Our Café artist for December is Carol Collins, who has owned Singing Spindle Spinnery for 36 years. She teaches spinning wool and many other craft classes, and sells wool-related products, seeds, plants, and garden produce. She also taught creative writing, poetry and drama in Vermont schools for six years. Carol and her husband designed and built their own home in So. Duxbury, VT, in 1972 and have lived there for 45 years.
Collins’ work combines photography and poetry into something she does not call “art.” Instead, she says, “I use these mediums as a way to share my life; who I am, and what I care about. The work is an extension of who I am.”
The life she shares began on three southern Vermont farms where she grew up. Round Mountain Farm in West Brattleboro was the final one, where her family owned 550 acres and had 350 sheep at one time. “It was a beautiful place to grow up,” she says. “I was truly blessed to live there with my two brothers, supported by caring parents. My work is inspired by the beautiful sheep, farmland and mountains around me where I grew up, similar in some ways to where I live today.”
Collins says photography has been a very important part of her life, ever since her mother gave her a Brownie Flash camera when she was ten years old. She loved taking pictures, which her brother developed in their basement, and has cherished those early photos ever since. In addition, she has written poetry since the age of five, saying it has “taken me through the hardest times in my life, and I hope it always will.” She also writes stories, memoirs and articles focused on gardening/farming and fiber arts.
When speaking of the theme or message in her work, Collins harkens back to when her parents, in two different parts of the world, wrote love letters to each other and talked of their dream of living a simple life. “Life is not simple, I learned early on,” she says, “but there are decisions we can make that help remove some of the stress, expense and complexity that cause trouble for many in our modern world. Staying close to the land, we grow much of our own food, spend almost nothing on clothing, entertainment and technology. In a way, we are working toward continuing my parents’ dream of living a simple life. I hope this comes across in some of my photos, montages and poems.”
You can visit the world created by Collins and her work throughout the month of December in our café. For products, lessons, or more information, call (802) 244-8025, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Carol’s website SingingSpindleSpinnery.com