Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Today I went to Ambleside to pick up the basket I made in collaboration with Owen Jones. He was at the Armitt Trust museum demonstrating how to make a besom, a type of traditional broom made from a bundle of birch branches. I once carried one of these brooms home from England with me on an airplane, and was laughed at on the way not so much because it is a large and unwieldy thing but because most people think besoms look like witches' brooms.

The museum had organized a day of craft demonstrations, so while I was there I also met Heather Parker, who showed me how to spin wool. It was not as difficult as I had thought it would be, though it is a bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time.

I visited the Ambleside Library and found an interesting little book called The Kendal Weaver by John Satchell, which contained an interesting blurb on the history of the red cloak:

"The red cloak was the most widespread and longest surviving traditional garment of the English countrywoman, continuing in use in Wales into the present century...The cloak was the general outdoor garment for all women, an 18th century hooded form is still familiar from the folk tale of Little Red Riding Hood."


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