Spon Spun Festival 2017 A Grand Time Was Had By All

The Spon Spun Festival 2017 has seen the Weavers’ Workshop taking part in a number of workshops making ceramics, fabulous fruits and table cloths for the Party Picnic. The picnic was the final festival event which took place on Sunday evening of Heritage weekend and was the culmination and celebration of all the events that have taken place over the summer months.

Val and Ingrid making ceramic dishes for the picnic
(Picture courtesy of Spon Spun volunteers Andy and Helen Nelson

Printing the Big Party Picnic tablecloth – Val, Ingrid and Sandra
(Picture courtesy of Spon Spun volunteers Andy and Helen)
We also took part in three Spun Outside Saturday events during August and September – taking weaving activities out into the local Spon End community alongside other organisations. – Beryl tied to a lampost being aided and abetted by a lovely Romanian woman, unable to speak any English but very adept at weaving, will live long in the memory! We never did get to know our friend’s name!

(Picture courtesy of Spon Spun volunteers Andy and Helen Nelson)

(Picture courtesy of Spon Spun volunteers Andy and Helen Nelson)
(Picture courtesy of Spon Spun volunteers Andy and Helen Nelson)
We made colourful woven hula hoops and butterflies, a great many stick woven flowers and colourful long strips of fabric all of which made for a striking installation in the local children’s park alongside Ruth Spaak’s fabulous fruits adorning a nearby tree. Local residents would have been surprised and entertained by the strange additions to their outside space.

We all enjoyed getting to know others and finding out about local community organisations in the area such as Wild Earth whose beautiful hand carved spoons made from found wood, were a source of great inspiration along with various woven bark artefacts. We agreed that there is great potential in working together to bring weaving into the woods alongside other bushcraft activities. Beryl and Sara can’t wait! A session of wooden spoon carving is high on their wish list!

Diane and Sara also facilitated a number of knitting sessions at Fargo where strips for picnic blankets were created and then crocheted and stitched together – the group made 3 in total, (Sandra’s prolific knitted output made one complete blanket!). They were an eclectic array of colours and textures which looked great and were a colourful addition to the ceramic plates, bunting and printed tablecloths made for the picnic.

(Picture courtesy of Spon Spun)
Weavers’ also produced some glorious and colourful seat pads for the newly refurbished Oasis cafe – and it’s lovely to be contributing to the well-being and sense of local community – as well as enjoying a cuppa and a delicious bacon batch or bowl of soup in the cafe space! (See Peggy’s previous blog entry documenting the presentation of the seat pads for pictures of gorgeous shapes and colours and the fitting of pads to seats )

Our final piece de resistance was the cutting of the Coventry Blue cloth on the Sunday morning of Heritage Weekend – which marked the end of a season- long weaving project which saw us trekking down to London on a miserable February day to source suitable spun yarn (lovely Cheviot wool was chosen), woad dyeing in the Weaver’s house garden on the first full Open Day in April, warping up in the depths of Room 4 and emerging blinking into the spring sunshine, equipped with our faithful pop up loom to engage members of the public in the process of weaving and seeing for themselves what Coventry Blue cloth might have looked like.

Woad dyeing in The Weaver’s House garden. No colour to be seen!
(photo courtesy of Alan Van Wijgerden)

Margaret wielding the scissors! “Shall I shan’t I!”

We wonder whether it is the first piece of Coventry Blue (woad dyed) cloth to be woven in the city for 450 years! Albeit it is a contemporary 21st century interpretation. There was never any intention to reproduce the medieval processes involved in the making of Coventry Blue as no one really knows what these were or what the actual colour of Coventry Blue looks like. It was much more about giving the public a hands on experience of cloth weaving on a small loom, enabling them to understand the technicalities involved and appreciate Coventry’s rich textile weaving history, particularly around Coventry Blue.

Holding the newly revealed cloth aloft for all to see!

The length of beautiful woven cloth then formed part of the Spon Spun Arts Trail on the Sunday afternoon.

It has been an exciting few months and it feels as though our links to neighbouring organisations and the community have strengthened through our Spon Spun activities, one of the main aims of the festival – as well as celebrating the rich history and heritage of the area which The Weaver’s House and The Weavers’ Workshop are well placed to do.

We’re looking forward to continuing to build on what’s been established, supporting our immediate neighbours Grapevine in the coming months, taking weaving activities into the Oasis cafe for local residents to enjoy and heading into the woods to do our own woven version of bushcraft survival.

A big thank you to you weavers’ for all your creative efforts and enthusiasm over the last few months! Without you, none of the above would have happened.

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