A Visit to Esther’s Place and Lamb of God Farm/Big Rock Organics in Big Rock, Illinois
When I started to explore the fiber art of needle felting, the first place I went was Esther’s Place in Big Rock, Illinois. We are so fortunate to live less than an hour from this place and the amazing people that operate the shop and farm. The mother-daughter team of Donna Lehrer and Natasha Lehrer Lewis are great people who care deeply about what they do and thankfully want to share their work, time and talent with all of us.
Esther’s Place is their fiber arts studio, which is in an old Victorian home. They offer supplies for knitters, weavers, felters and more. You can take classes to learn about a variety of different types of fiber arts and crafts, and even canning and cheesemaking. Just walking through the shop is a wonderful experience alone. The day I first walked in, Natasha took the time to sit down and show me a technique that helps me do the 3-D effects in my portraits. She is a great teacher and a true fiber artist with a wealth of knowledge and talent.
Lamb of God Farm is where they grow organic vegetables for their Big Rock Organics CSA customers and the farm stand at Esther’s Place. Chemicals have never been used on the soils at their property. The farm is also where they raise Cheviot sheep, who provide the best wool that becomes the roving that I use and prefer most for needle felting.
You can find out more about them and their work by visiting their websites:
Even better, take a trip out to Big Rock and experience these true gems live! We recently did just that and included a tour of the farm, where we got to meet the flock of sheep, Charlie and Misty the miniature ponies, and Maude - the chicken mascot extraordinaire! Donna told us about the history of the farm and the animals in their care. It is clearly evident how well cared for and loved all of the animals are, and Donna is truly passionate about treating them and the land extremely well.
It was a great experience to meet THE sheep that provide the wool I use for needle felting. Spending time with Natasha and Donna made it even more special. If you are lucky like us to live near them, it’s definitely worth a visit to Big Rock. And if you are interested in fiber arts, beginner or advanced, Esther’s Place is a great resource that I highly recommend.