Monday, July 30, 2012

Qualicum Beach Art in Action

The Qualicum Weavers and Spinners were invited to take part in "Art in Action", an event organized by The Old School House Gallery (TOSH) in Qualicum Beach.  This event was part of the anniversary celebrations for both TOSH and the town.  It involved many of the artisan groups that are active in the area.  There were fiber artists, potters, painters, wood workers, a blacksmith and musicians.  The groups were encouraged to demonstrate their craft as well as displaying finished items. 

We decided to show folks how a utilitarian item such as a tea towel can still be a work of art so we "hung out the wash" along one side of our booth.  The fluttering towels attracted a lot of attention and many questions.  The most common being, "do you actually use them to dry dishes?"  The answer was yes but we also hang them on the handle of the oven door as camouflage if it is a particularly messy oven.
Our members have diverse interests that grow out of spinning and weaving so our exhibit included baskets, felted items, tapestry, hand spun yarn and fabric.
While people admire the displays, it is the demonstrations that create the opportunity to engage the public.  It is lovely to see Audrie's finished Zebra but it comes alive when you can actually see her working on a piece.  Demonstrations are important to show the amount of time and the skill involved in creating a unique piece.
The visitors that came to our booth did not hang back when it came to asking questions or trying things for themselves.  Our demonstration loom was as popular as ever with the younger set.  This time we had an inkle loom along with the harness loom and so we were able to show how the harness loom developed from a simpler device.  Even the adults were intrigued by the loom mechanism.  They left our booth with a new understanding of the term "warped". 
   The spinners drew quite a crowd.  We had high tech and low tech demonstrations and were even able to persuade a few visitors to try "spinning" yarn with a stick.  There were an extraordinary number of photographers at this event so the spinners have been immortalized many times over.  I suspect the photos taken were better than these.   
Later in the afternoon as the sun moved to the west and the blacktop got a little too warm our thoughts turned to shady places, ice cream and a comfortable chair. 

If you missed us at the Art in Action event look for us at the Bow Horne Bay, Lighthouse Community, Fall Fair on September 1st.  This is a real old fashion country fair with corn on the cob as well as the weavers and spinners.