Dye Day and pre-industrial weaver thoughts
I’m spending as much time as the weather allows dyeing at the moment, which is a joy. I’m creating the colours that will reflect the colours of the Blackdown Hills in late August which will then become a range of blankets. I’ve tried to capture the moment that the dye creeps up the skein as I lower it into the dyebath – it’s a real moment of truth!
I’ve also been spending time researching pre-industrial weavers of the Blackdown Hills. It’s a tough job, particularly as I would like to find out where they worked. I did find a wonderful book (the parish records?) written about Uffculme, Devon by a number of vicars through the years. A particularly dramatic passage retold the tale of the weavers dispute in the area. It seems that the weavers of Cullompton, Bradninch, Silverton and Thorverton were up in arms against the weavers of Uffculme, Culmstock and Hemyock. And while there is no mention of what caused the dispute they were ‘all armed with such weapons as Rage or Chance supplied’ and one man was ‘hewn asunder by a sythe fixed on a pole’. Grim stuff, we weavers are volatile creatures it seems!
On a brighter note I have also enjoyed 2 days in North Devon working with Dance in Devon and a London choreographer on our project ‘Bespoke’. The contemporary dance that will be created out of my work with Freddie Opoku-Addaie will be showcased in Stockland Village Hall on the 27th October. The movements will evolve out of the weaving process and I will probably be weaving not dancing! I feel like I’m out of my comfort zone, but loving every minute because of it!