FIBER FIELD LAB
Students of the Offcourse Fiber Field Lab discovered at the beginning of November 2022 that not only large-scale agriculture takes place in the Oldambt region. This Offcourse, a minor in the bachelor’s program of the Minerva Art Academy, introduces students to the fibers of landscape. Local textile fibers are processed with different techniques and at the same time landscape excursions take place. The aim if this Fiber Field Lab is to let students experience the connection of people and their living environment down to their fibers.
During this excursion, the Barlagerpolder in ‘t Waar, was visited. A small polder that has been owned by Staatsbosbeheer since the 1970s and has been a location for a work-creation project during years of crisis in the last century. Blue, very calcareous clay was excavated here by hand and transported elsewhere to improve the soil structure. In this polder, the students met Rosa Sellies, shepherd of the Noorderlicht flock, and Marcels Lasker, driving school owner who mows the grass of the plots in the Barlagerpolder with Groninger horses.
A landversation took place in this polder. This is a conversation about maintenance and cultivating land with the managers of the land. Rosa and Marcel explained how their maintenance contributes to the biodiversity of the area and how they try to turn this meadow into a flower-rich meadow. During the landversation, a felted map of wool, was spread out on the grass. This work of art was made from the wool fibers of one of the sheep from the sheep herd and hay from the pasture of the Barlagerpolder. A line pattern on the map showed how Marcel Lasker and his Groningen horses shake the mown hay on the pasture. The presence of the artwork contributed to the focus in the conversation on land maintenance. It became clear to the students that the efforts of both Marcel and Rosa testify to their commitment to the country, which requires a lot of attention and time.