Many hard working farmers consider sheep as the Fruit of the Land and their wool is hand harvested seasonally. Cottony flocks of sheep wander the fields; their fleece, made into woolen yarns, fabrics, dolls, and fiber arts . We have always depended upon these domesticated animals to keep us clothed, warm, and creative.
Ancient Sumerians admired the versatility of wool and created long, smooth-fitting skirts (“kaunakes”) that were stylishly woolen fringed. Ancient Egyptians made wigs for their esteemed leaders and used a variety of materials to make those wigs, including wool. They, too, considered wool to be a versatile and valuable commodity. Today, people continue to use wool for sweaters, blankets, footwear, filters, felt, and more.
The Chinese have many enduring myths, legends, and symbolisms regarding sheep. To the Chinese, flocks of sheep represent the concepts of “pastoral peace”and “plenty”. Sheep, in fact, are also portrayed as a symbol in the Chinese horoscope, wherein it holds the “eighth” position in the horoscope and represents “filial piety” and the role of being “culturally and familially adaptive”. Wool from sheep has always been a very common element within the domestic Chinese lifestyle.
Many people have mistakenly thought that sheep are dimwitted and totally autonomic creatures, but such views are not in alignment with scientific investigations that reveal to us that sheep are not mindless suppliers of wool to man. According to researchers, sheep are communal and very intelligent and, further, they are surprisingly able to recognize and remember hundreds of individual human faces. I am truly impressed by such capacity – how many humans are capable of recognizing so many individual sheep?
I have enjoyed watching them graze in the fields on bright sunny days, so tranquil and quiet within the comforts of their community. In recognition of their beauty, intelligence, and value as a resource to mankind, I created this artwork to share my admiration with others.
Because of the availability of wool, I am able to knit with dyed yarns to make warm winter clothing each Summer and Autumn. It is one of the things I pursue when I am not painting; but even when knitting, I am brainstorming for the next portrait scene. As an artist deep at heart, my mind moves forward to the next blank canvas awaiting me. Those soft colorful yarns, slowly turning into creative attire of my own designing, allow me to become mentally refocused, refreshed and ready for that awaiting canvas.
Charity Goodwin, Artist