Sunday, 29 May 2011

Happiness is in the small things…

Copper Dye Bath at Snowshill

or in my case, those things which don’t appeal to others but I can see a function for them make my heart sing.

In this case an obvious example this week was from Snowshill Manor. Now that is what I call a dyepot !

I have visited this National Trust property a couple of times over the years, with the kids in the past, and even though I knew they had spinning wheels there, I had totally overlooked them in the past.  Not because I wanted to, but the demands of small curious people outweighed an overwhelming interest in foreign flax wheels, badly dressed with wool placed for effect. 

I now take all of that back.  Snowshill has had a total overhaul, and a very obvious clean up.  A quick scan of the internet and search of their images though reflects a very disappointing absence of images for research purposes such as mine, and I would urge the NT to address this.

I found myself on the floor (say no more!) with the guide’s notes and I was transfixed.  Scribbling away for all I was worth, being stood on and tripped over by visitors in the narrow corridor – well - was the highlight of me week. 

I have lots of notes that I am going to do more research on.  The dampener on my enthusiasm is a lot of these wheels appear to be from abroad and confined to flax wheels only, but there are a couple of real gems and I shall get back to you on the details.  

It isn’t that I feel that foreign wheels are inferior – far from it, it is my interest in indigenous crafts ie Arts & Crafts from Britain.  It is worth remembering that until 1764 (or thereabouts) all thread used in cloth was hand spun – so the equipment must have existed, because I refuse to believe we all went about our business naked! For a start England was a cold place to live…

PS…Having quoted the date of 1764, which was the date that I had assumed that Hargreaves invented the Spinning Jenny, I came across a name I have never heard of Thomas Highs.  Well you learn something new everyday.

Off to find out about Girdle Wheels made by Webster.. any thoughts anybody?

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