Fiona gave a wonderful talk on tapestry weaving. Her work is narrative and full of simple abstract imagery, deceptively simple considering the design that goes into the process. Her obvious love of colour comes from her early childhood in India.
The development of spinning and weaving from cottage pursuits to factory endeavours was explained by Dick Moriarty in a way which enabled us to understand the relentless march of what looked like progress (for those with money and power) but which over the march of time threw countless skilled workers out of work. The architecture of the mills was explained and the cleverness of the design of Farfield Mill – which was a spinning mill – was demonstrated.
Among our members we have the English ethnic group (are most of them Northerners?). They have relatives/ancestors who worked in the Lancashire cotton mills and the woollen mills in Yorkshire. And some of them, who are tapestry weavers, are designing work which refers to this heritage. Drawings are emerging which touch on the landscape around the mills, the mill buildings themselves, the water/power sources and there was mention of the Pendleton Hills (witches, too).
I hope you are enjoying the 2019 Challenge and finding out a bit about your own heritage or about the wonderful textile traditions of the different peoples of the world.
Fiona Moir led a full day workshop, aimed at dyeing yarns using a variety of different methods. The main fibres used were commercial and handspun protein bases (wool, alpaca, mohair, silk). Members brought design sources, pictures, colour schemes, and pics of yarn they liked the look of, and explored different techniques.
Our March meeting encouraged members to think creatively to help others to use up their stash of fibre and yarn in ways they hadn’t considered. A healthy spring clean, although what was a “destash” inevitably became a “restash” as members swapped goodies.
Alyne Jones gave a fascinating talk about the Highland Home Industries, illustrated by photographs from the 1912 diary of Isabella Burton Mackenzie and the archive of Winnifred Shand.
We had a well attended meeting to launch us into the new year. Members brought in bags of mulberry silk, mohair and linen to share for donations. Ruth Robinson instructed more than 10 of us in how to create boucle yarn. Some other techniques were also explored in this fully booked workshop.
To close off our meetings for the year we had our Christmas Party. In addition to tables laden with food, members bring in a selection of work completed over the year giving, everyone a chance to look at things closely and also to discuss the work with the creator for advice, technique guidance and inspiration.
We also use this day as an opportunity to give something back to the local community by providing some crafted items to a suitable cause. This year members knit Teddies (aka Trauma Teddies) which are available for the emergency services to distributed to children in traumatic situations, in the hopes of enabling communication and clamming the child down. It was wonderful to see such a range of teddies and PC Jen Wilson was grateful for the contribution and confirmed that they would be put to good use.
November saw many more of us succumbing to our winter wardrobes with lots of new handspun knits and weavings to admire.
Janet held a lively workshop where spinners, new and experienced, tried out different kinds of techniques and spindles, including high tops and Turkish spindles.
Our 10th annual gathering took place in a new venue which allowed for more vendors and more space to break out and provide demonstrations to visitors.
Vendors included Weft Blown, The Sleekit Hare (“fledgling” but already very talented dyer), Queen of Purls, (another wonderful dyer and proponent of ethical sourcing of wool), Flora Fibres (all vegan options and incredible colours from natural dyes), local Low Auldgirth Steading (if you’re seeking fleece from beautifully looked-after, naturally-happy and cheeky sheep), Fellview Fibres (some of the most stunningly prepared rolags we’ve ever seen), The Wheel Ewe and others.