space along in a major way. I am also currently trying to reassemble and retrofit an old home brewing system that I inherited. This will allow me to dye large quantities of fiber and dye material just outside my studio. Of course the winter studio is in front of my fire, knitting needles in hand.
Can you give us a glimpse into a typical day in your studio?
The last month or so has been heavily focused on scouring the merino fleeces I bought from a local farmer. I have 85 pounds of raw, very greasy fleece to move through in hopes of sending it off to a mill to be made into yarn. This process has been humbling and a mix bag of emotions. One thing for certain is that I am definitely increasing my understanding of what goes in to making yarn and textiles. Every three or four days I allow myself to take a break from scouring and play with some color. I mostly dry dye plants in the summer months to have to work with in the fall and winter but sometimes I need that dye experience to keep me inspired.
Name a tool you cannot live without and why.
I’d say right now it would have to be my drying racks that my brother and I built earlier this spring. They were made from some scavenged bakery racks that we built wooden frames for. I love the function and beauty of these babies!
Is there a piece of equipment or fiber you own that is special to you? Can you tell us the story on how you acquired it?
I love my antique drying rack that I found at a local antique shop last summer. It’s beautiful and functional. It is made of wood and metal, a solid piece that could easily be repaired if it ever needed to be. I love that about antiques. Quality and intelligent design.
Can you give us a glimpse into your storage situation? (How you organize/store fiber or finished pieces).
Well, that would probably be embarrassing because organization isn’t my highest calling. My usual method is to keep as much out of site as possible except for my current color palette that I am working with. The challenge is remembering to put things away when I’m in the middle of my process. Someday I will have a truly functioning system but I think it will take a year or so of working in my space to give me a better sense of what needs to be where.
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