Monday, July 14, 2008

14 July: Heritage

Friday and Saturday were spent at Gibside (a NT place) demonstrating spinning at a Heritage Skills Fair.

It was a 3-day event, but I was there for only 2 days. The weather was completely awful on Friday, with pouring rain all day, and I suspect there would have been few visitors if they hadn't been herded in on buses from all the local schools. Saturday was dry, though the mud was still all around, and entry was free, so there were lots of people wandering past all day.

A bonus for me was the music. The fiddler on Saturday was able to walk around the whole site playing, but on Friday it was too wet for the 2 musicians, a girl with a fiddle and a lad with Northumbrian pipes and a fiddle (and one green sock and one orange sock) to go anywhere but our marquee - I had great rhythms for spinning. The chap making the event video filmed my feet treadling in time to the jigs and reels.

These events when the Guild has a stand and demonstrates weaving and spinning are all different, though one or two of the questions are very predictable. It still surprises me that so many people think it's unusual to have any sort of manual skill, or even to consider making anything yourself from scratch; are these the same people who buy ready-made meals in the supermarket? When did so many folk lose the ability to mend and improvise; when did they lose the will to do anything for themselves?

But the most unlikely-looking people have fascinating bits of information, or are involved in other minority activities which are often very interesting. You never know when somebody stands and watches what sort of conversation may start up.

They were quite long days, including the drive there and back, and it was tiring, being "full on" all the time, in the words of the Guild member who organised our stand.

But how else do I get the chance to sit and spin for 2 days solid, with a constant stream of people to chat to? And discover suddenly that I'm part of our "Heritage".


Murph said...

I think they ought to slap a preservation order on you Stitch.

stitchwort said...

Grade 1 listing, at least!