Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Prick Your Finger “Murder at the Wool Hall”

On the evening of 18th March at the Stanley Picker Gallery, Prick Your Finger held a spinning workshop/disco. Entering the event was a sight unseen before; an eclectic bunch of people jumping around, knitting, dancing, riding a bike, DJ-ing and spinning yarn. Who wouldn't feel a little intimidated at first?

Being immediately welcomed I settled in and received a lesson in hand spinning, which involves carding (in order words combing) wool and through pinching, teasing and spinning with assistance from a dradle like implement spinning the wool into yarn. Sounds simple, right? Looks simple too. Don't be fooled, it took me several attempts to produce a wildly lumpy and totally uneven ball of yarn. Yet I did feel a sense of achievement, thumbs up!

Another thumbs up to mention was the free beer and homemade cake received upon arrival. Perhaps the beer could be blamed for my poor attempt at spinning, however I was told it did take practice.

One of the Prick Your Finger girls talked about the project; collecting wool from farmers around the M25 that was destined for landfill and processing it themselves as well as offering workshops (like the one being held) to teach the public. Most of the wool collected is quite coarse which is commonly undesirable (amazing, as I thought it was lovely!). They also offer knitting and crochet classes at their shop in Bethnal Green on Thursdays and Saturdays. The bike in the centre of the room (which had puzzled me since arriving) was also explained to be powering the music as well and spinning yarn when cycled.

The process was intensely relaxing and teamed with the sound of The Smiths and Bob Dylan, some may disagree with this statement, was highly enjoyable. I realised I had witnessed an example of slow fashion (if yarn is knitted/crocheted into garments, anyway), which I have learn about through my MA. Slow fashion can be described as trans-seasonal as it does not follow trends, is local to a community (skills or materials) and usually connects people either through design and manufacture or emotionally.

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