Friday, January 6, 2012

Norman Kennedy, August, 2011, Dartmouth

Looking at a shetland fleece from Debrah Oxby, owned by Lois Perry.
Every once in a while something falls into your lap - much resembling a beautiful treasure - and last August this happened to me and my friend Elly. We are kind of twisted sisters, or warped spirits, either one would make a good description of our friendship.

The ASH group in Halifax had gotten wind of the visit of a rather special twisted and warped person in his own rights, Norman Kennedy from Scotland.
Norman Kennedy working on Cathy Greig's walking wheel, he was moving right along as soon as he had sorted out the tension and made people aware, that moving a walking wheel is not necessarily a good plan. We were thankful however that Cathy had sacrificed the balance of her beauty of a wheel.
A teacher, mentor, weaver and spinner of the past 60 years - he started at 16 - was in Nova Scotia participating in the Lunenburg Folk Festival in July, 2011.
Norman had been singing and doing music for three days straight when we met him on a grey Monday morning at the library in Dartmouth.
Elly had come up to the Valley the night before and we set out good and early for who wants to be late to something as important as meeting  ...... well, I have to admit that I had no clue what we were getting into.

We brought wheels, and some fleece and carders and spindles and ..... all sorts of spinning stuff - the magnificent necessities of life when one lives precariously not on the edge but in the middle of a twister, I suppose you could say, + there was a treat bag for everyone with fleece and fibre to enjoy.

Norman's hands were knowing hands. They kept moving, precisely the way they ought to move when there is a goal to be achieved - and in this case the objective was to show how easily a walking wheel could be used.
This is my Colbeck wheel, Norman asked to use it for a demonstration wheel, I got red cheeked and proud as a pea cock and lend him the wheel.
The next question was, did I oil the wheel recently - ah, well, I just did - ah, a little bit and then...... the wheel got an oiling and greasing up experience which I don't know if it has ever had before, certainly not since, although, writing this I think I will remember how to squirt oil all over next time I sit down and start spinning on it.
And we got into lace weight yarn, using some of Elly's Blue Faced Leister fleece, now she was proud as a pea cock. I think she is spinning sock yarn these days from exactly this fleece, knitting slightly late christmas gifts = socks, socks, socks, one of Elly's favorites.
But I digress, it was lace weight, I have never in my life spun anything so fine, neither on spindle nor on the wheel, and to be honest I don't know if I ever will, although..... one should never say never, once I swore I would never weave really fine and at the moment I am at 45 epi, which is.... really fairly fine. 




In any event, the day flew, Norman talked, answered questions and continuously used his hands for 6 hours, I hope he had a good nap when he got back to where he was staying over night.
It was not a spinning class as in.... I learned, A, B, C, D and E and I will use it for ...... and then comes a list of projects waiting just around the corner. It was a history lesson, a lesson in patience, in love for what you do, in staying focused and honouring fibre work at its best, when it comes from our hearts and we allow it to unfold and happen just as it wishes to.
Elly and I drove home in the pouring rain, but we were high as kites and ever so thankful for the organizers to have taken the time and made the effort to make this workshop happen.
Thank you once again, it can never be said too often, it was lovely, truly lovely.


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