The olive oil farm where I stayed.
From the location (I stayed on an olive oil farm in the hills of Umbria), the class itself (Claudy was so awesome!) to the FOOD.....it was such an experience. And speaking of food. Ohhhhh, the food! Rita, who owns the place where I stayed and grows/makes her own olive oil, cooked for us every night and man were we spoiled! Handmade ravioli, rabbit one night, quiches and homemade desserts. I could go on, but I can see that you're drooling.
The workshop was held amongst the trees of a peaceful retreat in the Umbrian hills. We were given a huge amount of beautiful wool to work with - from hand dyed wensleydale to a whole fleece from one of Claudy's sheep in the Netherlands called Drenth Heath. I had never worked with a raw fleece before and this alone set the whole tone of the class - to work with the wool, allowing for experimentation and to not pay so much attention to technique. This was definitely a challenge for me! I do like to experiment but I'm one that can stick too much to the rules at times, reading and re-reading all about felting techniques. It was funny because Claudy came by me more than once to say "Let it go now" and "You're done! Stop felting!" Thankfully she was such a kind person so her admonishments came with a grin and a laugh. It was inspiring and frustrating all at the same time. By the end of the week I focused a little more on the wool spinning and weaving (which we learned in the class) and less on the felting and didn't let myself feel too guilty about it.
Overall, the class was more than just a class for me. There were several "firsts". My first time traveling by myself and the first time taking an intensive workshop on felting. It's been well over a month since I've been back and my brain is starting to process everything that I took in. I'm ready to dive in!
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