Sunday, 22 April 2012

'From Wool to Jumper' a brief story of the teaching of Dora Wigg.

This week Jane from The Winds of Change Gallery was sent a lovely letter .
It was sent by Dora Wigg and this is a gist of what she said...
In the 1960's there was a Forum  that met in The Old George and then The White Lion. They had regular speakers ,one of which was Mary Osbourn. Mary had worked in the poorest areas of London pre 1939 and had met Mahatma Ghandi on one of his visits. He gave his spinning wheel to Mary and taught her how to spin wool.
Wool dyed from old dyes found on a shipwreck.
During the second world war Mary moved to a one up one down in Laverton and began to teach local children how to turn raw wool into cloth. In the 1960's Dora gathered a small group and along with their children regularly visited Mary to learn spinning. Apparently Mary had twelve spinning wheels dotted about her cottage. Mary later opened a centre dedicated to the teaching of traditional crafts,called the 'Guildhouse' at Stanton. It is still running today and is well worth a visit.
Stanton Guildhouse

After a few years Dora taught 7 year olds at the local primary school how to spin with the most basic of spindle, a potatoe with a stick in it. She also taught them how to weave on backstrap looms with a heddle made from lollipop sticks. Dora called her lessons 'from wool to jumper'. One of the school inspectors was so impressed that he encouraged Dora to write a book, which she did.
French version of 'Let's Weave' by Dora Wigg
 It was published by Evans Bros and was called 'Lets Weave'. The opposite of these children were the children of Winchcombe who for hundreds of years had to spin and earn money for their families.
Waistcoat made by Jan Macmillan.
One of the parents became interested and so Dora trained her. ...her name is Jan McMillan and she is an expert in the craft and is a member of The Gloucestershire Guild Of Craftsmen. One of her lovely waistcoats is for sale in Jane's Wool in Winchcombe Exhibition.

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