Things have been a bit hectic since the middle of October so this is the first chance I’ve had to share some of the photos of the Sunshine Coast Rug Crafters’ activities.
Landsborough Historical Museum
The Rug Crafters have wanted to meet more frequently as a group since we only have two sessions a month at the local library and not everyone can come to both days. The biggest stumbling block to find a suitable venue comes down to the issue of public liability insurance. Since we are merely a “social group” (we are not incorporated and thus don’t carry insurance) who are a group of people who come together to work on our hobby of rug craft. So, in an effort to explore our communities we’ve experimented with a number of other venues, like the local historical museum.
This venue did have some potential but the group found that the lighting was a bit too low (and in overcast, stormy weather this would be an issue). Accessiblity proved to be a problem at the museum – which surprised all of us – when we discovered the museum locked the public disability access doors on the weekend! This meant that whether you were able-bodied or not, you had to Sherpa your frames and equipment up and down steps in order to get in or out of the building. We speculated as to what public liability and legal issues this would pose for the museum and Council!
At any rate, the group decided that since we couldn’t find a suitable, cheap venue for our group meetings, we should do what so many other groups do and simply rotate any “extra” group sessions among members’ homes. And we are!
William Landsborough Day
Our first “big” public event was at the end of October when we decided to set up a stall for William Landsborough Day. [Note: Wm. Landsborough was the explorer who in 1861 went to search for the Burke and Wills expedition and later learned that they had perished. Landsborough is also credited with being the first to explore and map a North-South route in Australia].
Although we did have a few inexpensive items for sale at our stall, our focus on was really on raising public awareness about this “lost” traditional craft, and meeting people from the community who were familiar with rag rug making in this country.
I think we managed to achieve both goals – thanks to the efforts of the rug crafters!
Our stall with banner.
The prodded flowers went over well and served to draw people to the booth.
Pat Reid and Phil O’Shea discussing a hooked project.
Once we attracted the public to the stall, the rug crafters took on the job of answering questions and listening to stories!
There wasn’t too much time to sit down once the steam train arrived in Landsborough.
Rug Crafters engaged in a different aspects of rug hooking and these diverse activities attracted an amazing number of visitors.
The group members surprised even themselves with the amount of knowledge they had regarding this traditional craft and had no trouble engaging with the public and answering even complex questions.
The public was able to observe rug hooking from all angles at our stall and we could hardly keep up with the questions.
During the 5 hours at the event, I estimate that we had at least 80 people stop by and actively engage our group with their questions and stories about this craft, while a handful more sat down to “have a go” at the demo frame.
We also managed to add 4 new members to our list of hookers.
A day to dye!
Judy Owen wanted to try Scribbly Gum bark-dyeing and spot dyeing the wool she planned to use for a floor mat. Since I’m not a very experienced dyer myself, I wasn’t quite sure how to actually “teach” someone else since my approach is a bit more “slap dash” than the controlled dyeing techniques I keep reading about but I thought we could experiment a bit and see would happen.
The bark dyeing went very well…although the day was wet and blowing so most of the finished product had to be hung in the shed to drip dry.
We bark-dyed two pieces of fabric that really came out well! Since we were using some quite fresh bark, I wasn’t sure if it would transfer enough tannin to dye the fabric but it worked well.
Then we moved on to spot-dyeing pantyhose
then used the same technique on some of Judy’s handspun wool (which she had to “unroll” first and put back into a hank!
The spun wool and the spot dyed blanket wool all came out very well and I think we might try this again!
Considering the fact that the Sunshine Coast Rug Crafters didn’t really start meeting as a group until April this year (we were in flood for the first 3 months!) they have manage to produce some amazing results!
More later! Judi