Boyle Arts Festival, July 31st 2009

On a yet another wet summers morning I set off to Boyle, Roscommon to take part in the Boyle Arts Festival crafts past and present exhibition. Deirdre O'Reilly organized the exhibition and did a really great job getting lots of crafters together in the local hall. I was there to demonstrate spinning but really it was a good excuse for a lovely day out meeting lots of people and other crafts people.

I did a good bit of spinning and I also got lots of my alpaca carded up with some green merino. People were keen to see how you went from fleece to stuff you could spin. Kids seem to be especially fascinated with the whole thing. I had quite a few people tell me that spinning on the drop spindle looked like magic. I taught a few of the kids how to spin on the spindle. Kids are great they're not afraid of messing up like adults, they just get stuck in there and they did a great job of it.

There were two other spinners there. It was great to chat to ladies who know so much about spinning. They both span alpaca. The lady in photo had the softest most snuggly crochet shawl she had made from alpaca. I must make one.

There were many crafts represented, knitting, crochet, bobbin lace making, ceramics, sewing, basket making and lots of others. There was one man who was making traditional baskets and hen coups from straw.

The bobbin lace is amazing, it's so detailed and beautiful when it's finished. The process for making it looks very complicated. The lady doing it said it's not that hard but I don't believe her. A lot of crafts people downplay their talents and say it's nothing, it easy, not true. And definitely not true in this case, lace complicated, intricate detailed stuff and it takes skill to make it. It's not popular today as I don't think us young people have the attention span and patience to make it.

There was also some fantastic Irish Crochet Lace. It's so intricate and the thread is so tiny. I don't know how the ladies who do it see the stitches and most of them don't use magnifying glasses.

I met the lovely Sara from Kittiwake Design who is selling her lovely sewn designs. I got a lovely heart from her. Have a look at her mobiles, I really like the felt mushroom one.

Full set of photographs here.

The above photo shows the most amazing piece of craft work I've ever seen. It's a large bedspread of knitted lace squares all joined together. It's beautiful and detailed. The most amazing thing about it? The lady in the corner of the picture knitted it, she started it when she was 80, she recently completed it just after she turned 100. Isn't that amazing? What a fantastic heirloom piece for her family to have when she passes it down to them.

With craft being trendy again lots of people and publishers of books are keen to point out how hip and cool craft is and how it's 'not your grandmothers' knitting, crochet etc. Which is stupid, it really is. I love talking to the older generation of people and learning from them. It's sometimes hard to talk to older people as different generations assume they won't have things in common. I've found craft is a great way to get talking to older people, it doesn't matter what age you are you can still talk knitting or crochet as it's always the same.

So crafts are a great way of bringing generations together. And here the cool new craft people are telling older people that this new craft generation is not for them, not for grandmothers in an attempt to get young people interested. An opportunity lost, craft used to be all about passing down skills from one generation to the next. Your grandmother would teach you knitting when they minded you while your parents worked. The assumption that what your granny makes is not great is a lie too. Some of it might not be to your young persons taste but people should be allowed make what they like.

The bedspread above is beautiful no matter what generation you're from, to dismiss it as 'grannies knitting' is to dismiss the work, dedication and advanced skill that went into it's making. Younger knitters would shy away from this kind of complicated lace knitting, most younger knitters (and I include myself in all this, very much so) would not take on a project that might take us twenty years to complete. And younger knitters don't even have obstacles like failing sight and arthritic hands to take into account. To finish a project like this in your 100th year is amazing. Not your grandmother's knitting? No not all, most of us will never do something as rocking as this.

4 Responses to "Boyle Arts Festival, July 31st 2009" (Leave A Comment)

Guzzisue says
August 1, 2009 at 2:55 PM

thanks for sharing the spinning and lace :-)

Maven says
August 4, 2009 at 10:00 AM

What fabulous pictures, makes me wish I were at that craft festival, too!

Keep blogging!

Surfed on in here via your profile on Ravelry.

And in keeping with my thread on CLF, I've given your blog a "thumbs up" and got it listed on StumbleUpon, so other folks can hopefully surf on in and enjoy your blog.

Bionic Laura says
August 5, 2009 at 2:35 AM

Thanks for the comments.

Maven, thanks for listing it on Stumbleupon, that's great!

Kittiwake Design says
August 5, 2009 at 1:40 PM

hey laura!
it was really nice meeting you at the fair! loving the blog-finally a blog that is of interest not just for me, but for the boyfriend too! mmm... home brewed beer!
oh! and thanks so much for the lovely write up and the links! great pictures too!
hopefully we'll meet soon again,