Hello Maddabling Readers, welcome to a new edition of Friday Friends! Have you had a good week? What have you been creating? I am super excited to introduce you to all a new Friday Friend and West Australian Maker; meet the lovely Nichelle of Fox Hill Llamas.
I don't think I have ever featured a maker that has such a diverse range of products as Nichelle creates. I just LOVE her work. The first thing that caught my eye was this Native Bird Nester in the shape of a Wire Bird. These help to invite native birds into your garden around nesting time, and give them natural warm and water repellent fibres to build their nests with. So cool! I think this would make a fantastic addition to our developing native garden :)Then I saw this. For the crafty people in your life, these Make Your Own Cards and Bookmarks with Handmade Recycled Paper packs would make a perfect gift - or maybe you could keep them for yourself.
Lastly, I spotted this pretty lady while browsing the Fox Hill Llamas Etsy store. For a totally different gift, why not take home a Little Llama Decorated with Tassels, they are just like the Llamas of Fox Hill!
Dear readers, I invite you now to read all about The Fibre of Fox Hill Llamas. Maddabling wishes you a wonderful weekend, whatever you are doing xo♥ The Weekend blog post will be returning this week - look out for a new recipe!
The Fibre of Fox Hill Llamas
Who is Fox Hill Llamas? Fox Hill Llamas consists of myself (Nichelle), my husband Trev, three daughters and of course a magnificent herd of llamas! I am the cause of creative chaos at our place, the maker of our fibre products and handmade papers.Fox Hill is quietly hidden away in picturesque Marradong Country in the South West of Western Australia. Our property is a rough and tumble granite hill and the perfect addition to this property was llamas, with their gentle tread and love of heights. While we have been always been delighted at their quiet curiosity and playful nature, we saw so much more in these enchanting animals.
Having loved these animals since I was a child and wishing to find a truly sustainable reason to farm them gave me a great incentive to look beyond their value as a companion. In our first years of sharing our lives with llamas, we would store our shorn fibre, considering the ways in which it could be really admired and utilised. I wanted the natural beauty of llama to be displayed for many to see, so I began to look for inspiration and knowledge on how to turn my ideas into a reality. Using the internet as my guide and the ideas in my mind I began our adventure!
What inspires me? I am inspired by the beauty of our location and our gentle animals. I hope that the handmade items that I create enable this to be shared with others. I believe everything has worth, when something is deemed 'worthless' it is just waiting for someone to think of a way to add value to it :) I wish for my children to see that an idea can become a reality. That anything is possible if you commit and are willing to work to achieve it. Our Etsy store opened at the start of this year.
What mediums do I work with, what are my favourites?
Llama Fibre and recycled paper. I sway between both in regards to favourites. Fibre processing and felting is hard work and can be a challenge. I find paper making is very calming and relaxing, so it depends on how I am feeling as to which one I prefer on any day!
What kind of things do I make? Decorator items from llama fibre, vessels, area rugs, native bird nesters, handmade paper, llama poo paper.
Paper making - the hand dip method .. hands down!
Creating items with fibre from the animals we have raised is a fun, challenging and dusty process! These products are truly home grown and handmade from start to finish. We even shear our own llamas. Every one of our animals has an uniquely individual fibre.. as micron, fibre length and guard hair all vary. (Some of the llamas in our herd had never been shorn until they came to us.) This individuality makes me aspire to ensure that all our llama fibre pieces also have individuality, with most pieces being 'one of a kind'. As no two llamas can ever be same, neither should their fibre creations be the same!
Colours depend on the natural colours of our animals. Using the llamas and our beautiful location as inspiration and the many materials for my creations has been very rewarding process. In the last year, I'm happy to say that we've built a product range that includes all of the fibre our animals produce with nothing going to waste. We even include our llama fibre and manure in our handmade paper range. Shearing, fibre tumbling, picking, carding and creating mostly takes place outside with our llamas looking on. The young animals are often a distraction, but I'd very much miss their playful interruptions.
Handmade Recycled Paper... Paper-making has been a part of my life since I was a child. My mother has had many a laundry sink overflow as a result of my paper-making endeavours blocking her drains! I love to use recycled paper and botanicals sourced from our property in my paper. Much of the paper is custom ordered for weddings and made to suit the occasion. We source shredded office paper to make all our recycled paper products.
As I am always looking for something new and interesting to do, our Llama Poo Paper is the result of merging my love of paper-making and our llama products. We have a lot of fun with the concept and making of our llama poo paper and it has been funny watching some reactions to this item. The manure is sanitised before it is used in the paper-making process and then the paper is sun and/or air dried. I love the uniqueness of every piece of paper and the variance of all handmade items.
My favourite piece? That is a difficult question! I love the concept behind our bird nesters. While not an overly creative item, I love that this is a traditional waste product that is reinvented. These are made from picked llama fibre that is left over from our processing and shearing. To see how excited someone is when they see a bird collecting fibre from a nester is rewarding. Providing a way to connect someone with their environment and the animals we share it with is valuable to me. The story of our Llama Fibre Bird Nesters is here: http://foxhillllamas.wix.com/foxhill#!lifestyle/c14ak
What are my future plans and dreams? I am on a mission to share the beauty of llama fibre with as many people as possible :) I would love to be able to provide work to our community in the future. To share the art of recycling paper with local children.
We were featured in the Temple and Webster 'Raw and Natural' Handmade Markets earlier this month. There will be new vessels and llama fibre rugs in our store soon. I am also working on an collection of rugs and soft furnishings made from local alpaca fibre.
Dear readers, do you want to see more? Here is how you can connect:
Buy lovely things on Etsy here:
Become a facebook follower here:
Visit the Fox Hill Llamas website here:
and follow sweet tweets on Twitter here: