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PO Box 414
Tracy City, TN 37387
USA

A FIRST HAND INTRODUCTION INTO THE WORLD OF RAISING FIBER ANIMALS, SPINNING, WEAVING, AND NATURAL DYEING.

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Filtering by Tag: sustainable textiles

Farm Tours: Hands-On Sustainable Textile Education

Kacie Hodges

One of my favorite aspects about living on a farm is the opportunity to share its magic with visitors, especially children. Over the past three years I have had the honor of hosting all sorts of folks, yet school groups remain a constant source of inspiration and motivation for designing new programs and building the infrastructure to support them.

Normal Park Museum Magnet 3rd grade  11.17

Normal Park Museum Magnet 3rd grade  11.17

My humble farm measures a little over 3 acres; within those boundaries lies an extraordinary amount of hands-on experiences. First and foremost, everyone's favorite (and mine too) is hanging out with the resident critters. Most of the herd is standoffish unless there is food involved. Then we have Mrs. Brown.

 St. Andrew's Sewanee High School 2.18

 St. Andrew's Sewanee High School 2.18

Piece by piece, I am tackling projects around the farm in order to create a layout that is most conducive to welcoming guests by offering a safe learning environment for all ages.

[Happy to report that the patchwork chain link fence in the background of the photo below has finally been removed, hallelujah!]

Nashville Waldorf | Home school  5.16

Nashville Waldorf | Home school  5.16

One of the best parts of the farm isn't visible from the road or the back yard. Tucked away on the back corner of the farm, a grove of Hemlocks + Pine Trees is surrounded by two creeks that wind along the edge of the property, and eventually meet to form a tiny peninsula.

A footpath has been carved along this hidden gem of woodland; all farm tour attendees are invited to enjoy a stroll.

Into the woods, 11.17

Into the woods, 11.17

Along the path guests will find a stack of White Oak Logs that have been inoculated with Shiitake spores. Depending on the weather there could be a flush of edible mushrooms.

Inspecting the Shiitake Logs 11.17

Inspecting the Shiitake Logs 11.17

Shiitake Specimen 11.17

Shiitake Specimen 11.17

This small patch of wooded area offers a multitude of learning opportunities which we have just begun to explore, although Woodland Weaving has quickly become a favorite theme.

Last Autumn a group of roughly 100 3rd graders had the opportunity to take a walk in the woods and contribute to a community weaving project using scrap fabric + natural elements. This unique collaborative project has inspired the practice of woodland weaving to be included in more workshops and gatherings here at the farm.

Every spring the resident alpacas receive their annual haircuts, yielding several different qualities of fiber with a variety of end uses. In order to make the most of each year's harvest, I tend to stick to a system that utilizes all the fiber from my humble herd of 8 with minimal waste.

The first cuts / prime fiber is carded + spun into yarn, that will be woven into scarves and knit / crocheted into hats. The seconds are combined with other fiber (usually some type of wool) and are spun / dyed to be used as accents in scarves, hats, and woven tapestries.

The thirds are reserved for felting projects + farm tours.

[image via neafp.com]

[image via neafp.com]

The idea of utilizing the thirds was gleaned from a conversation I had while visiting with my alpaca gurus, Bill + Sherry Watkins. Sherry told me to sandwich the fiber in between two layers of tarps. After spraying the fiber with soapy water I was to let the kids burn off some energy by jumping on the tarp, thus turning the fiber below their feet into felt.

Genius.

So that's exactly what we did.

After several rounds of these felting episodes, we have managed to put together a series of art pieces created from the collaborative effort of a bunch of stomping people + a few repurposed resources.

These felted panels were created using a combination of alpaca 3rds + various colors of naturally-dyed wool from my neighbor's sheep. Once the student masterpieces had dried, I needle felted them together onto cotton twill fabric, then stapled the fabric around a couple pieces of recycled plywood. These types of collaborative projects are always evolving as various materials become available. I just so happened to score the plywood from my neighbor who was tearing down an old tree house and had saved the flooring.

I am grateful for this extremely fruitful plot of land, which has allowed me to host groups of all types. If you are interested in visiting the farm, please feel free to get in touch and let's plan an experience catered to your group's interests.

SAS creekside hike 2.18

SAS creekside hike 2.18

[image via Chandler Sowden: Learning Lab, Tracy City Elementary 5.16]

[image via Chandler Sowden: Learning Lab, Tracy City Elementary 5.16]

Snack Time  11.17

Snack Time  11.17

Alpaca Picnic! 11.17

Alpaca Picnic! 11.17

[ Please contact: kacie@fiberfarm.net / 423.280.4004 to schedule a tour. ]

The Beginning of A New Chapter

Kacie Hodges

Welcome to the farm. This beautiful little homestead, nestled atop Monteagle Mountain, is the culmination of years of hard work that began long before I was born.  The original deed dates back to August, 1860.

Fiber Farm (2 of 18).jpg

This plot of land has been handed down to members of the Payne family throughout the years until I had the honor of purchasing it last December.
 The history of this place is slowly revealing itself as I work to restore it into the working farm it once was many years ago.

Fiber Farm (12 of 18).jpg

My goal for this farm is to be a gathering spot for folks of all ages to see a variety of animals and gain a glimpse into life on a working fiber farm. 

My wish is for this to become a place for people to meet, share ideas, good food, and lasting memories.

A place to spark ideas and make things happen.

This is not a lone journey.

There is no way any of this could have been possible without the help, encouragement, character building opportunities, and advice of family, friends, neighbors, and ex-partners.

I would never be here without each and every one of you.

And for that I express my endless gratitude.

 

I believe that we are here to make a difference.

I believe that it is important to see where our clothes come from, and to provide a glimpse into the world of farming, hard work, and living in harmony with Mother Nature.

Cheers to hard work, dedication, and living life with a purpose.