BEREA, Ky. (October 15, 2004) -- Elizabeth Ann Brown of Mt. Sterling, who raises antique breeds of sheep, will make beautiful braided rugs from their unusual wool fleeces on Friday, October 22, from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
Growing up in the town of Mt. Sterling, KY, 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 soon learned that the wool from each different rare breed, had very different characteristics - some being lustrous, some long and curly, and some with incredibly strong fibers. She learned how to spin, and with so much wool on hand began making braided rugs. Rug making has now become a full time occupation. After shearing her sheep in May, she washes the wool fleeces, sorts them and takes them 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.
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is located 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 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. The Center currently features works by more than 450 artisans from all across the Commonwealth. For more information call 859-985-5448 or visit the Center’s web site at kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Commerce Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
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