On Thursday night, the NOBO Guild was treated to a presentation by Marjie Thompson. Margaret had heard her at Convergence and knew that she didn’t live too far away in Maine. She asked Marjie if she would like to present a talk on 18th and 19th century weaving, looking at some of the long held misconceptions and getting to the truth! And so we were treated to Marjie’s wry humor, incredible knowledge that streamed from topic to topic, and to a wonderful history lesson!
I took few notes I was so quickly absorbed by the talk. I learned about the origins of such words as windfall, spinster (a term for a woman whose occupation was spinning thread to be woven into cloth), grassing (exposing of linen cloth in fields to the influence of air, moisture and sunlight for the purpose of bleaching), and frizzer (someone who raised the nap of the material and then cut it off).
We learned the significance of the 1807 Embargo Act on the home front, and the impact of power looms. Marjie’s talk mainly had me thinking of how enduring weaving is – that even in the face of power looms and the industrial revolution, weaving was kept alive by wonderfully creative weavers who paid homage to patterns.
She showed us several samples of material woven at different periods of time. She was truly entertaining and incredibly informative! I was glad I had pushed aside my tiredness of the day and attended.