Artist Linda Johnson-Morke
Linda Johnson-Morke is a shepherdess and fiber artist in Isanti, MN where she raises karakul sheep. She lived in a yurt in Mongolia while touring western Europe and Asia to learn felting history and traditions and brings a unique perspective to the world of fiber art through her education and experience in the fields of genetics and agricultural engineering. She combines her inquisitive need to know how wool fibers can be transformed into a beautiful, lasting felt with her passion and talent to create pieces of fiber art that transcend the physical limitations of their medium and become focal points to transport the viewer to a more primitive time when sheep were the life and livelihood of civilization. As a shepherdess of primitive breeds of sheep, Linda’s connection to her sheep is a thread that runs deep in her art and becomes a visible link between us and our ancestors who used wool to subsist, yet still managed to cultivate a beauty in their need for clothing, shelter, bags and blankets.
Honing her craft with feltmakers in Finland and Mongolia has led to her art winning awards at fiber fairs as far flung as Wisconsin, Minnesota and Taos, New Mexico. She has taught for over two decades in seven states and will continue to reach more people through the Yurt Project.
Linda’s work, while rooted in the science that grounds her, evokes the raw ecology of the primitive sheep breeds tended by the Mongolian herdsmen on the Altai steppes. The wild nature of the wool comes through in her art and is a perfect fit for the Yurt Project’s blending of a tapestry of the circular life of sheep-to-shelter that is literally embodied in the traditional spherical design of the yurt.