Have You Any Wool?
This project was created by Matter of Trust, founder Lisa Gautier in 1998, a non-profit program. Their Matter of Trust Eco-Industrial Hub is in the heart of San Francisco. Their goal is to promote local waste fiber collection and situate felting stations wherever there are harbors, rivers, bays, or simple storm drains. They have decades of research on the benefits of hair mats over the use of synthetics. The mats are made of human hair, dog clippings from groomers, and llama/alpaca fiber.
You can go to Matter of Trust’s website and view their clean wave program on hair mats. www.matteroftrust.org.
Matter of Trust sent out 3 needle felting machines, 2 of which went to Nina in Petaluma, CA and to baxter in Kerrville, TX. The machines belong to MOT but Nina & baxter are allowed to use them to get the project started. The 5 yr long-range plan is to have the felting machines near the source of the fiber in order to lower the carbon footprint of transport. The plan is to raise funds for llama rescue as well as use waste fiber for environmental improvements. We are trying to collect fiber locally rather than send it cross country. If you will drive from your ranch to baxter, notify any ranch along the way that on this date you are driving their way and ask if they can get a collection of area ranches together. Or drop off along the way, so that each ranch only has a certain distance to drive.
Fiber can be any length. If you can, separate primary/ blanket cuts in bags, and secondary and leg/neck cuts in another bag. Please shear on a clean surface, no hard debris like toenail clippings, poop, insects, sticks, rocks, burrs, garbage or anything that could break a needle. If you blow out the animal first it is better for your blades and gets rid of a lot of debris. You do not have to wash it. If it is really matted it cannot be used as it won’t go through the machine. We appreciate the sorting of fiber because if you don’t do it, we have to do it and we don’t have help at this stage.
Any length fiber is fine at this stage. The cleaner the better. The first pass or scrim through the machine uses fiber 3 inches or longer as it forms the outside which is 24" wide. Then it is folded like a burrito with lofty shorter wool placed inside the folded scrim to be 12" wide. Right now we are making 12" by 24" mats. Longer may happen later.
The mats are designed to specifics and for special purposes. They are not being made to sell to the public. The hope is through government contracts that Matter of Trust arranges, funding can come into SWLR as well increased awareness of the organization. If you have really nice fiber and want it felted, there are mills that can do that for you. If you have fiber that you will not be using and want to donate it to a great cause and organization, contact baxter. Please help baxter in any way you can with llama rescue, training llamas, donating fiber, picking up fiber, sorting fiber, helping with the felting, ranch chores. She would appreciate anything. And of course, donations are always appreciated to SWLR.
Besides the great benefit of a recycled use of fiber, it keeps the fiber out of the landfill or from polluting the air if it is burned. And you are donating to a non-profit…an all- around feel good project.