|Hello! I'm Carol Lee of Encampment, Wyoming. I own and operate The Academy of Spinsters. I
have been teaching Carding, Spinning, Weaving and Natural Dyeing since 1971. I was taught
the basics of spinning by a friend, and with a group from the Magazine BITTERSWEET, I learned
the basics of Natural Dyeing. Spinning Bees, Workshops, and Seminars across the country
continued my education in the above arts. I went to THE LITTLE LOOMHOUSE in Louisville,
Kentucky to study with Sarah Bailey, a beautiful little mountain woman who had been spinning
since the age of 6. While there I also studied with Brother Kim Mallory, a Franciscan Monk. I
have studied at Brekkepark, Skein, Norway, Bygdoy, Oslo, Norway, The Weaver's House, Flam,
Norway. I attended a Precious Fibers Seminar at Berea College in Kentucky where I was able
to study with Paula Simmons. The Natures Dye Forum in Colorado netted me a great class with
Miriam Rice and furthered my study of Mushrooms for color. In 2002 I attended, lectured and
taught a workshop at The Colour Congress 2002 at
Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. 23 countries were represented here and Natural Dye
knowledge was massive. In 2002 I also published both a book, FLEECEWEAVING, and a natural
dye video/DVD, WHAT'S IN THE POT? In 2003 a second book called SAMMY'S SHAWL was
published. 2006 has seen MUSHROOMS ARE TO DYE FOR in publication and ready to be
shipped. More fiber related books are slated for the future.
|I have given demonstrations, classes, and workshops for shows, fairs, schools, churches,
nursing homes, civic groups, festivals, University textile classes, home education groups,
television programs, international conferences and symposiums and video education. My
family and I put on demonstrations for 8 years of
shearing, carding, spinning, dyeing, and weaving for
Silver Dollar City festivals in Branson, Missouri.
Originally, I worked from our farm near Eldridge, Missouri. When we sold the farm, I operated a
shop called The Sheep Shed in Walnut Grove, Missouri. We were there for almost 8 years. We
offered classes, supplies, fibers, repair, books, and
Carl has been building and repairing Spinning Wheels since 1971. We often have a few
wheels and looms for sale as well. We are a dealer for Ashford Wheels and have been for
many years. We offer good prices on the wheels and as layaway plan as well. Looms in our
studio number around 15-20.
While in Missouri, I worked with the Apprentice Program in conjunction with the Missouri
Council of Arts and the National Council of Arts. I highly recommend this program, if it is still
out there. I was presented with the title of Master in the Art of Spinning by the Councils for the
work done in the program.
|In the spring of 1991, Missouri's heat and
humidity had finally gotten too much for
me. We went in search of cooler places
and decided on Encampment, Wyoming.
We bought the old Grand Encampment
school building that had been built in
1900. I had hopes of having the building
completely remodeled and ready to open
that summer of 1992. What a head in the
clouds that dream was. I doubt if it will
ever be completely finished.
We continue to work, inside and out, and
have at present 10 bedrooms, 3 kitchens,
3 bathrooms, 7 living room/sitting areas,
my huge studio areas,
and a large woodworking shop.
We continue to work with pine logs, blue
stain beetle kill lumber and rough cut
lumber. It is very rustic and quiet,
especially since we have re-sided the
outside with the logs and cedar siding
In 2000 we built a Dye Kitchen in the
backyard. It had a good porch for sitting
and spinning....but that has been
remodeled into the Brown Sheep Mill
Ends Roving storage, sorting, and
shipping room. The dye kitchen is on the
move into the carding trailer. The
carding machine acquired its own little
barn in 2009 and 2010 saw an additional
little red barn added for raw fleece.
There is a fish pond close by to listen to
the soothing sounds of running water.
|2005 saw the north end of the house being re-sided,
a new balcony off the third floor, and the first of the
flower beds in.
|Wyoming's sun and wind require re-staining the
house every few years.
|Our town is small, and has some interesting places to visit. Our museum is a walk back in time.
Bring your swim suit if you would like to visit the free outdoor hot pool in Saratoga. It is 20 miles
away. Hiking trails, 4 wheel drive trails, scenic drives, floating, fishing, fall hunting, skiing,
sledding, and snowmobiling are all available at some time during the year. Easy living is generally
the norm out here.
We are located side by side with the smaller town of Riverside. We are just 40 miles south of the
junction of Hwy 230 and Hwy 70 in South Central Wyoming. We are 185 miles North of Denver,
Colorado, and 50 miles North of Walden, Colorado. We are 85 miles West-Southwest of Laramie,
Wyoming, and 40 miles South of Exit 235 (Walcott Junction) on I-80. The nearest town/grocery
store is Saratoga, Wyoming, some 20 miles North of Encampment.
Encampment is nestled in the foothills between the Medicine Bow Mountains and the Sierra
Madre Mountains of Southern Wyoming. The town itself sits at 7,400 feet. Huge tracts of land
surrounding the area are BLM and National Forest Lands. The area is full of sparkling, splashing
creeks and beaver ponds. The weather is great all year long. June and July are spectacular with
wildflowers everywhere. August brings fall like weather and the mushrooms begin to pop up.
September is autumn at its' best, and October tells us winter is on the way. Allow plenty of time to
go to the mountains and see the sights.
We did manage to open the doors of the Academy of Spinsters in the summer of 1993. Since
then, we have had guests from all over the country, and quite a few from outside the country as
|We now have one old llama that live in the
barnyard Sedona was a small llama, my
special one. He has since died, and now we
only have Quincy. Miss that group that we had.
|The last full weekend of September is our annual
Gathering. It is a wooly weekend for fiber friends
and we spin, weave, knit, crochet and dye for
two merry days. You bring sleeping bag, pillow,
food for pot luck, drinks, fibers, spinning wheel
or whatever fibery endeavor you wished to
pursue. I have some dyepots going, and we
have a grand time enjoying the fun. my old body
has been having some repairs done so it is
always good to check before coming.
|This indigo pot was a success. It lasted for
most of the day with much fiber dyed.