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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tape Loom Demonstration in Newtown CT

Newtown Historical Society, December 2008
Many people came out to Newtowns Winter Festival inspite of the cold. Here at the Historical Society, located in the Matthew Curtiss House on Main Street, was build around 1750. Much of the house is original including the impressive kitchen fireplace.
I set up my table tape loom, seen here being operated by a member of the museum staff. Two young girls were in costume to help too, and they soon learned how to weave on this simple loom.
I sat nearby in my 1800s outfit, keeping warm and working my paddle loom as shown in previous blog entries.
Come see their spring event on May17, I will be demonstrating pottery on my treadle wheel.

Christmas at Storrowton Village

Storrowton Village at the Big E Fairground in Springfield MA is decorated every December for Christmas. This year the Volunteers and Staff did a wonderful job of decorating the old houses and buildings in the Early American tradition. Fruit slices, garlands of nuts and berries, greenery, fabric wreaths and cinnamon and spice. There was even an ice sculpture and live animals on the green.

I was there with some fellow crafters, braving the cold in the old barn. A broommaker, chair carver, hat maker and me demonstrating Scraffito pottery in miniature, all huddled in the barn demonstrating our skills. The fireplace kept us pretty warm this year. The weather was dry and there was no breeze.

Check it out next year if you are looking for another way to celebrate the Christmas season, you will not be disapointed! And its FREE!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tape Loom Class

--Republican American, November 19th 2008

The first class was to my Goshen kids at Camp Coch this summer. The children did a nice job... but there were too many in the classes!

My second class teaching the fine art of Early American Tape making was at the Litchfield Historical Society. I was excited to hear that 13 people signed up, but was a little leary of that many people working in a tangle of threads and fitting around a room.

My paddle tape loom boards need to be attached to a door handle or something firm about 4 feet from the weaver. I attached cup hooks every 12 inches to a narrow plank and clamped this to a table. Then the weavers attached their warp threads to these hooks and placed chairs in a semi circle around the room.

I soon found 13 was quite a number of people to fit into this room and finish in an hour and a half! The set up of any loom is the longest and tedious part of the set up. Once the students got set up though and realized how the loom works, they did a beautiful job. We just ran out of time to get much tape finished!

Some bought a loom, and others planned to make one themselves. Some can now say they have learned something new and have a piece of weaving to prove it. These looms are simple to make and work and once they crasped the concept, I hope they will be able to tell others how looms work. It is another bit of history too. In years past, women would take these simple looms to friends houses or work on making rolls of tapes for future use in their spare time. Tapes like these were used as ties and bindings on clothing and fabrics before the use of zippers and mass produced ribbons.

There is a page on my web site if you would like to learn more about them.

Harwinton Fair, CT

My first year at the Harwinton Fair... October 2008... Only 10 minutes from my house, but in October! Cold weather and making pottery is not usually a fun time. Putting your hands into water and exposing them to the cold air for hours is a chilling experience. But the Harwinton Fair people offered me an inside spot out of the wind in their beautiful Historical Building.

I met a new group of re-enactors... new group to me. I was invited to lunch, a fabulous meal cooked outside on their campfires. I enjoyed their company and insites into their re-enactors experiences and learned the craft of rope-making.

The giant mushrooms on my front lawn are an annual October occurance, but have nothing to do with re-enacting... just really neat!