Alba Ranch and all the critters have moved. We are now currently in New Era, MI. This is in the middle of cherry, apple and asparagus country only 5 miles from Lake Michigan. We have a lovely 20 acres complete with springs, stream, and our own pond. The property is covered with Sugar Maple Trees, Bramble Berries, Birch and Beech Trees. Oh and did I mention GRASS for the critters? It has a lovely little house, loads of barns and studios for all our artistic needs. Close access to civilization when we want, but seclusion the rest of the time. We are getting settled in and unpacking…perhaps for the next 6 months…years….forever??!! ha ha We have left the previous ABOUT information below as it does tell a lot of our history and well…what we are all about…..
Melisa met her husband Charlie online, dated and got married in 1999. At that time, Melisa moved to Scotland to be with Charlie. It was during this time that this blog started and it has evolved through many years from being a journal of her initial Weight Loss Surgery Journey, through moving to Colorado and now back in Michigan, with her Fiber Fanaticism and Holistic Healing.
Melisa is a Fiber artist. She has always been fascinated by Color, Texture, Nature and the Unusual! Its evidence can be seen in her photography, paintings, personal choice of clothing as well as the textiles and Fiber Art that she creates. It even shows in the choice of animals that she raises. She first encountered all of that in spades and realized how much she loved it while living in Peru in 1985. She has hiked El Camino de los Incas, the Inca Trail down into Manchu Picchu. She was introduced to REAL textiles while shopping and browsing the local markets in Cuszo and Urubamba. The weaving and fabrics of the Incas are fantastic.
She learned how to hand spin and weave in Aberdeenshire, Scotland where her husband was born and where they lived for the first 6 years of their marriage. She uses various types of sheep fleece and Angora Bunny Fleece in her creations. (Up until recently, she raised her own llamas, angora goats, cashmere goats, merino sheep, dorper sheep, Lincoln Long wool sheep, Teeswater sheep, Wensleydale sheep, and a whole lot more dairy goats than she has now.) She has had to cut down, hands are failing. She wanted to use the strength that she has to create, not clean up poop stalls!
Melisa hand spins, raises a few fur critters (llamas and dogs), hand weaves, hand dyes, felts and crochets. She is a photographer, preferring black and white for portrait work and color for landscape photos. Her photography is old school film. (BA in Communications from GVSU.)
Melisa is also a holistic healer. She works with sound healing using handpans, singing bowls, ocarina, voice, drums, kalimba…and trying to get the hang of her new digeridoo. Crystal healing, Homesteading, Aromatherapy, Reiki, nutrition are all a part of her work. Melisa is a registered Bach Flower Practicioner on the International Registry and has numerous other certifications including a HNC in Complementary Therapies from Frasurburg College in Scotland. Massage, Reflexology, Indian head massage, No Hands Body Massage and Intuitive Crystal Healing are some of the areas she has studied. A large portion of her training was completed in Scotland, England and Wales and continuing mentor training in Colorado.
Charlie is really into photography and oil painting and is considering starting into water colors as well. He has it on the back burner to learn how to weave pictorials perhaps in the Navajo style. He is utterly fabulous at getting those special critter photos that we all try for and only manage a furry blur! You know that photo. He fixes Melisa’s fiber tools and helps her warp the looms and is beginning to make weaving tools. He is an engineer by trade and university studies (Robert Gordon’s Institute of Technology) and gets all that logical math putting together stuff. Warping usually escapes Melisa and only with Charlie’s help has she been able to learn enough to warp her own looms now.
Alba Ranch is Melisa and Charlie Morrison. Melisa is the Fiber Freak and Charlie is the Fine Arts Person.
Charlie is born and raised in Scotland and Melisa is from Michigan. They met online, courted through email and got married in 1999. Melisa moved to Scotland for the first 6.5 years of their marriage and that is where she discovered spinning. In February of 2006, they moved with their beloved 7 Scottish Border Collie dogs back to the USA and out west to Colorado to a ranch tract of undeveloped land to start homesteading and their high altitude living.
In Nov 2007, Melisa got her first loom and taught herself to weave in order to have something to do with all her hand spun yarns. She has since fallen in love with weaving.
In June 2009, Melisa and Charlie are exhibited at “Strut Your Stuff” continuing through July 4 at the Freemont Center for the Arts, 505 Macon Ave. Canon City, CO 81212. The Daily Record wrote an article featuring Melisa and Charlie and written by Debbie Bell.
In 2011: both Melisa and Charlie are exhibited at Art Prize 2011 in Grand Rapids, MI. Melisa with handspinning and handwoven Wearable Art. (Bits and Bobs.) Charlie with original oil paintings on canvas. (A Year in A Day.)
Melisa and Charlie are exhibited at the Waters Building. 161 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI. September 21 through October 9, 2011.
Feb 2012: Melisa was just featured in an article by Spin Artiste. Come read about her and the amazing critters of Alba Ranch. http://www.spinartiste.com/featured-artist-melisa-morrison-of-alba-ranch
July 2013: Alba Ranch pulled up stakes and moved cross country from the front range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to the woods on the shores of Lake Michigan… that would be 4 llamas, 21 goats, 10 cats, 14 dogs, 3 semis of stuff, 2 trucks, 2 trailers, 4 vintage cars and a whole lotta stress.
We are still unpacking.
June 1, 2014: Things did not go to plan on the new ranch and we had to pack things back up into storage as about 6 of our buildings had to have serious work done or they would have collapsed under the huge weight of snow received this last year. Due to all that, we were not really ready for winter the way that Melisa likes to be prepared and hit with the worst snow in over 50 years made it a difficult winter. We hope to soon be able to start unpacking the storage units and moving all the fiber creative stuff back home. It has been frustrating not having it available.
We did get a paint studio partially built for Charlie and a main studio and fiber studio that Melisa has mostly taken over. We are planting an orchard this year, doing more conservation tree removal, and still down sizing animals. Hopefully we will unpack a bit more this year and be able to create again.
Updtate Jan 2019: we are still unpacking….sigh….
There was so much work to do for the ranch, critters and outbuildings that the house was put on hold. All the critter and outside stuff is mostly unpacked with half or more of the house stuff also. The house is very small…950 sq ft more or less and has next to no storage. We are getting that storage sorted and built and the last of things unpacked and moved out of storage units. That was our goal last year 2018 and is our goal for 2019 and every year until it is done!!
We have unpacked about three quarters and donated a lot. More of that to come this year. Melisa and her fiber have now taken over the house and sunroom as well so storage building is slow around the fiber treasures.
They currently live in the woods near the shore of Lake Michigan on their homestead and small orchard with all the critters back in Michigan.