Encouraging the next Generation… Demonstration at Elangeni School, Amersham

Report by Maggie Brooks

Last Friday, 22nd November 2019, six of us met at Elangeni School, Amersham to introduce some practical textiles into the curriculum for year 5.  This is the sixth year Marjorie has done this at the request of the school, it was my first time and I enjoyed it.

Marjorie started with a short introduction to different types of fibres with an excellent range of samples for them to feel, Beverley showed how to create a thread with a drop spindle, Steph showed how the spinning wheel worked,  Mavis introduced them to Viking braiding and Arianna demonstrated weaving. Then it was time for them each to try.

While they were waiting their turn, each had some Viking braiding to be getting on with and some got remarkably tangled up with it, but the overall response was great.  Some even gave up some ‘playtime’ to make sure they had their turn. The end result was that each of them went away with a bit of spun thread, a section of weaving, plain weave and twill, and the beginnings of some Viking braid.  The teachers will be able to build on these in their classes. 

It gave us the chance to talk to the children and ask them if they had seen spinning and weaving at museums, had they got grandparents or great grandparents who had been weavers, what did they think of the colours (each could choose their weft and the warps were brightly coloured).  At a time when schools are so short of time to do anything creative, it gave them chance to ‘do’ something. The teacher did comment that practical skills are diminishing as children spend more time on computers.

Marjorie did a huge amount of preparation – threading up looms, preparing spools for the weft,  sorting out samples and being the main contact, and gave us all a delicious lunch!! 

The school has sent the Guild a generous financial contribution in thanks for this.

 To raise the profile of the Guild I wonder if there are any more of our members who have contacts with schools who would welcome doing something like this.

Marjorie Waye,  Beverley Thompson, Stephanie Robinson,  Ariana Odell, Mavis Hands, Maggie Brookes  November 28th 2019

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