Sunday, August 23, 2015

Preserving the Past

This month our guild participated in the Qualicum Beach Museum's children's day event. Like museums in many small towns, ours focuses on the local history, the people who built the community, local industry and historic buildings.  In addition to the usual displays the museum has an extensive fossil collection.
Since one of our goals is to keep the art of hand spinning and hand weaving alive we have an interest in common with our local museums.  Events of this type are a great way to connect with people who appreciate the work involved in hand crafts.
For the children's day event some of the more portable exhibits were put into use.  Children were given a taste of what life would have been like at the turn of the century. They got to make whirly-gigs and other toys, try their hand at splitting wood with a wedge (more watching than doing), scrub socks on a wash board, identify artefacts and of course spin and weave.

As always spinning wool into yarn was a big hit with the young ones.  This time we brought along drop spindles to demonstrate how simple tools would have been used and how fine a yarn can be produced using this method.

Our 2 harness demonstration loom got a work out.  Some of the children could hardly reach the levers but that did not dampen their enthusiasm for trying.  Most were quick to get into the rhythm of passing the shuttle through the shed, changing the shed and beating.  Some were very enthusiastic beaters.  That weft was sure packed tight.   

 For those that wanted more complexity we had a 4 harness loom set up for mug rugs.  This narrow loom may not look like a typical harness loom but it functions in the same manner.  The black metal rods are the "heddles" in 4 rows.  Each row is controlled separately just as you would raise or lower a harness.  This loom has produced many scarves over the years.

Next month we will be attending the Lighthouse Community Fall Fair in Bowser.  We will have a large indoor display as well as demonstrations.
For more information on the fair check
lighthouse fall fair

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Art in Action in Qualicum Beach

tea towels blowing in the wind
We are fortunate to live in an area with a varied and vibrant arts culture.  There are numerous opportunities to enjoy local music, theatre arts and visual arts events.  One of our favourite summer events is the Art is Action gathering which gives local artisans an opportunity to show off their works.  For groups like ours it is also a chance to attract new members.

The photo shows our clothesline with tea towels.  We started with a lot more of them but by the time the photo was taken many had gone to new homes.

An outdoor display of weaving can be difficult to put together on a hot summer day.  Many of our guild members work in wool, especially those that spin their own yarn. In the heat of the summer wool garments or blankets are not very appealing no matter how lovely they may be.  We have to depend upon items made from cotton, linen, silk or synthetic threads to demonstrate the range of weaving styles and techniques.

Pat's funky scarf

inside our booth
Here we are relaxing during a quiet moment while Pat demonstrates spinning.  The little table loom is an old 2 harness Leclerc that serves as our demonstration loom.  We also had a second, 4 harness loom set up with a scarf warp.
We were soon busy as the crowds finished their grocery shopping and headed our way.

demonstration in progress

demonstrating the 4 harness loom

 The spinners were set up at the front of the booth at least until a few drops of rain started to fall but we were lucky in that the blacker clouds floated on past us.

spinner's new shoes