October 11-13, I attended Mississinewa 2018. The event recreates activities from the year 1812, including a battle that happened near Marion, Indiana. I spent most of my time in the "Ladies Salon" a tent reserved for women re-enactors to visit and enrich each other's knowledge. Yes, I brought my sprang frame, and samples of sprang: bags, pockets, coin purses, sashes, shawls.
Taking seriously a tip given to me in August at the Grand Portage Rendezvous, I drove to Henderson, Kentucky, to have a look at a sash. According to his family, James Audubon collected a fingerwoven sash while at Ft Union in 1843. I had to go and have a look at it myself (since I was in the neighborhood).
The sash features five strips sewn together. Each strip has an arrow on a red background. Each arrow is outlined with white beads. The backside of the sash has been reinforced with patches of red cloth, to stabilize damaged areas.
On to Colorado. The Denver Handweavers asked me to come and talk at their monthly meeting. I was also to teach fingerweaving and sprang.
I always learn things from my students. This woman brought along her sprang frame ... a very versatile collection of PVC pipes ... can be altered to be a warp weighted loom, an inkle loom, a tapestry loom...
The base of the frame is held together using elastic cord. She attaches the lower edge of her warp to a piece of pipe that 'floats' along the sides of her frame (fits to bits of pipe that are a larger diameter than the sides of her frame). Tension is provided by metal rings that she hangs onto this 'floating' pipe. set around a larger piece of pipe. She says she can switch it around to also serve as a warp weighted loom or tapestry loom ... a very clever design.
The students learned lots, and produced some lovely pieces.
I was also treated to a visit to the back rooms of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The anthropology department has a lovely collection of sashes.
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Carol acknowledges that we are on Treaty 1 territory, the traditional gathering place of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene people and the traditional homeland of the Métis people. Carol also acknowledges that sprang is part of many indigenous traditions and found in various forms all over the world. Let us re-discover this technique together.
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