Today was an extremely relaxing and beautiful day filled with sheep. Yes, sheep. Over breakfast Siiri told us of a place right behind Moks that is a wool and sheepskin factory. At the thought of any handmade craft and I was fully onboard for a field trip. A little past noon Siiri, Sergei and I left Daniel (who is currently installing his show) for a bit of fresh air as we walked to the factory. As we approached the red brick building it's exterior seems more like a rustic barn conversion than a CO2 pumping factory that I imagined. Siiri lightly knocked on the door, then using the entire weight of her small frame pulled the huge wooden door open. As soon as we entered we were greeted with the smell of warm apples. As it turns out, the wool factory owners also oversee the apple orchard and store some of the stock here. We made our way to the back of the open-plan building and climbed worn wooden stairs to the loft area. On the loft there were three middle-aged women all wearing long dresses, overlain with patterned aprons and Ugg-like boots, sitting as sewing machines, surrounded by mounds of sheepskin.
It was like the wool version of Bubba from Forest Gump: sheepskin shoes, wool sweaters, throws, hats, baby toys, blenders (not really blenders, but you get the picture). What's more, it is all handcrafted and sewn by one of the three women. For someone as obsessed with handcrafted anything like me, I was in heaven. Siiri began speaking to one of the women about altering one of the shirts she'd brought with her, Sergei began trying on various fur lined hats and I tried on the boots. After awhile, the women began asking Siiri (in Estonian) information about me and why I'd come to Mooste. They asked where I was from, seemingly unsatisfied with the answer Siiri gave, Birmingham, AL, as they might have been expecting the name of an African country. As I watched the woman pinning the alterations in place as Siiri stood in airport security pose, found it interesting that all three women were chatting feverishly and throwing the occasional glance and smile my way, to assure me all things said were positive or at least neutral. From Siiri's occasional translation of the conversation, I gathered they were all very intrigued but confused by my presence in the small town. One of the ladies even mentioned how her son sat next to me on the bus ride to Mooste, which gives some indication of 1.) the size of the town and 2.) my presence on the bus was noteworthy enough to relay to one's mother. We left after they'd finished with Siiri's shirt, thanking them for their time and hospitality. Upon our return to Moks I began sketching images that would embody the afternoon's experience. I have not yet decided on the final image, but that will be my task for tomorrow.
Other noteworthy events: