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Live sheep shearing and yarn spinning on display

Live sheep shearing and yarn spinning – how wool clothing gets made – has changed little over the centuries and will be on full display at Sheep to Shawl at the San Bernardino County Museum on Saturday, Sept. 29, from noon to 4 p.m.

To make a piece of natural fiber clothing artisans start with the plant or animal to furnish the material from which it is made: a sheep, goat, rabbit, llama, or plant fibers. Natural textiles are based on these fibers, whether fleece, fur, hair, or plant. During Sheep to Shawl, Museum visitors will be able to meet fur and fleece-bearing animals thanks to the University of California Cooperative Extension 4-H club members and Southern California Sheep/Wool.  Members of the local 4-H program will demonstrate how a live sheep is sheared (1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.) and how the wool is cleaned by removing twigs and less savory bits of debris. Volunteers from local textile groups, and skilled artisans will demonstrate carding wool so the fibers lay straight, spinning them into thread, and weaving the threads into cloth.

Hands-on opportunities to touch fleeces, spin, design, and weave bracelets and potholders will be offered along with demonstrations of spinning and weaving by the Southern California Handweavers Guild and the Crosstwisters lacemaking group.  At 1:30 p.m. youth from the 4-H program will hold a wool fashion show.

Visitors can also walk through the museum’s ethnobotany and native plant gardens to see sources of plant fibers used by Native Americans. Activities are suitable for all ages.

Curator of Education Carolina Zataray said, “this process of construction exists in nearly every article of winter-based clothing we wear, yet most of our visitors know very little of how their sweater or coat was made. We’re excited to work with these partners to show off the skills necessary to go from sheep to shawl.”

Sheep to Shawl and the Museum’s other exciting programs and exhibits reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10 (adult), $8 (military or senior), $7 (student), and $5 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.sbcounty.gov/museum. The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.

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