One hot summerâ€™s day a young woman visited our farm. Her friends were delayed by car trouble, so we chatted. I was spinning â€“ she was fascinated â€“ and thus began â€˜the Betsy project.â€™
It was all her idea. She had cancer; chemo and radiation had made her hair fall out and it had regrown. Now she was facing further treatments. Would I spin her hair after it fell out again?
Some people think this project is morbid, but that was not her approach. She was an artist, very creative, and she had in mind to make an heirloom for her daughter.
We discussed options â€“ hair must be blended with another fiber â€“ and details such as length, heft, and color. I spun it with cinnamon alpaca, and the final result was a surprisingly soft, gleaming, springy yarn.
My last contact with Betsy came with a note, saying â€˜I have never before seen my mousy hair as beautiful.â€™
What more could an artist ask? And like all art, what purpose can it have? Just to say, in the face of the void that life has meaning. That everything is connected forever, if only by a thread.
And there her friends were, probably, by the side of the road in the August heat, saying â€˜durn the durn car, why did it have to break down NOW?â€™
If you, or someone you know, is interested in getting your hair spun, please get in touch with Rebecca.