A day in the Stables

And my goodness, what a busy day it was.

I realised, on about Thursday last week, that I hadn’t really done an event before that required so many different strands of activity. Displaying my work to the buying public, yes. Ditto with a loom along for a demo. Workshops, yes. But displaying my work, showing how it came to be and running workshop activities all at once, nope. Getting people weaving is a lot of fun, but it also requires a lot of concentration, so I focused mainly on that and let my own work speak for itself.

The stables were quite dark inside, so I put up a display about my Firth of Tay yardage on the wall outside, with some large photos, as many samples as I could fit in a box, and a print out of this blog post, which turned out to be quite a handy resource to have prepared.

Cambo - Firth of Tay

You might just be able to see some cushions through the door on the left. They and the scarves were too dark to photograph in situ, but I had table looms by the window (on one of the longest tables I have ever seen).

Cambo - looms

They were set up for the weaving of little ‘spring flower’ coasters, like these,

Cambo floral coaster

and were fantastically well used. I lost count of how many weavers were made during the course of the day, but one boy came back three times for ever more complex weaving challenges so he has definitely been bitten by the bug!

We* had a table on the other side of the room for wet finishing, so that people could see their wool transformed before they took it home – alas it was too cold to get anything dry, so it was a case of sending folk away with a damp coaster in a plastic bag and a printed set of instructions for the final steps. There was some great weaving done, so I hope they do get finished and don’t moulder in the back of the car until someone wonders what that strange smell is…

*I say ‘we’ because I could not have managed the day – and particularly the scouring part of it – without S. For instance, the nearest source of hot water was up at the main house, so to keep us all from freezing our fingers he was trekking back and forth with a thermos for most of the afternoon.

The other technology challenge was getting enough of a signal on my phone to use the paypal card reader. I managed it once – by dragging the poor customer right across to the other side of the yard – but the effort of doing both internet and bluetooth was too much for the battery and the second time I tried, it crashed and that was that. To be honest, though, I was quite impressed with the once that did work. Given the location, I wasn’t optimistic.

I didn’t get much opportunity to see what the other makers were up to, although just before we started I did get as far as my nearest neighbour in the venue, Leonie MacMillan of Siri Ceramics. I really liked the work she had brought: tiny little roughly shaped vessels, called Lagunas, and miniature figures of people swimming – like little votive offerings. For her workshop activity she had the children making little clay pigs (I think I mentioned the pigs). I saw some of the finished pieces being carried triumphantly home and they were delightful. Fife weaver Julia Complin was based at the far end of the building from me – we had a chance to chat during setting up but I never did get back to appreciate her scarves properly.

Overall it was a pretty demanding event, but it was very enjoyable and rewarding. Yes, I think I would do it again.

A day in the Stables” was posted by Cally on 23 March 2015 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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5 Responses

  1. neki rivera

    pretty samples , pretty looms lined up. may i suggest that you place the weavers? backs to the window? they’ll have light on the weaving and weave comfortably without the glare.

    • Cally

      Alas, the impression of glare in the photo is seriously misleading! There was barely enough light coming through the window to see by – stand with your back to it and you wouldn’t see your own hands. (I had originally thought I’d have the looms sideways to the window, but the table was SO long it actually ran from the door to the far wall with no way around it! Interesting space…)

  2. Charlotte Engstad

    An extremely busy day indeed! The coasters looks fantastic and give really a great impression of what weaving is about and how fun it is. Can i ask what kind of looms these are? Are they expensive?

    • Cally

      They are Ashford table looms, Charlotte. New they cost about 500 GBP each for this size, which is a 40 cm weaving width. I bought a couple new and have a couple secondhand, and they are really popular at workshops – people do seem to find them easy to use.

  3. MegWeaves

    What a lot of work. Well done both of you.