Ideas That Work
One of the more interesting aspects of setting up a demonstration is deciding where to hold it. Some locations are:
- City parks
- Shopping malls
- Historical buildings
- Art centers
- Department stores
- Large store windows
- Knitting and sewing shops
- Day care centers
- Elementary schools
- High school art or family living departments
- Nursing homes
- Farm supply stores
- Commercial fabric/yarn mills
- Wool markets
- Open houses in homes of craftspeople
- Weaving or Yarn shops
- Traveling demonstrations--a pleasant surprise for everyone
Add flavor to the event with a special perspective:
- Hold a spin-in
- Have sheep-to-shawl contests
- Give spinning lessons
- Ask ethnic groups to demonstrate
- Spin exotic fibers at a zoo or pet shop
- Have costumed demonstrators
- Teach through audience participation using antique looms and wheels
- Hold a spinning and weaving wool demonstration in a clothing shop
- Have a special showing of woolen clothing in a retail store; the store might award a piece of clothing as a door prize.
Consider creating educational and promotional displays, showing processes, finished items, or local activities, such as guild calendars, or class schedules in locations such as:
- Store windows
- Businesses of all kinds
Displays of spinning and weaving books, including Sunny's Mittens, or Unraveling Fibers, can be arranged at the local library. See if the local crafts community has connections to any businesses willing to put up displays celebrating fibers. Don't be afraid to ask.
If local schools have art classes that include weaving and the related crafts, ask that students' work be put on exhibit in the school or in the town library. Woodworking students have built looms in class and displayed plans and the looms during Spinning and Weaving Week. Youth groups such as 4-H, Bluebirds, or Scouts often welcome the opportunity to display or demonstrate their work with sheep raising, spinning, weaving and related activities.
These can be juried or theme exhibits, normally held in an area with good space such as:
- Art galleries
- Art centers
- Art and frame shops
- Large office buildings
Consider linking Spinning and Weaving Week to other activities in the community, Events including:
- National Sewing Month in September. Check with local sewing shops to find out what is planned in your area.
- National Make it Yourself with Wool District Level Competition. Local organizers can be reached through the national office for Make It With Wool, P.O. Box 276, Maize, KS 67101.
- Many shops that specialize in knitting, needlepoint, or related crafts may be interested in planning or holding demonstrations, exhibits, or fashion shows, since more knitters and crocheters now use handspun yarn in their work.
Sales & General:
Consider holding a sale during the Week, perhaps in conjunction with an exhibit. If a sale is guild publicity planned for later in the year, such as just before Christmas, use the Week to publicize it. Use the Week to seek new members for your guild through membership drives.
Public Lectures and Events:
A public lecture can be:
- General interest for the public at large
- Specialized for a specific segment of the non-weaving or non-spinning public
Topics can include:
- How to collect art fabrics
- Antique coverlets
- Weaving a Persian carpet
- Interior decoration with handmade textiles
- A video or slide program from your own guild or from another resource, such as:
- Handweavers Guild of America, Inc.
- The American Crafts Council
- Victorian Video Productions (a division of Yarn Barn of Lawrence, Kansas)
- Schoolhouse Press
- Your state, city or county library system
- A college or university with a weaving program
- A college or university art department slide collection
Fashion shows benefit the participants and the viewers by showing the wide variety of fabrics, garments, and accessories possible with handcrafted yarns and fabrics. They provide some springboards for ideas for knitters, crocheters, hand sewers, and embroiderers. Consider a guild sale in conjunction with the fashion show to include:
- Completed garments
- An opportunity to place orders for special items
- Sale of kits consisting of handwoven fabric or yarn for a sweater
Joint Efforts with Weaving & Spinning Shops:
People who operate weaving and spinning shops are involved in all kinds of Week activities, as initiators and as participants. If you have a small shop, get together with the spinners and weavers in your area and have a celebration.
If you know someone who owns a small shop, go in and offer to help set something up.
In previous years, shops sponsored a wide range of activities including:
- Demonstrations of every aspect of the fiber arts
- Special sales
- Drawings to give away looms, spinning wheels, classes, books, yarn, official T-shirts, etc.
- Open houses at the beginning and/or end of the Week
In addition, the shops have acted as clearing houses to provide callers with information about events taking place in the area.
Other ways to recognize Spinning and Weaving Week:
- Poster contests
- Free lessons
- Radio and television interviews
- Newspaper feature stories concerning local celebrations and craftspeople
- Declaration of Spinning and Weaving Week as a state or local event by the mayor or the governor, with accompanying publicity
Tell Us How You Did It:
Let us know what you did, how you did it, and how successful you were. Share your ideas with us, let us incorporate them into this document to help your fellow craftspeople enjoy the success you have had.
Enjoy the celebration! Share your joy in the crafts!