"I recognized that food was central to life, not for reasons of hedonism or sustenance, but because it was a link to everyone that had gone before me. It was a link to the land, a link to friends and family around a shared table, and a link to future generations to come. In a fragile, unstable world of change, food is constant." -Georgeanne Brennan, A Pig in Provence
Barbara Seeler recently shared with me her own personal perspective of food in the French countryside, where she and her husband Keith often travel to and spend time. "It's very different there -very little imported or processed foods are available- no one has the income or money to buy them. The food is really grown, made, and served locally. The bread is really made, as well as baked, in the store where its sold, whereas here the dough is often trucked in from somewhere else."
Barb plied for our guild's Sheep to Shawl Event in September, and I featured her as the VSG newsletter's Calendar Girl this month. Barb teaches spinning classes at Village Yarn and Tea, -she has for several years- and also attends spin night there. She describes the VYT shop as having a nice cossetting, cozy feel. I have friends who usually go to VYT's Friday knit night, and I asked her about it. She observes the Sabbath on Friday nights, so isn't able to attend. Family is central in observing the Sabbath, and family is very important to Barb -especially being a grandmother. "I can think of nothing more fun than spinning and knitting with my two grand kids." And she spends lots of time with them. Of her own grandmother, she remembers during the war, the men were all gone, and her maternal grandmother had all her grandchildren (all eight of them!), and their mothers, living with her. "My grandmother always kept kosher, but I remember us all roasting hot dogs on coat hangers over a fire in the backyard. It was lots of fun, living with her, and with us all being together."
"My daughter, in the early 90's, bought me a wheel and lessons for a gift. She said she remembered me saying, when she was a child, that I really wanted some day to have a spinning wheel and learn to spin. I don't remember that at all!" Barb embraced the craft wholeheartedly, and was very active in the guilds while living in LA. Today, she is a treasure trove of spinning, dyeing, and knitting, knowledge and experience, which she is always willing to share, and she is incredibly gracious while doing so. She loves to teach, and started dyeing to have fiber for teaching spinning. She has a background in chemistry (she spent twenty years working as a lab scientist at UCLA), so dyeing fiber was a natural step. She sells her dyed fiber, BJS Fiber Creations, at local fiber events and sales, including the Valley Spinners Guild's two sale meetings (one is next week- November 11th!), Cascade Community Church's Christmas Sale, the Whidbey Island Fiber Festival, St. Distaff's Day, and at Village Yarn and Tea.
Barb says, "There is something very comforting about knitting and spinning. Whenever I have a problem, I spin, and the answer will come to me. Our lives are so cluttered, so much information is pounding us, and spinning lets all that drop off. I am at peace when spinning."