Thursday, 31 January 2008

A general Introduction to the Woolcraft group at Galgael

Since summer 2007, for 2 hours each Friday morning, our group has been meeting at Galgael to explore woolcraft activities and be part of a unique community.

The whole impulse started much longer ago when Colin Macleod, the late inspirational founder of the Galgael Trust, encouraged some crafter women to link up with the Govan Tradition of weaving as well as with the ancient Scottish heritage of weaving per se. A remarkable loom was Galgael-built, and the 'Weaving the Clyde' tapestry project commissioned.

A lot of water has flown down the Clyde since, and the tapestry weaving still continues providing the foyer at 15 Fairley Street with one of its central focuses.

In the background, in the 'bothy', more and more woolcraft activities started to develop in the last couple of years, inspiring, first of all, two Galgael trainees, local women on the 'Navigating the Future' wood work course.

Over the last year then more and more women from all walks of life and from the wider Galgael community started to meet regularily. This blog is mainly about their modest but magical 'adventures' from 2008 onwards as the 'woolcraft at Galgael group'..

Our woolcraft group is a motley crew, consisting of professional weavers, crafters, artists and teachers, and of beginners and medium level skilled folks. Many of the women who come along have only these 2 hours to give expression to their creative side through woolcraft. Some of the group members come infrequently but are still part of the wider Galgael community and intent (see Galgael related websites or google it for more about the Clan). Others have a bit more time to actually produce woolcrafts items. The emphasis is on creating a fun, friendly and active woolcraft group, teaching and being taught, at 15 Fairley Street.

Looking at the wider context we all feel and believe that it is essential today for women of all ages and backgrounds to connect or re-connect with wool and fibre craft. We feel this is important for personal satisfaction and also for respecting the natural resources of materials and skills, and to celebrate and nurture our families.

We offer tuition in and demonstration of wool craft for all ages, and we are preparing the ground to attract woolcraft accreditation. All this will help us with woolcraft services and sales development, and to support the sail-loft reconstruction at Galgael, where a big loom is waiting to be assembled as soon as funding has been granted to redevelop the building's upper level. This upper level of the wider workshop premises at 15 Fairley Street will house at last properly the 'soft crafts' (wool, basketry, leather). The hard crafts (wood work, boat building, smithying, pottery) fill the ground floor already.

If anyone of you readers can help to assist (fundraising; planning; hands on) with the manifestation of the soft craft area - please get in touch.

(the big loom again, with the rainbow-ed banner Colin painted on silk in respect and rejuvenation of the Longhouse Cultures of the North Atlantic rim : practical democracy common to all people of this part of the globe. In the foreground: one of the recent trainees sporting a Hebridean fleece rug he helped us waulking)

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