Kentucky Artisan Center
Raising Rare Sheep – Creating With Wool -Elizabeth Brown Braids Rare Sheep Fleece into Fine Wool Rugs
On Friday, November 7, Elizabeth Ann Brown of Mt. Sterling will demonstrate the different wool processes used to create wool braided rugs. Brown will braid the many colored wools harvested from her flock of rare breed Leicester Longwool and Karakul sheep from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
Growing up in the town of Mt. Sterling, Elizabeth Ann Brown was always fascinated by sheep. In 1984 she and her husband moved to their 125 acre farm on Grassy Lick Road and began raising sheep. She now tends a flock of 70, including the seven rare breeds of Dorset, Lincoln, English Leicester Longwool, Rambouillet, Karakul and Border Leicester. The fleeces from each breed have a variety of colors and textures – from pale gray, dark gray and soft brown to creamy white. Once common on American farms, these breeds are “rare” meaning that today there are fewer than 1,000 registered in North America and fewer that 5,000 worldwide.
Elizabeth Brown learned how to spin, and with so much wool on hand, she began making braided rugs, now a full time occupation for her. After shearing her sheep in May, Elizabeth washes and sorts her wool fleeces. She takes her fleeces to a woolen mill to be cut into un-spun strips called roving. She then dyes this wool roving using natural dyes she creates from plants growing on her farm. The dyed wool roving is then braided and sewn to make one-of-a-kind, warm and woolly rugs.
Works by Elizabeth Ann Brown are regularly featured at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, located at 975 Walnut Meadow Road, just off Interstate 75 at exit 77 (Berea). The Center’s exhibits, shopping, and travel information areas are all open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the café from 8 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Admission is free. The Center currently features works by more than 650 artisans from 100 counties across the Commonwealth. For more information call 859-985-5448 or visit the Center’s web site www.kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet