Sunday, 22 August 2010

Come see our exhibition in Winchester - Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing ...

Last Tuesday was the opening of the Hampshire Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers 60th anniversary exhibition called "Jubilations" being held at the Great Hall in Winchester. The exhibition was opened by Kaffe Fassett (knitters out there will know the name).

Opening ceremony with Kaffe Fassett

The Great Hall is a wonderful place and a perfect backdrop to all the wonderful work of the Guild, old and new. It is a 13th century hall part of the old Winchester Castle and houses the "greatest symbol of medieval mythology, King Arthur's Round Table". A magnificent building and well worth a visit if in the area.

One of our longstanding members of the Guild, and a master at weaving, she also still teaches at over 80 years of age. This large floor loom was dismantled and rebuilt in the Hall, she brought the warp already threaded - there were some nervous moments carrying that in the day before.

display of spinning wheels

The exhibition has been 3 years in the planning and those involved in the design of the exhibition have done a fantastic job. There has been so much work by many members of the Guild with works to exhibit, but also in how it was all exhibited. A few members met last week with rolls of calico and sewing machines to make table cloths and display board covers for all the exhibits to have the same backdrop and it was really effective.

Many, many members worked until 9.30pm on Monday setting it all out to the well conceived plan. One of our members was demonstrating natural dyeing in the garden (not allowed inside in case the steam sets of the fire alarm/sprinklers) - a very experienced dyer who keeps her own Shetland sheep and has one of the best books on dyeing I've ever read (bit of a plug there for her, but it is a great book and she really knows her dyeing). There is a fantastic display inside of the colours achievable using natural dyes too. (note to self: got to find time for more of this, and start growing some plants for dyeing)

Natural Dyeing demonstration outside

Plants for dyeing display

The indoor dyeing display
I'll let some of the pictures of the work speak for themselves. There are some very highly talented people in our Guild, many of them either have or still do teach and they are brilliant at sharing their skills and knowledge with people - relatively new members like myself and members of the public visiting events like this one.

Weaving displays (great backdrop of the Hall)

Small needle felted bird and eggs and dog below (see the scale with Imogen in the picture)

Display of fibres - different sheep breeds,
other animals, plants and man-made

Another favourite display of mine which they have at other events is something that was created by an old Guild member (as in she left the area a long time ago). It's a display of lots of different fibres - natural and man-made, all handspun, with sample of the raw material, a small skein and a knitted swatch of the spun yarn. Many different breeds of sheeps wool which really shows off the variety of colours naturally available; alpaca, llama, yak and even musk ox (so soft!); silk, mohair, angorra; plant fibres - jute, flax (linen), cotton, sisal and man-made fibres including recycled plastic bottles, nylon, and polyester.

Our Youth Guild display - felted sea scene

Hampshire Guild is very proud of it's success with the Youth Guild, the girls have so much fun and their work is very good.

Mallory exhibition

There is also a display which is on loan to the Guild at the moment from the Mountain Heritage Trust, of replica clothing that George Mallory would have worn when climbing Mount Everest. Much of this was created by a Guild member who is a historic hand-knitting expert. This was all tested a few years ago to disprove the myth that these 1920's mountaineers were "ill-equipped" for climbing, the replicas were a resounding success.

... and yes, it's our favourite Yurt again, Imogen went in and out of this several times. One time she popped out saying "I'm in here" just as one of our members was showing the Yurt to Kaffe Fassett!

If you're in or around Winchester between now and 30th August 2010, please do drop in and take a look, it's free, we are all very friendly and will happily demonstrate skills or maybe let you have a go at some things (under supervision of course), and there are some fantastic examples of the Guild members work on display.


  1. What a fantastic looking exhibition - the colours of the wool on the round tray are just delicious xxx

  2. What a great exhibition, everything looks very interesting. What a shame I don't live nearer to Winchester.

  3. That looks fantastic! Wish we were a bit closer to come and have a good look around it. Hope it provides wonderful inspiration for the Hampshire folk, and you should all be very proud of your talents.

  4. I think I will try and persuade DH to bring us. It would be great to see it!

  5. Thankyou, a vitual tour for those further away.

    Rosaleen - I hope you do get to go, and enjoy the trip x


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