Updated: Feb 4
The icy winds and snow of winter have left me yearning for a snuggly comforting craft project, so now I am busy making Bear Bottom Meditation Mats. These deep soft mats are perfect for use outside or on cold surfaces, so you can sit warmly for longer out in the wild. Meditate in nature, munch your picnic in the hills, snooze against a tree, kneel in your garden, whatever takes your fancy, but know that Bear has your comfort covered !
I weave them on a peg loom from pure soft Shetland fleece, from sheep who freely wander the limestone meadows in Elphin, Assynt, not far from the Bone Caves where Grandmother Bear sleeps.
I give the fleece only a gentle rinse before weaving so it retains a high lanolin content which gives it a waterproof quality, and means it holds the scent of the sheep and the ancient hills.
The fleece comes from Middleton Croft Elphin which is run by the award winning young crofter Helen O'Keefe who says :
'In terms of the sheep and the business, I am breeding pure and pedigree Shetland Sheep with an aim to improve wool quality, as well as to have hardy, healthy sheep that can live outdoors on our common grazings all year round, with minimal extra food (I'm aiming for none, but for now, they still need some additional food in the winter). I am trying to manage my sheep, and the rest of my crofts, to benefit the environment - storing carbon and increasing biodiversity (I'm a Farmer Ambassador for the Soil Association, promoting agro-ecological farming). For the sheep, we sell the best of the wool direct to handspinners and weavers (such as yourself!) and get the bullk of it spun into yarn (by The Natural Fibre Company, in Cornwall, until we can find a suitable closer option!) to sell directly ourselves. The worst of the wool is used on our own garden as compost! We also sell meat from our sheep directly to customers locally, and we hope to be able to sell skins (rugs) in the future as well. The goal is to get everything possible from our sheep, so nothing is wasted. And to keep everything as local as possible. I have about 100 sheep now, but I still know most of them individually and have a strong relationship with them - an added benefit of Shetland Sheep is their personalities!'
The mats are designed to be rolled to fit into a daypack or yoga bag. I can make larger mats on request, up to 82 cm wide x 100 cm long.
They come with a leather, or waxed cotton cord and Bear Oracle to fasten them when rolled.
These mats are made from sheep fleece which naturally contains lanolin, this gives the mats a waterproof quality. You may notice the mat has an oily feel, this is natural, and unless you are allergic to lanolin, it is beneficial for the skin. The fleece is given only a very light wash before weaving, it may still contain traces of the wild hills on which the sheep wandered. To clean your mat, allow any mud/solid matter to dry and simply brush off. It does not need regular washing, only when needed, handwash gently in warm water, do not rub, use very small amount of gentle detergent such as washing up liquid or handwash detergent, slow spin in washing machine and allow to dry in open air.
I love the connection between these mats and the landscape, and in turn She Bear, hence the name 'Bear Bottom Meditation Mats' and the Oracle fastener. Being supported by a Bear Bottom Meditation Mat will deepen your connection to the magical Bears , and wild beings who sleep beneath the earth wherever you live. Take your mat outside, come closer to the earth and hear Her whisperings....