Vogue, Of All Things

Two pairs of human legs in brown pants, and two sets of feet, both in dirty shearing slippers, a moccasin style slipper

Photo by Nich McElroy for Vogue. Shearing sisters’ shearing slippers. Mine, at left, and Carrie Butler’s, at right.

If you had told me I’d end up in Vogue, and for sheep shearing no less, I’d have called you a liar. But there it is.

A small group of gray, black, and white sheep munching alfalfa

Vogue: Women of the Wool. Photos by Nich McElroy.

I am so grateful to this esteemed publication for showing where our clothes come from, and for telling the world about the most wonderful people I know, who do things like run into sky-high fires to save sheep, and offer to drive four hours to come get you out of snowstorms in the Sierra, and so much else besides. I love them in a way I can scarcely convey.

How did this happen? I certainly did not call Anna Wintour and say “So I’m shearing some sheep this weekend… You busy?” No, this is what happens when Robert Irwin, of Kaos Sheep Outfit, calls you and says “What are you doing Saturday?” And you say “Shearing sheep.” And he says “What about Sunday?” And you say “I’ll be having my first day off in six months.” And he says “No, I need you to come shear my sheep.” And you say “NO.” And he says “It’s a photo shoot for Vogue!” And you say “Well that’s a new one” and show up to shear, even with a torn scapula, because the man deserves an A for effort plus bonus points for cleverness.

I swear, I thought that man was fibbing until the camera came out. The photo of my feet beside Carrie Butler’s makes me cry, because she’s my shearing sister and we’ve been through the wars together, since day one of shearing school. This is quite a day for my people and our craft. Thank you, Vogue.

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