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Textile Biennial Spinning Workshop

Posted: 18th October 2021
Author: Catherine Wright

We were so excited to be invited back to take part in some spinning workshops run by Super Slow Way as part of the Textile Biennial in Blackburn, a range of exhibitions and workshops, mostly free that are celebrating the history of textiles, right across the town.

Blackburn has such a rich history in textiles, the Spinning Jenny was invented by James Hargreaves who was from Oswaldtwistle, just four miles away from Blackburn so we were right in the heart of spinning territory. Moving forward there are so many exciting projects on the go, one of which is the Homegrown Homespun initiative which you can read more about here and it's been fascinating to be part of it.

In our workspace there was ourselves teaching spinning and also Brigitte from BeeKay Makes who was hosting drop spindling workshops. We had 6 wheels in all for people to have a try on. As usual, one or two take to spinning straight away and others take a little longer (as I did) but get there in the end.

It was brilliant to see people start to fall in love with spinning yarn and once the initial frustration was dealt with (my word it can be annoying to learn to spin) the calm you see come over the spinner and the realisation of how therapeutic and relaxing it can be is really satisfying. Passing on a skill as wonderful as spinning really is a privilege.

Learning to Spin gorgeous handspun yarn on an Ashford traditional wheel at the Textile Biennial
Teaching Spinning at the Textile Biennial in Blackburn using Ashford traditional wheels

We even had time to nip up to the Museum to see the Homegrown Homespun exhibit and although the banner was squashed a little bit and not as impressive as when it was over the entrance to the flax field it was lovely to see it included, especially after all the work that went into it by beginners and volunteers from the local community.

The flax that was produced

Hopefully we will get a chance to take part again, it really was a special project. The Biennial continues until the 31st October, more information can be found here

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