Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Catching Up

I have been many places since I last posted!  In June I participated in The Mannings Annual Spinning Seminar by setting up a large display of Tartans & Tweeds, including my entire Harris Tweed coat & jacket collection.  I also did two waulkings during the day - the traditional Scottish method of wet finishing cloth with many hands thumping and passing the cloth around a table to the rhythm of old songs.

If you are interested in learning more about waulking, you can listen to this podcast of a waulking I led at the Penland School in North Carolina back in 2007.

During the first week of July I drove up to Western Massachusetts to meet up with Nanette & Jan Davidson and their son, Sam.  Jan is the director of the John C. Campbell Folk School and Nanette is a fellow weaver and one of the first people I met at the Folk School back in 1997.  Nanette had arranged a day of study for us at the Hancock Shaker Village; they generously provided us with a staff person for most of the day and with her guidance we examined many of the pieces in their textile collection.

We looked mostly at Shaker rugs, but I also spent some time with the garments, tapes and linen towels.  It was very exciting to see the pieces up close, many of which Nanette and I had only previously seen in books as small black & white photographs.

We also toured the Sister's Weave Shop - Nanette wove a little on one of the looms!

And we looked around the 1830 Brick Dwelling and the Round Barn.  I have visited Hancock several times before and taken lots of photos... I wonder if I can still find them?  We were completely saturated from looking at all the textiles so we gave the gift shop a quick perusal and then refueled on salads at the cafe.

The next day I went to visit my son, Robbie in Northampton for the day and then drove up into the White Mountains of New Hampshire to spend the night at the Shalimar Resort, were Nanette & I swam in the lake and we all feasted on lobsters.

All in preparation for our Sunday visit to the Canterbury Shaker Village.  We had been unable to arrange a behind the scenes adventure here as we visited on a weekend, but Nanette & I took two tours and then explored the village on our own.  There were lots of textiles to see and a local woman demonstrating weaving in a portable band loom.  No photographs were allowed inside the buildings.  So we saw many things that I cannot share here, but it is well worth a visit.

At the end of August I drove up to New England once again to visit family and friends, but the focal point of this trip was Norman Kennedy's 80th birthday party.  It was a big bash in the huge barn at Kate Smith's house near Plainfield; where Kate runs Eaton Hill Textile Works.  There were about 150 people from all over the US and the world, one of the biggest pot luck suppers I have seen since my wedding, a waulking, contra dancing and music and songs.  My sister Annie & I were among about 35 people who had studied weaving with Norman over the years - Annie took her first class at the Marshfield School of Weaving in 1979 and I began there in 1980.
The party was a fitting tribute to a man who has given so much to so many people.  Lang may his lum reek!

There's more!  I had a number of music gigs in August and September - I sing with a wonderful group of musicians in a band called the Flaming Shillelaghs, and we did two concerts for the Bluemont Concert Series in August and then we played for the Glen Echo Irish Arts, Music & Dance Festival over the Labor Day weekend and once again for the CCE Irish Folk Festival in Fairfax, VA later in September.  I will tell you more about my Irish music adventures in another post, because there are many interesting stories and journeys to relate.

I taught three classes for the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival right here in Berryville

and then in October I did a wool waulking at the Waterford Fair,

prepared a new weaving display for George Washington's Mount Vernon and went on a vacation and research trip with my husband for two weeks in England and Ireland.  More on that later, I promise!  Photos, too.

In November I taught my 18th c. Linens class at the John C Campbell Folk School.  I was ably assisted by my friend Lucy Best and we had eight great students.  It is always a delight to teach at the Folk School and this week was particularly enjoyable with such an amiable group of weavers.

OK, coming soon - more about Irish music, touring Cornwall, researching Donegal Tweed!