hand-me-down (part 1)

the workshops

Six workshop at two venues.

Forty five participants and two facilitators.

100 cups of tea and coffee and numerous slices of delicious cake.

hand-me-down part 1 is complete.

Jackets off, introductions made, eyes smiled and we scanned the room before seats were taken.

We began.

A mini-projector suspended over our heads showing eighteen minutes of film and images on a pristine white tablecloth, pressed for projection.

From Foula to Gullane, Tannadice to the Gorbals, St Kilda to Leadmills figures in black and white and faded technicolour stared out at us.

Fisherwives and nannies, farming lasses and gentry, craftworkers and domestic science teachers and mothers, sisters, aunts and daughters living through the First World War, our ancestors’ needlecraft skill and artistry was revealed.

From miner’s waistcoat to Fair Isle fashion, pincushions to patchwork, lace mourning wear to the royal wedding shawl winner from 1923 - these images of needlecraft lives passed before our eyes.

They sparked anecdotes, memories, recognition and appreciation.

Somehow these forgotten souls came closer, to sit by us as we picked up needles and yarn, beads and thread. Thoughts of the skills we have learnt and those that passed on their knowledge with patience and encouragement.

Material was touched, grouped and chosen. Ideas sketched and laid out. Fabric cut, thread selected to contrast or highlight. Our panels began to take shape.

Advice was sought and gladly given. New techniques tried, old favourites confidently achieved. Some stepped out of their comfort zones whilst others stuck happily to what they new.

Everyone sharing the rhythm, the focus and the community of our shared objective.

Time flew by and as eyes checked the clock, we gathered up what was needed to finish the task at home.

The post now brings parcels that we delight in opening.

Wrapped in tissue and bubble wrap, these precious momento mori of our craft beginnings and shared heritage, are revealed.

A deadline approaches.

And then to design and make,

through cold winter nights,

an exhibition to share and celebrate

this craft heritage

of then and now.

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