Valley Oak Wool & Fiber Mill
IN THE MEDIA:
Yes, We're Open! by PBS
11 years of milling
September is a special month. It's the anniversary of when I started my career in milling wool. Did I know that I'd be doing it this long? No. In fact, I remember one of my first days on the job when I was surrounded by the skirtings of greasy wool that I thought to myself, "What am I doing here?!" I found my new job interesting since I was learning so much about different wools, but at the same time it was sometimes embarrassing telling people what I did for a living. "I didn't know people still had jobs like that" or "I thought people went to college so they didn't have to work in a place like this" are some things that have been said about my job, but it doesn't take long for most people to understand how cool it really is.
Did I study this in college? No. I earned my BFA in textiles from California College of the Arts in Oakland and San Francisco. It is a school of fine arts so I have experience using yarn for knitting and weaving but that's an end product. All my knowledge of milling wool into yarn was learned on the job. Many hot summers and cold winters have been spent in the mill learning the different adjustments required with the seasons, which is one of my favorite parts of the job! Even though the work is repetitious there are unique, widespread and challenging aspects to each order. It has not always been easy, and there were many times when I was about to quit but it seemed like God would step in and say, "Wait a minute," and I'd see the way open up for me to continue.
It took a few years for my dream of owning a mill to become a reality. I wasn't sure how it was going to come together and it was truly a time of patience and perseverance. Thank you to everyone who helped me, advised me, and prayed for me. I never would have gotten here without you!