Fabric Art: Sheep to Chic

Natasha Lehrer Lewis is a fiber artist, entrepreneur, and shepherd. She will visit the library February 12 to talk about her family's move from the suburbs to a farm. She will also demonstrate her process for creating fiber art.

Natasha’s interest in fiber art began when she was just 12 years old. It was then that she and her family moved from the Chicago suburbs to a farm in rural Illinois. “I'd always been a crafty kid, being creative, and loved working with my hands,” Natasha says. She is self taught in her craft and believes that her work grew as she explored new things.

Natasha describes her family’s decision to move to the farm as divinely inspired. “It was really a life change that neither of my parents had planned, but it has been an amazing two decades since then.” There was plenty of hard work on the farm but that work taught Natasha and her family important lessons in thrift, resourcefulness, and creativity. It instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in them as well. "These values shaped me into adulthood and I credit so much to having that type of environment in my formative years," Natasha says. "Everything I do now was influenced by a passion for art, agriculture, and education that started back on the farm. I wouldn't have traded it for the world."

There are many aspects to the farm. There is the vegetable operation, Big Rock Organics, which has been in operation for the past 15 years, and which provides a subscription-based produce pickup program. They also raise hay for their livestock, which includes a flock of roughly 20 Cheviot sheep, two ponies (Misty and Charliehorse), and their beloved farm mascot, Maude, a chicken.

In addition to agricultural pursuits, the family also runs a fiber arts studio, Esther’s Place, which is celebrating its 13th anniversary this year. “It has been a privilege and a joy to cultivate the community's love of fiber arts. We offer classes in knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving, needle felting, wet felting, and even some farm-oriented ones like cheese-making and canning." The studio also hosts groups for afternoon tours where they meet the sheep, eat lunch, and make crafts.

You can register now for Natasha’s presentation Fiber Art: From Sheep to Chic, on Tuesday, February 12, and learn about her journey as a fiber artist, entrepreneur, and shepherd. To learn more about working with textiles, drop by the BOOMbox now through April 21 and explore the science of textiles using our sewing and embroidery machines and looms.