Beautiful Sheep

by - Thursday, June 17, 2010

We came across this book more than a year ago when we were doing research for a presentation on natural fibers and slow clothes. Beautiful Sheep: Portraits of Champion Breeds is written by Kathryn Dun - and she has done an excellent job -but it is the portraits themselves which fascinated us. There is such diversity of character in the breeds, and we can see how some would have been encouraged for the fibres in their coats. Specific qualities that would make the wool good for hand-spinning or dyeing. In some cases, a renewed interest in hand spinning and knitting is all that has kept certain breeds from extinction.

Paul Farnham, a UK fashion photographer who trained with Annie Liebowitz, switched from thin women in urban settings to leggy ovines in the country. According to a review in the Telegraph the sheep were just as fussed over as his human models and there was the added problem of your car getting bogged down in farmer's fields. The results are wonderful, however, and the book makes for an entertaining and delightful entry into the world of UK sheep breeds.

We loved it so much we decided to carry it and put it in our online bookstore as well. We found a second review on Photoshelter and and after reading the book we have to agree with their summary: "I think Mr. Kerry Hill is the most handsome. But Zwartbles clearly has a better name."

Buy Beautiful Sheep.

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  1. This looks to be a great book! I raised sheep in the 1960s when I was a child as part of a 4H project in Oregon. Every summer I spent hours using a variety of cards and hand shears on my Suffolk ewes to prepare them for showing in the county and state fairs. My father built a blocking stand for me to use and I trained my sheep to walk up the ramp to the stand and to remain still while I worked on them. After each grooming session, I protected my work by covering the animal with a sheep blanket. The bottom image here instantly brought to mind the look and shape I worked so hard to achieve. Thank you for posting these wonderful images. I smelled again the lanolin.


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