Monday, March 25, 2013

A Wild Sheep Chase

FYI - The title of this post is stolen from a Haruki Murakami book.  I'll try to make it up to him with this little blurb - A Wild Sheep Chase is an excellent read.  In fact, I've liked all the books by Mr. Murakami that I've read.  If you're into fantastic realism but don't want to spent a month trying to read One Hundred Years of Solitude, I suggest a Haruki Murakami novel.  I particularly liked South of the Border, West of the Sun.  Anywho.
I decided before I came to Mongolia that this would be a GREAT place to do felting with students.  As a teacher, of course I believe in multiculturalism, but I also believe in preserving and cherishing my students' own cultures.  To that end, I've been looking for someone selling wool since the beginning of the year.  I was starting to believe I was going to have to buy raw fleece and REALLY teach the kids about wool and felting when I turned the project over to our office Wonder Woman.  She made a few calls and found me a wool supplier.  Ironically, they are the people who supply the Tsagaan Alt Wool Shop, which is one of the places I went, asking if they sold wool.
The lady in charge told me a little more about their programs.  Her English was great, and she's been all over the world teaching about felting.  I'm hoping I might be able to get her to do a workshop for me - I wouldn't actually mind having the students clean and dye the wool, if I knew a little more about it myself.  She took me to their storage room (a few blocks west of the office/workshop) and we got a kilogram of white wool and a variety of other colors.  I'm going to start with my ninth-graders, having them felt a small wall hanging of white, with a design they will create on top.  She asked if we had carders, and I said we didn't, so for a small fee, she helped me card my wool.  Let me tell you, carding a kilo of wool is hard work!  The workshop was awesome, equipped with enough spinning wheels to make Sleeping Beauty nervous.  I'm excited to be able to do more with my kids.
I was supposed to meet the girls for - get this! - Sleeping Beauty at the ballet that night, so I decided to walk back, stopping at Namaste for some Indian for lunch.  I took a detour next to Sky Department store to walk across a footbridge, and along the way found out where ice sculptures go to die.  Some of them were actually recognizable, but most of them were featureless by this point. 

1 comment:

  1. Ok Becky, now you are talking...wool I mean. I hope to see some pictures of the felting that your students do. If you have little kids, 7 or so, they might like to make balls by putting wool into a glass jar with a lid, some warm soapy water, and then shake the jar for a while, they can pass them around if you are in a circle, take the soggy wool out for a bit and roll it between your palms, then put back into jar and shake it some more. It will turn into a nice round ball after not too long. Have fun! Oh by the way, I love the carder! Barb