Meet Jo Storie.
She and I first met a couple of weeks ago, in Latvia, where she and her husband, Ian, own an alpaca farm.
But long before that, we started corresponding on social media. First, it was about some workshops she wanted me to help promote. Then, we started to knock around a few ideas that might involve me running a couple of feltmaking workshops on the farm in the summer.
Many, many conversations later, we had come up with a plan to offer a week of feltmaking and cultural activities in June 2017 to give visitors some insight into this little-known country.
Below is a photographic documentation of how our week went. A week of snow, animals, friendly people, wonderful food and, a little bit of magic.
Ieva Prane...mixed-media artist
Ergli...in the country
Griezites Alpakas...on the farm
Felting with this fleece has its own challenges, but I can assure you that the results are sumptuous. The week's programme incorporates three days on the farm, felting and embroidering amongst these wondrous beasts.
I like that.
I also like that the people we met had spirit, fire, creativity and a wealth of stories to tell.
Jo talked about the ethereal quality of the people...there is an element of magic about them. They are close to nature, they love to sing, they love to create and they love to laugh.
I am looking forward to working with them in June.
Marcis and the Moonshine Laboratory
The Porcelain factory
Mengeli...a family of musicians
Santa's cheese farm
Stories that take you to her childhood in Communist times which, as she said, did not strike her then as hard, as long as the family were together. She laughed loudest when she told us the story of painting the grass green when Gorbachev came to visit.