Nature & Nurture: Working with Animals Program with Sheep Ranching History & Fiber Artistry

10/05/2023 - Nature & Nurture: Working with Animals Program with Sheep Ranching History & Fiber Artistry

Harris is bringing garments that she designed and created, and Marchington is bringing two sheep hides, a drum carder, and raw wool.

Lorna Marchington is a member of a fifth-generation Park County ranching family, residing on the flats of Mill Creek in the heart of Paradise Valley at Barely *A* Sheep Ranch. She cut her teeth in the lambing shed on her parents’ ranch, where she now resides and raises a small flock of Columbia-Lincoln cross sheep. Growing up with 4-H, Lorna was always fascinated with sheep, winning many awards with her animals. Lorna enjoying sharing her knowledge at various venues. She has brought bum lambs to Ag Days for Park County Schools during the fall as well as to the museum during Living History Day in June.

The sheep she raises provides locals with farm-to-fork fresh lamb. A portion of the wool is sent to a mill in New York that uses refurbished traditional milling machinery suitable for Renaissance re-enactors to use for weaving traditional clothing.

With her deep roots in area history, Lorna has always been intrigued by the multiple facets of local history. In addition to this speaker series, Lorna has given presentations on the role of sheep and how it changed the course of history in the West. She has led walking tours for the Yellowstone Gateway Museum for a number of years, including Bars and Brothels, and Ghosts and Ghost Signs.

Lifelong fiber artist Helen Harris beautifully weaves together agriculture and artistry. Helen grew up learning to mend and stitch at her grandmother’s knee, turning a weekly task into a master’s degree when she graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Textile Design and Studio Art from Northern Illinois University in 1981. She moved to Ennis, Montana in 2014 and if she isn’t wandering the foothills of her home looking for colors, patterns, and textures in nature to inspire her elaborate weavings, she’s creatively mending jeans and recycling fibers.

Recently retired from a career in Marketing/Finance, Helen is now an advocate for the Montana fiber community, focusing on regenerative fiber practices. She sits on the board of the Montana Fibershed and took part in the organization’s debut event, the Farm to Fashion Show that took place in October 2022 at the Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture in Bozeman. Funded by a grant from the national Fibershed organization, the Farm to Fashion Show was Montana’s premiere educational fiber event, showcasing the farmer and artist collaboration in the state, as well as cultivating discussions on soil health, economics, and emerging fiber markets. Helen continues to create fiber art in her studio which overlooks the Madison Range of the Rocky Mountains.

Upcoming programs: November 1: Raising Fjord horses and healing with Wendy Bauwens, Sunnyside Farms founder and breeder of Fjord horses, and Chris Siegel, therapist who works with Sunnyside Farms; November 15: Raising cattle with Connie Malcolm, lifelong cattle rancher, Tom Miner Basin, and Martin Davis, lifelong cattle rancher, Paradise Valley.

The in-person program is at Yellowstone Gateway Museum, 118 W. Chinook St., Livingston. Programs begin at 6:00pm; please note earlier time from previous programs.

Visit Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for program updates. Register for Zoom programs here. Please contact Karen Reinhart, 222-4184 or, if you need assistance. Donations welcome. The Yellowstone Gateway Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm.

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