The 7th Annual Wool Symposium focuses upon soil-to-skin themes
that continue to touch all of our community members lives in significant ways:
Fire Ecology  •  Fostering Animal Integration  •  Fiber Systems  •  Functional Use of Garments

2018 Wool & Fine Fiber Sumposium

(Illustration by Laurie Sawyer)

Fire Ecology and its Connection to Fiber and Natural Dye Systems

We will deepen our understanding of human-led land management practices that include the use of fire as a tool for land regeneration. Fire has shaped the form and function of our region’s ecology for millennia to the present day. The way fire impacts our landscapes as of late, has markedly shifted. Catastrophic fires are now an omnipresent reality. As we seek solutions that heal and restore our ecosystems, we will explore fire’s historic cultural role and hear from Native California community members whose cultural fire practices have enhanced their fibersheds for thousands of years to the present day.


  • Dr. Kat Anderson, author of Tending the Wild
  • Nick Tipon of the Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo Tribe; Chairman of Sacred Sites
  • Elizabeth Azzuz and Margo Robbins of the Karuk Tribe: Coordinators for culturally led burns
  • Lenya Davidson Quinn, UC Extension Humboldt County: Fire Ecology and Management
  • Abran Lopez of the Amah Mutsun Tribe: Land Management and Fire Ecology
  • Joe Rawitzer: Project coordinator for the Central Coast Prescribed Fire Council
  • Jared Childress: Prescribed Fire Specialist with Audubon Canyon Ranch’s Fire Forward Program
  • Price Sheppy: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

Reintegrating fiber-producing animals into croplands

By reintegrating fiber-producing animals into croplands, we are able to graze down cover crops and the vestiges of cash crops, and bring animals into areas where fuel load reduction is greatly needed. These are vital ecological services that flocks and herds provide us today. Contract grazers are able to keep animals on the move, providing increased opportunities to thoughtfully graze and provide needed rest periods so that plant species can regenerate. Animal species that originally carried the seeds of European grasses in their manure and hides (at the point of European colonization), forever changed California’s once highly functioning perennially dominated grassland systems—and now, a new partnership between people and animals is providing a foundation for restoring systems that have been degraded. We will hear from a spectrum of young women and men who are working diligently to restore ecological function in our farm, range, and open space districts.


  • Dr. Amelie Gaudin: University of California Davis, Gaudin Lab
  • Christian Cain: Contract Grazer & Shepherd, Yolo County
  • Melissa Tregilgas: Freehand Farm, Placerville
  • Paige Trotter: Sweetgrass Grazing, Contract Grazer and Shepherdess in Marin & Sonoma Counties
  • Brittany Cole Bush: Grazing School of The West

Fiber Systems and Functional Use

This topic focuses upon the preciousness of our natural fiber and dye materials; we will hear from designers who are translating their understanding of how to retain balance in an ecosystem and what that functionally means for how we make and use our garments. We will learn more about the ‘functional use’ stage of a garment and hear from those that are seeking new ways to support us in retaining higher quality garments and textiles for much longer periods of time than what we see manifest in the throw away models promulgated by faster forms of fashion.


  • Dr. Ingun Grimstad Klepp: Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
  • Timo Rissanen: Assistant Professor of Fashion and Sustainability, Parsons School of Design, NY
  • Sierra Reading: Designer & Teacher, Oakland, CA
  • Geana Sieburger: GDS Cloth Goods, Oakland, CA
  • Margot Lyons: Manager of Production + Sustainability at Coyuchi, San Francisco, CA

Fibershed Marketplace at the Symposium

Wool Symposium, photo by Paige Green
(photo by Paige Green)

Church Building at the Dance Palace
(Open to the public; no ticket required)

Heart Felt Fiber Farm
Tree House Felt
Black Rock Ranch + Blue Oak Canyon Ranch
Downhome Fibers
Ewe and Me 2
Alpaca Shire + Double Diamond Alpacas
Fiber Confections
Sheep to Shop
Menagerie Hill Ranch
Renaissance Ridge Alpacas
Red Creek Farm + Wild Oat Hollow

Lobby of the Dance Palace
(No ticket required)
Twirl Yarn
Point Reyes Books
FIDM and Santa Rosa JC

Main Lecture Hall at the Dance Palace
(Requires a ticket to the Symposium, except during the lunch break)

Bo-Rage Yarns
Bodega Pastures
Meridian Jacobs
Lani’s Lana
Warner Mountain Weavers
Vreseis Limited
Kassenhoff Growers
Kirabo Pastures
Spinning in the Wind (except in the event of rain)

Back Lawn at the Dance Palace
(Or Main Hall in the event of rain)

Harvest & Mill
Caprette Cashmere + Blue Barn Farm

Outdoors at the Dance Palace
(Except in the event of rain)

Stonehenge Llama Ranch
Myrrhia Fine Knitwear
Weirauch Farm & Creamery
GDS Cloth Goods
Cathy Wayne
Sierra Rose Alpacas
Sincere Sheep
Starbuck Station Wools + Wild Rose Farm

Information Booths:
Freestone Ranch
Fiber Circle Studio

Hands-On Skills Demonstrations

Wool Symposium, photo by Paige GreenNatural Dyes: Deepa Natarajan

Spinning: Melanie Perkins

Weaving: Keyaiira

Mending: Sierra Reading

Wool Classing: Stephany Wilkes

Sheep Shearing: Matt Gilbert

Heritage Sheep Display: Pont Family Farm

Angora Rabbits: Erin Maclean

Felting: Tim Easterbrook

Flax: Chico Flax

Primitive Skills: Paleotechnics


(photo by Paige Green)