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London-Wul is a fibre farm in New Brunswick Canada where animals are neither destroyed nor sold without exception. Also a national award winning shop and studio, London-Wul is home to textile artist Heidi Wulfraat.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

ON LONDON-WUL AND LIFE

Well, here I am back from the NS Rug Hookers AGM where I gave a wee talk at their luncheon.
It went just like this...


When first asked to speak with you today I was at odds as to what I might impart on such an established body of craftspeople who gracefully respect tradition, technique and training.

As an artist I am essentially self-taught and heedless to technicalities. Some might say sensitive yet rough.

As a business woman I am essentially self-taught, heedless to conformity. Some might say idealistic yet persistent.

And so, what I’m left with, perhaps the thing that I am most honestly able to speak about is following your instinct, being true to your heart and breaking the rules from time to time.

For better and for worse this abandon has been my experience. It permeates my art, my animal care practices, my business, my life.

My background is in animal science, moreover in animal care. I came to the profession with the sincerity and devotion that youth has to offer. I quickly learned that passion and protocol are not necessarily a good marriage and on occasion, many occasions if the truth be known, I opted to follow my passion and break the rules.

The resulting conflict between a heartfelt dedication and a rigid corporate framework led me to the creation of London-Wul Fibre Arts
.... and for that I am thankful.

London-Wul is a business that intimately exposes a passion for community, art, animals and land. It is home to my own studio, a hand spinning museum, a gallery featuring Atlantic Canadian fibre artists, a retail fibre arts supply shop and a no-kill fibre farm.

In June 2005 I celebrated London-Wul’s newly developed Fibre Art Gallery with a hooked rug exhibition featuring the accomplished Doris Eaton.

An opening address was delivered by Deanne Fitzpatrick. The event was hugely attended and with these two strong and compelling artists in our presence I felt as though London-Wul had truly come to fruition.

In July 2005 London-Wul was named Canada’s Economusee (translated Artisans at work); interpretive centre of Hand spinning.

For the year 2005 and in this year 2006 London-Wul has been named one of Canada’s top emerging businesses in the tourism industry. London-Wul has welcomed visitors from all corners of the world to see first hand the preservation of a traditional trade.

The transition from security to the unknown was not a seamless one. There was hesitation and second guessing to be sure.

There were frantic computer breakdowns, late night lambings, mail orders gone missing, accounting woes, and no time for art.

I have, however, been very fortunate in my ignorance. In the not knowing of it all I was able to proceed as though this must normal. In the not knowing I began to create London-Wul.
And in the creation people began to respond.

London-Wul became its’ own being. It stood on its’ own. It fostered its’ own community. It followed its own path. Each person who embraced it did so from their own vantage.
It became my most accomplished work to date as it allowed me to continue to create.
It allowed me to view fibre art in the same light, to make art through intuition, trial and error, tradition and abandon, failure and successes.

London-Wul has taught me that sometimes less is more and that from play evolves great work.

I learned that a plan is only a suggestion as to the outcome.

I learned to cherish my hands, to care for them and protect them so that they may pull loop after loop and form stitch after stitch.

London-Wul taught me to respect my body for the physical work that it’s capable of.

I learned always to trust a Border Collies instinct and that the very best fleece has a name and character attached.

I learned that a circle of craftspeople who honor and inspire one another is far greater than the sum of its parts.

I learned that the best dye pots do not involve measurement and that Goldenrod is only a weed if you don’t appreciate the rich golden green wool that it affords.

I learned that great strength comes from admitting to weakness and you need only to be true to yourself in your art.

I learned that that teaching is one of the greatest gifts a person can give.

I learned that a person’s best work comes from the heart and is led by intuition.

….and all of this through one simple leap of faith.

One leap of faith, be it shifting your entire career path or ordering the intriguingly unknown entrée while at dinner tonight. One leap of faith big or small can lead to the most joyfully unexpected.

One of the pieces that I brought with me today is the first hooked rug that I ever produced. It was designed in the memory of my dog Farmer who is no longer. As I worked on it I was pained by the loss of a dear friend and at the same time thankful for every minute I was able to spend in its making.

Live in your work, love your work and when faced, in your work, with a leap of faith .... don’t hesitate.


Thank you.



...back to the London-Wul Homepage: www.thewoolworks.com
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