Fiber-Spinning Lessons Offered at Gulfport Fresh Market
The time-honored art of spinning yarn from fiber will be the
subject of hands-on classes to be held during the Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market in February and beyond. Billie Rodriguez and her daughter Brennan will teach students in a one-on-one process for as many one-hour sessions as
desired. Registration for classes begins immediately, and lessons will commence at the Market on Tuesday, February 5th during the hours of 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Waiting lists for additional lessons and classes will be maintained for others interested in learning. The cost for lessons will be $15 per hour.
Spinning wheels and fiber, including angora and other types, will be provided. The initial class will cover an introduction to spinning, fiber characteristics, drafting, hand/eye/feet coordination exercises, and beginning spinning. In additional classes, students will learn beginning techniques, adding on wool, plying and skill refinement. Students may continue classes for as long as
To sign up for classes, visit Billie and Brennan at the Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market from 9am to 3pm each Tuesday, or 9am to 8pm on the first Tuesday of each month. The open-air market is located on Beach Blvd.
South below 29th Ave. South. For more information, contact Billie Rodriguez at 813-428-2484 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Fresh Market is a year-round event.
Billie and Brennan are mother-daughter proprietors of their own Funny Face Farms, a small urban farm begun in 2010 in Valrico, Florida. They joined the Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market last year, demonstrating the art of spinning during the Market and offering their own hand-spun yarns and
crocheted items for sale. They began raising rabbits, intent on breeding and reselling them as pets, but became too fond of their herd to sell any of the offspring. Their practice in spinning began with their adoption of an English angora rabbit named Magi, a rabbit which had been a prize-winner in shows but was retired from the show circuit by his previous owner. Magi’s “funny face” became the namesake for their farm. Funny Face Farms now has over 75 Angora rabbits as well as other breeds. The previous owner of Magi introduced Billie and Brennan to the centuries-old art of spinning, using fibers the rabbits shed naturally. Brennan took up the art form first while Billie used the yarn she created to make crocheted items. Billie
then began to spin herself nearly two years ago.
Both mother and daughter are warm, engaging and
approachable. During their time at the Fresh Market, they have entertained many curious on-lookers while they spin yarn and answer questions about themselves, their farm and the art of spinning. The spinning classes are a natural progression from their interest in sharing the art form,
as well as their intention to make a living from their farm.
Billie has worked in newspapers and advertising for much of her life, including founding a small local newspaper in south Florida. She has also served as a U.S. Army nurse. More recently, she has been a stay-at-home mom. She and her children also formed their own pet-transport business, transporting pets throughout the country. The
decline of the economy became the impetus for Funny Face Farms, envisioned as a more local and sustainable source of income for the family. Brennan is a home-schooled senior, also participating in YMCA’s Florida Youth in Government Program, in which she writes and presents legislation during mock legislative sessions in Tallahassee. She is considering a career in law. Creating yarns also offers her an artistic outlet, along with an opportunity to
exercise the entrepreneurial spirit that is evident in her family.