When Selene Bloedorn-Saeed walked into the Waupaca Community Arts Center, spinning wheels and a loom caught her attention.
While she stopped there to see if there was interest in selling her hand-painted dollhouse furniture, she quickly realized she was interested in learning how to spin her own yarn.
“I was told I needed to meet Jane (Haasch),” Bloedorn-Saeed recalled. “I walked up to her and said, ‘Hi, I hear you have sheep.'”
That was about three years ago.
Bloedorn-Saeed’s husband Ali soon signed her up for a spinning class at the center.
Next, he and the couple’s oldest daughter, Fatima, joined her in taking Haasch’s floor loom weaving class.
“I became seriously addicted to it,” Bloedorn-Saeed said.
By the following year, Haasch asked her if she was interested in being an instructor.
Haasch, who owned Lamb’s Quarters, also mentioned her shop was for sale.
Bloedorn-Saeed talked to her husband about it.
Last spring, they talked again, and on Sept. 1, the deal was closed.
Bloedorn-Saeed’s business is called Glacial Acres, and she will celebrate with a grand opening on Thursday, Nov. 29.
“I was always interested in art,” she said.
Those interests particularly included artistic expression in the miniature field.
During college, which was at the Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Okla., the Little Chute native also taught herself to crochet.
It was in a classroom that she and Ali met.
Born in Yemen, he immigrated to the United States with his family at about 8 years of age and was raised in Queens.
“I got my diploma, got married, converted to the Islamic faith,” Bloedorn-Saeed said.
They began to raise their family in Menasha.
In 2006, they moved to rural Waupaca, where they began raising chickens and goats. They have since added sheep.
Their three children – 18-year-old Fatima, 14-year-old Khaled and 11-year-old Leyla – have been homeschooled and also play a role in Glacial Acres.
Fatima will be making goat’s milk soap, while Leyla is interested in making beeswax candles, balms and lotions from the honey bees the family raises.
Khaled makes origami jewelry, which is for sale at the arts center.
“He is interested in the financial end of the business. At some point, he wants his own business. He loves to bake,” Bloedorn-Saeed said. “He’s trying to learn about small business that can apply to his future.”
Ali will be doing some weaving, as well as beadwork and little paper journals.
“We’re very much about self sufficiency,” Bloedorn-Saeed said. “It’s all about being able to provide things for ourselves.”
She also makes cheese, yogurt and believes the idea to purchase Haasch’s business stems from their desire to provide for themselves.
Last spring, they began investing in sheep. “We have a few different breeds for different fibers,” Bloedorn-Saeed said.
She also has a source for alpaca yarn and will be teaching various classes.
Those interested in the fiber arts may visit the center for open knitting and crocheting, at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and from 6-8 p.m. on Thursdays.
Glacial Acres’s grand opening celebration will include a scavenger hunt in her part of the arts center. Those who participate will be entered in a drawing, which will include Khaled’s cake pops and a little surprise from Bloedorn-Saeed.
Her holiday plans include offering her hand-painted knitting bowls and also painted pet bowls, which will include handwoven collars and homemade pet treats.
She is at the center from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and also Fridays or Saturdays.