Sheep thrills: Brookside Museum offers family program

"Sheep to Shawl" is usually a school program, but the museum added a family day because of its popularity and the kids' enthusiasm to show off what they learn, said Joy Houle of Brookside.

"It's highly interactive, and the kids get so excited seeing a real sheep, learning how to clean and card its wool and then seeing it spun into thread and woven into something," said Houle.

The sheep shearer travels from Vermont to exhibit his trade, one that is increasingly hard to come by.

"It is kind of a dying industry and the sheep shearer was telling me he can't find anyone to apprentice under him; it's hard work," said Larkin. "I suggest anyone who doesn't want to go to college but likes to work outside to consider it. There's a whole career waiting for someone, and it's a real skill."

Larkin's work is not widespread either; that's why she uses Brookside's program and local craft shows to "spread the weaving world" as much as she can.

"I was always an artist but never a good painter or drawer, so for me to be able to go to a yarn store and mix colors yarn is my paint and loom is my canvas. You put them together to create a textile, a fabric, and it's addicting," said Larkin. "Do it once and you want to put more ideas together and keep going."

"Sheep to Shawl" is at Brookside Museum at 6 Charlton St. in Ballston Spa on Sunday, May 2, from noon to 3 p.m. Admission is $2 a person and $5 a family.


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