Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I am so glad that I have had to opportunity to get to know Natalie Redding of Namaste Farms. She is an incredible artist, and can be found on facebook as Namaste Farms. In my secret "Walter Mitty" life, I would be doing what she does. But, as it stands, I will be buying her yarns, and making my items from it. That, in itself is a dream come true. You can visit her farm on line by clicking on the title of this post, or you can see some of her yarns by copying and pasting this link into your url http://www.yarnmarket.com/knitting/Namaste_Farms-873.html
Natalie, you knit, spin your own wool, and breed your own sheep and goats. What brought you to the world of breeding?
I am an Animal Scientist with a B.S. and M.S. from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I have a deep affection and love of animals. Unlike many fiber fanatics, I started with the animals, and then fell in love with the fleeces.
Oddly enough, I learned to trim feet, and shear (and everything relating to flock management) before I ever spun a skein. I actually did not learn about fleece sheep in school...only meat breeds. I purchased Wensleydale Longwools quite by accident. It was then that my love affair with fiber began.
You are truly a made in America artisan from start to finish. What is your business philosophy?
I am a terrible business person. I would give everything away if left to myself. If it were not for Deborah at http://www.yarnmarket.com I would not have near the success I do. I mean this sincerely. She keeps me on track and has a lot of patience for my artistic idiosyncrasies. Her mantra to me is, "Make whatever you want and we will sell it." It is pretty hard not to be successful with a company that embraces everything you do.
Your sheep and goats have won show awards. Why are so exceptional?
My husband and I came from owning Thoroughbred racehorses. Conformational principles are very similar within animal species. This made it very easy to choose animals that were structurally sound. When it came to figuring out great fleeces; we ALL know, it is in the handle. How good does this fleece feel? I definitely had some help from experts in the beginning; the rest was having a very good tactile sense. My biggest mentor is Sharon Chestnutt (Cloudspun Farm). She is a very well known Angora Goat breeder and is a dear friend to this day. She was great at pointing me in the right direction and teaching me the basics.
You have recently become a certified member of the Cherokee nation. Would you share your journey in achieving this goal?
I recently was granted my tribal membership to Cherokee Nation. My children are also tribal members and it makes me feel so complete. My grandfather was a Cherokee and lived in Oklahoma. He died in the late 1970's from a self inflected gunshot wound and his entire legacy was not well regarded by my family. Because of this, I wasn't even aware that I was 1/4 Cherokee until the 1980's.
About 4 years ago my friend's mother (a Lenape Indian) told me I should enroll with Cherokee Nation. I found my grandfathers name on the Dawes roll and began the process.
Seriously, it was seemingly endless paperwork, but as of Dec. 21st, I am a full fledged member of Cherokee Nation. It is so funny that it made me feel so purposed. It also feels like my love of animals, agriculture and nature is truly in my blood.
How would you like to impact home-grown business in America?
I really want people to understand how important it is to appreciate farming and the importance of fiber arts. I have met so many amazing artists doing crafts I did not even know existed. I don't think the general public realizes how much time and effort goes into these arts. Much of this is because the US has relied on imported crafts and goods. I feel like this trend is starting to shift and American made goods and services are making a comeback. That's a fantastic thing.
Drop by and get to know Natalie and her products. They are made in America from American sheep and goats.