Category Archives: Events

Wood Festival

This year we ran drop-in workshops on weaving, spinning and grinding wheat in the morning, and in the afternoon, we ran natural dyeing demonstrations. The workshops were as popular as ever. Some people stayed for hours peacefully weaving, we really enjoyed seeing them progress. The dyeing intrigued passers-by all day, we got lots of questions! It was gloriously sunny, Wood Festival always means that summer is on its way.

The dyeing was very successful, especially the cochineal, and we even tried ochre as an experimental dye. This year was a little windy and one of our newly dyed green and yellow scarves blew into a tree. It was so well disguised that we nearly left it behind!

woodfestival.tumblr.com

Buster Ancient Farm – Beltain Festival

We had great fun at Butser. Firstly, it was wonderful to be able to demonstrate spinning, weaving and natural dyeing in a newly built Neolithic Longhouse. We were kindly invited to the event by Ancient Music as part of our new partnership. Alongside them, we were also part of the Mumming group, performing the travelling play during the evening. Mumming has a long tradition and is related to Morris Dancing. Each character is always the same and the plot is similar every time it is played. Thanks for you lovely feedback. Many of the visitors also seemed to enjoy meeting Knobbin ‘Oss, who loved eating the garlands from ladies heads!

Not suprisingly, the event was very popular, thousands of people were there to watch the Wicker Man burn down to the sounds of Pentacle Drummers.

http://www.butserancientfarm.co.uk/beltain-festival-2015/

The two knights, St. George and Turkey Snipe, with Beelzebub and Little Johnny Jack behind. Photo courtesy of Emma Sumpster.

Ufton Court Family Open Day

Great to be back at Ufton. A successful day with many colours dyed and lots of weaving on the Iron Age warp-weighted loom. We also placed some little looms outside, resulting in spontaneous weaving!

The willow longship was growing very successfully and is clearly well used. It is fitting in well within the new living history area.

http://www.uftoncourt.co.uk/index.php/40-front-page-news/303-family-open-day

Our stall at Ufton Court.

The Vikings are coming to Wallingford Museum!

A lovely one-day local event for us, with plenty of crafty activities for families, including Martin Way, a brilliant re-enactor. Everyone we met, visitors, staff and volunteers alike were very interested in our demonstrations and extremely helpful.

http://www.wallingfordmuseum.org.uk

Martin Way blows a traditional Viking horn in our stall. Photo courtesy of the Oxford Mail.

Silchester Excavation Open Days

It was an honour to be invited to the last Silchester excavation open days. This Roman and Prehistoric excavation is a fantastic place for us to show some of the textile production techniques available to those people. We brought back the warp-weighted loom which we built for this event last year, and the students were very appreciative of an example of how the archaeology they were finding would have been used. We also modelled our new loom weights on finds from Silchester and Salisbury Museum.

Also many thanks to Kevin Standage Photograhy for giving us use of photos from his Silchester series.

www.reading.ac.uk/silchester/visit-the-roman-town/sil-visit-silchester-roman-town

Grand opening of the new Wessex Gallery – Festival of Archaeology

To celebrate the new Wessex Gallery, the Salisbury Museum held a day of events for the public. We had a wonderful spot on the front lawn, which was great for displaying our rainbow of natural dyes – especiually as it was a very good dyeing day, with many of the colours working better than expected. It was great to be able to show how loom weights and spindle whorls are used, as there were archaeological examples of them in the new gallery.

http://www.salisburymuseum.org.uk

Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum Living History Week

Our first week-long event! It was very hot all week, and the tents which we brought in case of rain were used for shade instead. We were showing the story of cloth and teaching practical fibrecraft skills to primary school groups (years 3 to 6), a college group and a group of “the stitchers”, who volunteer for the museum making childrens costumes. A highlight of our experience was to be able to work with such a great group of museum volunteers over the week, who looked after the schools very well indeed, and helped our busy days run smoothly.

On the afternoon of the first day, we were given a sheep, which has been in one of the museum galleries for about 20 years, and they wanted to get rid of her! We’ve named her Gladys. She was very useful explaining to children where wool comes from, and we’ll do our best to give her a good home.

It was also great for the visitors to be there for so long, as we had time to set up some of the more complicated secondary coloured dyestuffs, which the groups visiting on Thursday and Friday really appreciated.

We were helping to give schoolchildren sneak peeks of the new Archaeology of Wessex Gallery.

http://www.salisburymuseum.org.uk/

Wood Festival

Wood is a wonderful first festival of the season. Small, family-friendly and very varied, they’re always very kind to us.

With spinning and weaving in the mornings and dyeing in the afternoons, we had a busy time. A lot of interested spinners and many children who mastered weaving on both the modern and Iron Age looms in a suprisingly short length of time! Weaving seems to have the power to transfix many children, and some returned to our workshops both days to get as much weaving done as they could!

The dyeing demonstrations and workshops were especially popular this year, many people got an opportunity to be on the our side of the rope and dye some wool themselves. We also dyed the new range of silk scarves, which will be on sale soon!

www.woodfestival.com

Museum of English Rural Life Craft Fair

A delightfully friendly craft fair in the most wonderful of settings – the galleries of the museum itself. This fair was ideal for the early christmas shopper, and had some brilliant local craftspeople displaying and selling their work. We look forward to being involved with the museum more in the future, after their redevelopment.

http://www.reading.ac.uk/merl/whatson/merl-tradcraftfair2013.aspx