Spring Newsletter from the Northern Rep

Dear Guild Secretaries and Members

At the AGM on 6th April, both the outgoing and incoming Presidents of the Association talked of their concern at the lack of basic knowledge being passed on to students on textile-related courses.   Since the meeting, the new President, Jennie Parry, has already started the process to remedy this situation.

With the 2019 Degree Shows imminent, Jennie would like to be able to compile a comprehensive database of the universities and colleges where textiles and textile-related subjects are taught to degree level.  The database will also include the details of any independent tutors who run regular courses/workshops.  She needs to know the following information for our Region:  

 Name and address of the college(s)

            Names and contact details of their textile tutors

            Dates of 2019 textile degree shows (if known)

            Names and contact details of independent textile tutors

As time is rather short, it would be most helpful if you could ask your members for the above details, and then pass on the information direct to Jennie (President@wsd.org.uk).  It is appreciated that compiling a comprehensive directory will take some time, but any information/contact details you can send now will start the ball rolling.

As you know, this year’s Summer School – “A Textile Heritage” – is being held at Askham Bryan College near York, from 4th to 11th August.    I hope that many Guild members, even if they are not taking a course, will be able to attend the Open Day on Saturday 10th August, when they will be able to see the results of the various courses held during the week, as well as having the opportunity to purchase lots of useful and beautiful things at the Trade Fair.   I will be helping on the Journal stand, and hope to meet many of you there.

There will also be a draw at the Open Day.   Among the wonderful prizes donated by the Stall Holders will be:  blended and hand-dyed fibres; vouchers for classes and yarns;  deluxe dye kit;  Texsolv heddles;  indigo-dyed fibres and threads;  tussah silk selection pack;  and many more – well worth the £1.00 per ticket.  Proceeds from ticket sales will go into the Bursary fund.   

Also at Summer School, if any of your members are in the area on Thursday 8th August, James Rebanks will be giving a talk, “The Shepherd’s Life” at 7.00 p.m., with a Q&A session afterwards.   There will be a few tickets at the door (£5.00 each) available to Guild members who are not at Summer School, and the proceeds from this event will also go to the Bursary Fund.

I think it would be useful to have a rolling Calendar of events in the Region, and would be grateful if you would pass on to me (northernrep@wsd.org.uk) any information you come across, so that this can be included.   In addition to external events, it would be lovely to think that you would be happy to include special happenings at your own Guild to which you would welcome members of other Guilds.

To start this off, I draw your attention to Tynedale Guild’s annual “Spinners’ Gathering”, which will be held at Stocksfield on Saturday 18th May.   A poster for this event is attached.  This is always a splendid occasion and highly recommended.

Later in the year, Durham Guild will be mounting a new exhibition – “From Fleece to Fibre to Fabric”  – at the World Heritage Site Visitor Centre in Durham from 3rd to 30th September.   If you are planning a trip to Durham, this should definitely be included in your itinerary.

Also close to Durham, at Ushaw College, there is currently an exhibition of textiles and other artworks by a Benedictine nun,  entitled “Hand in Hand:  The Artistic and Spiritual Life of Dame Werburg Welch”.  This runs until September 2019, and further details can be obtained from the college website – www.ushaw.org.

Other well-established upcoming events in the Region are:  Leeds Wool Festival (1st June);  Woolfest (28th – 29th June);  British Wool Show, York (9th – 10th August);  Yarndale, Skipton (28th – 29th September);  and Masham Sheep Fair (5th – 6th October).

Masham this year is a week later than normal, to avoid a clash with Yorkshire 2019 UCI Road World Championships.  In addition to the fantastic displays by both Bradford and Craven Guilds, the Association and the Journal will jointly have a small space (probably in the Town Hall).  I would like to be able to show visitors to the Fair that Spinning, Weaving and Dyeing are alive and well in the North, and would very much appreciate having copies of any promotional material your Guilds might have, as well as your 2019 Programme of Events.  Also, if any of your members feel they would like to man the stand (which I think will be just a table, but won’t know for certain until later in the year, when the organisers have finalised the plans) for an hour or so, this would be very welcome.

Kind regards,

Alison Castle