There was a wonderful editorial written by Linda Ligon in one the HandWoven issues where she talked about the early memories of textiles. Over the years Linda had noticed that an amazing number of her textile friends made references to watching a relative weave, sew, or spin. Linda used her editorial position as a means of challenging the textile community to find a way to reach out to the children and give them this exposure. The new spinners need to come from somewhere!
In my case I had two wonderful grandmothers who were also involved with textiles. One grandmother was a knitter, sewer, and embroiderer, and the other did crochet, tatting, and the most amazing custom Christmas ornaments each year. No spinners, but I learned to love the touching and handling of the finished goods which I think is a key interest to spinners.
There are a lot of ways that you can help kids encounter hand spinning. I am an inveterate spindle-spinner and usually have one with me for those times when I'm stuck in line at the grocery store or DMV. I periodically demonstrate at the county fairs. About every three years, I go into my sister's fourth grade class and teach the kids how to make and then use drop spindles.
Several years ago, my weaving guild was approached about helping with a kids craft day at the Palo Alto Cultural Center. I went in with two other adults, 20 dish pans, odds-and-ends from my dyeing, a bagful of destroyed knee-high stockings, and taught 300+ kids how to make felted cat toys -- in about four hours. It was great. In the process, we made a huge mess, sprayed water on a bunch of parents (outside), and had a ball. As a nice bonus, I also got to use up a bunch of surplus fiber.
So I would like to extend the challenge to the members of the Mining Company textile community. I know we are all busy with work and family, but I want each of you to try and find a way to "Expose Yourself to Art" a la Bud Clark's poster from the 70's.
I would like to hear from others about how they helped kids learn about spinning.
If you have comments, please send email to: Rosemary Brock.
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