To people who follow Felicity Ford’s blog, it will come as no surprise that this year’s “Closing the Gap” theme for Wovember will feature a SONIK dimension! To introduce this SONIK element, we shall commence with a fun sheep sound factoid!

Did you know that the sounds of sheep being herded are some of the sounds included on the NASA Golden Record? The Golden Record is a large copper record featuring images and sounds representative of life and culture on the Earth. This record was sent up into space, so that if extra-terrestrial life-forms ever find our spaceships, they will be able to access sounds and images which will tell them about life on Earth. According to the NASA website:

The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University, et. al. Dr. Sagan and his associates assembled 115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals.

If you check the link for “Sounds of Earth“, you will see that in the list of sounds placed aboard the spacecrafts Voyagers 1 & 2, is Herding Sheep, Blacksmith, Sawing. That’s right! The sounds of SHEEP are floating in space somewhere, communicating the very basis of Earthly textiles to all the galaxies and the stars!

You will need to wear headphones to hear the sound properly as it’s not very clear, but with headphones you can distinctly make out the baa-ing sounds of sheep.

We at Wovember obviously approve of the inclusion of sheep and the sounds of shepherding on The Golden Record, and if NASA are planning to make another one, we would like to freely donate this excerpt from Hûrd – A KNITSONIK™ PRODUKTION so that extra-terrestrial beings can learn all about sheep, shepherding and where our WOOL comes from!

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Sadly there are no images of sheep to accompany the sounds of shepherding on The Golden Record, but perhaps WOVEMBER could supply some in the event of further Golden Record Creation?

For the purpose of future Golden Records, wouldn’t it be great to be able to show in some way that the sheep baa-ing in the recording above are mostly Rough Fell sheep, that they live on the fells in Cumbria, and that they look like this?

One last WOVEMBER thought on WOOL and The Golden Record is this; there was a bit of bruhaha surrounding the representation of sexual reproduction on the Earth in the photos included on The Golden Record, and NASA vetoed the inclusion of a photo of a naked man and pregnant woman holding hands, replacing it with this silhouette:

We at WOVEMBER feel the whole problem could have been overcome by cladding the jolly couple in 100% WOOL, such as perhaps this fine Rough Fell tweed!

This tweed suit belongs to Jane Knowles, who is a Rough Fell farmer in Cumbria. An older relation had the suit made up when she sent wool from her very own flock to a place in the North of England which could scour, spin and weave your raw fleeces into cloth for you. It is much harder for shepherds to have their fleeces turned into woven cloth today. However perhaps if we keep celebrating and exploring the value of WOOL, the industry can be revived in some form? Shepherds could once again send their fleeces off and have them back as woven cloth to wear as suits! Not only would this result in lasting garments with a traceable provenance, also, NASA wouldn’t need to be embarrassed about the naked couple on the Golden Record, as they could have fine woollen outfits made directly from the sheep on the “Sounds of Earth” recording!

BAA! More SONIK wool fun to follow.