I travel around the USA and demonstrate and teach about early American pottery making. When I work at fairgrounds, I do not have to be dressed quite as accurately as when I work at a museum demonstration.
When I first started my own pottery shop 32 years ago, I decided to make yellow ware. Yellow ware was used by immigrants here in New England in the 1700's. It was imported from England, where this style of pottery began. The English have a nice yellow clay and decorated it with slips and feathering.
I also live near the famous 1800's potter, Hervey Brooks, who lived and worked making red ware in his small shop which has been moved to Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts.
|Yellow ware.... East Knoll Pottery|
When I search for a new pattern for a dress, I do make my own, I look at paintings, museum archives and well done movies of the period for the background clothing. People in the backgrounds were common folk. They wore simple clothing, some a little worn and beaten, like they had been working as a potter.
And yes, there is very little written about women working in a pottery shop in the 1800's. Not only are there few records on potteries, but there are no photos of women decorating, packing and applying handles until the late 1800's. A woman throwing a pot was probably pretty scarce. Grace Parker took over her husband pottery shop in Charlestown Massachusetts after his death in 1742. That is a fascinating story related in Lura Watkins book, New England Potters and Their Wares.
Sense and Sensibility, the English novel by Jane Austin, was published in 1811. The sisters came from wealthy families but they lived on a budget.
There are a good many days of rain at a fair and I have been thinking I need a new straw hat. Sense I am also a weaver, why not make my own band instead of buying a store-bought ribbon?
I set up a plain or tabby weave. I used my small Easy Weaver, modified with two bars so I could spread out the threads. There is no beater, so I had to keep an eye on the width.
I used 8/2 cotton from Webs, about the same weight as crochet cotton but softer. I cut warp 12 feet long and the band came out about 7 feet long. The band came out 1 -1/2 inches wide.
I usually do warp-faced bands, so it was fun to do something different like this plain weave. My book, Tape Loom Weaving... simplified, does not include plain weave. It is a little different to do on a rigid heddle loom like a gate loom or box loom because the threads are spread out with the wooden heddle and this can be tricky, especially with 60 threads. If you are making or looking for a gate style loom, make sure you get one with 32 holes and 32 slots, 64 threads is a good size for making a band like the above or the pretty, fancy pick up bands.