Original Photo of “the Woolie”

For over a decade (maybe two!) I have looked forward to getting the catalog for the Maryland Sheep amp; Wool Festival.  The cover always has such beautiful and interesting sheep–or wool–related art.  First time I saw the catalog, I said, “I am going to have my art on the cover some day.”  Every year I say that.  Last year, just as I was about to create a blockprint carving to submit, I pulled a muscle in my back and couldn’t do much in the month before the deadline.  This year, I have been crazy busy writing an instructional booklet (on rya rug making) and almost said to myself, “Guess this isn’t the year to submit a new art piece for the Sheep amp; Wool Fest.”  Then I stopped and realized that every year I wanted to do something, but always made an excuse as to why I couldn’t.  That is a bad habit.

So a couple of weeks ago, I set aside about 30 minutes a day to design and carve the Woolie.  I’m not going to show you the finished piece here, just a step in the process.  But I will tell you that the design is nearly done and win or not, I am proud to have not procrastinated or forgotten to submit a piece.  If it wins the poster competition, it will be printed on thousands of T-shirts, maybe coffee mugs, tote bags, and of course the catalog.  If it is not selected, well, heck, the design will be mine to print as I like–maybe on a T-shirt for you.  It’s win-win either way.  Check out the Sheep amp; Wool Festival here: And now, back to writing the book…..

Cheers, Melinda Byrd

Carving the Woolie

My drawingboard with linocut in progress (center in gray) and resources