Guest at Henne, Gans & Co

A pottery course with Melanie Follmer from 3punktf in Bardowick | Lüneburg takes us as overnight guests to the Elbe River by Henne, Gans & Co to Krusendorf. Close to German history and to the presence of Karin Falter, a courageous entrepreneur with an old profession: felter.

Dare to do something

Karin is a woman of many talents. She has 15-year-old twins, a man, a dog, three cats, an ever-changing number of sperm chickens and running ducks and 13 Gotland sheep. Since 2013, she has lived in the Biosphärenreservat Niedersächsische Elbtalaue in Krusendorf, a village with ten old, well-preserved courtyards and a village church. With passion she gives felt lessons and offers accommodation on her lovingly restored estate. You can choose between a beautiful apartment in the main house or two removed construction trailer on the green meadow. The special thing about her: she moved out of conviction from the West to the East of Germany.

Miles of avenues and sleepy villages

Finally the A7 at Lüneburg escaped, our way leads to Krusendorf, via the B216 to Dahlenburg and from there to New Darchau to the ferry over the Elbe. We drive through miles of avenues, pass small villages, with their typical north german houses with the red bricks, sometimes a thatched roof rises up. It’s early June, huge hose drums are on the giant grain fields. It hasn’t rained since March, now it needs watering. But the harvest will be bad because of the ongoing heat and drought. In the already ripe ears are hardly grains.

Arriving in New Darchau, we wait for the ferry. Lined to the left and right by sandbanks, the Elbe lies quietly there. Sometimes you see sunbathers on colorful blankets, then cranes and storks again. Green as far as the eye can see. In the distance, a group of cyclists cycle along the levee. 350 meters it is to the other shore.

Against oblivion

The light breeze on the water does well after the long drive. “Tanja,” the car and passenger ferry takes us to the other shore in Darchau. Payment is paid directly on the ferry, the children are given gummy bears, slowly holiday atmosphere comes up. Only 12 kilometres left, then we have reached our destination. Back on land, after the first 500 meters on the left, we see a man-high sign: Here, Germany and Europe were divided by 25 November 1989 at 12:30. The 109 signs of memory along the former inner German border were initiated by the joint initiative of the Federal Transport Ministers on the European culture of remembrance of 2007. They show the day and time when the border was passable for the first time. At last it dawns on us: We are in the “East.”

“I can do so much here and often I am one of the first.”

Karin sees the East as an opportunity. She’s a doer. One who moved out of the Odenwald and has dared and created something with her husband and children. The inspiration provided Hilal Sezgins book “Country Life” from the year 2011. A journalist who had moved from Frankfurt to a farm in the “Lüneburger Heide”, lives there with sheep, chickens and geese and describes in a very honest way the joys and sufferings of country life. On the way home, after a holiday on the Baltic Sea, Karin drove spontaneously from the A7 in the direction of “Lüneburger Heide”. She wanted to see what she read with her own eyes. She immediately fell in love with the vastness of this landscape and was even more enthusiastic as she drove across the Elbe River.

In Krusendorf, a district of Neuhaus in Niedersachsen, with a population density of 22 inhabitants per km², compared with Lüneburg with 1059 inhabitants per km² or Munich with 4714 inhabitants per km², the family acquired a property at the end of 2011. It took a lot of imagination to find the house, built in 1894, together with the outbuildings and the associated property beautiful. Friends and acquaintances were horrified and said: There is still a lot to do. Step by step, Karin and her family have created a wonderful place to live and work in recent years, with a lot of energy, taste and flair for the materals.

Occupation: felter

Karin can tear down walls, lay floors, plaster walls, and handle plants, animals and humans well. But her great passion is wool, wool, wool. She has been working with felt since 2009 and her work brims with creativity. It started with her son Pelle’s phrase “Mom, make me a chicken, but not such a little one, a big one!” The chicken was followed by more animals. Unique ones so individual, unique characters with expressive facial expressions and loving details.

Constantly, Karin comes up with something new that she can create from wool. Cuddly hot water bottles or the ingenious “vegetarian skins”, with a surface of the wool of their Gotland sheep and a base of regional wool. No animal has to die for it, only make itself “naked.”

“To felt is an old, wonderful, easy-to-learn craft.”

In her workshop, Karin gives classes and teaches children and adults the technique of wet filting. Meanwhile, their profile in the region is rising. She often receives one or the other tip, where live in the area farmers with rare sheep breeds, z. B. Wensleydale or Scottish Blackface.  Their wool then becomes unique works of art to touch again. So everything remains in the flow and cycle of nature – that’s important to Karin and her family.