Monday, February 7, 2011

The Year of the White Rabbit

Maybe it is because of the year of the rabbit, maybe it is the constant cold, but here is my second posting within a matter of days on angora, one of warmest of fibers.

Towards the end of last year we discovered that we had a serious angora supply problem. Due to past pricing schemes and not a small amount of manipulation and abuse most small farmers gave up their rabbits. We found some temporary solutions that will hold us over for a few months, but as small incertitudes persisted we gave in to Dominique's insistence that we try to establish a dedicated source for our angora wool yarns.

I will take this opportunity to introduce two other members of our group.

This is Dominique, animal lover and wife extraordinaire...

....and here is Vishavanth, whose vision of weaving, fibers, and life in general is completely aligned with ours...

Our logical next step was to visit the Kullu Valley branch of the Indian Wool and Sheep Research Institute.

As usual, finding it turned out to be a bit tricky and we had to make numerous stops to ask for directions...

....'it's just over there'.....

....and 10 minutes later....'it's just over there'.....

....and 20 minutes later, it was still...'just over there'.....

But even here in India, where time and space can be stretched to ridiculous proportions and test our nervous systems to the extreme, we arrived at that end of the road and found the Institute, located in a quiet and peaceful valley.

India is blessed with numerous research and educational institutes scattered throughout the country. They can often be of a great resource to local farmers, artisans, etc....One of the specialties of the Kullu district station is its involvement in local angora production. They conduct research, educate the local farmers, promote the raising of rabbits and provide a few breeds of angora bunnies.

Vishvanath and the self-help group he guides will take on the responsibility of raising the rabbits and processing the wool. He is not new to the profession, since his family used to raise the rabbits till market conditions made it impossible to continue. Dominique with her knowledge, experience and love of animals, will not be an idle observer either.

Dr. Sharma, at the Institute, turned out to be extremely helpful with our inquiries and totally consumed by his profession. He was kind enough to answer every question I have ever had about angora and digress to the subject of spinning, Indian sheep and local wools. Vishvanath and the self-help group will follow a week long training program and hopefully start raising their rabbits in a month or two. I hope to have more posts on their progress soon...

I know that Dominique is extremely happy with what she was able to instigate and accomplish today, but have a feeling that her mind is already on a different flock of geese, and those are pictured below:

Unfortunately the year of the goat is not till 2015, I for one hope that Dominique's vision materializes before...


  1. great photos for how to get from here to so reminded me of trying to find Lao weavers in a village OR the next village over.....and over...and over!

  2. thanks for that comment deb.
    it is asia (and our profession/passion) in a nutshell.

  3. Lovely blog Jarek & Dominque I have been following your natural dye experiments on Natural Dyes Online with great interest and it is great to find your blog. What a fantastic part of the world!

  4. tnank you helen. you are right, it is lovely and has some places that are absolutely magical..