Going Back to Demoing

Going Back to Demoing

Sorry for today’s delay! I have been busy this week working on the guild Library report. It’s a lot of data to sift through even with a second year of reduced book borrowing due to covid. I do a report in December for the city grants then one for the AGM in May. It’s not the same data since the first covers the Year (2021) and the second covers the library term From the AGM in  2021 to AGM 2022.  I have a fabulous library team working with me but I write up the report and then send it to Ann to spell check and make a synopsis since I tend to be very thorough. It usually takes a week to get the data into charts then analyzed a bit then written up into the report. The main data is dropped in the appendix (21 pages) and the short tables go into the report (5 pages).  I am only missing one bit of data to finish it but here is the extremely short version (not I am not going to show you 21 pages of charts!!)

  • Library team: 6 regular members and 3 assistants this year, for a total of 9.
  • Acquisitions: 69 new items From Donations, Bequests, and purchases
  • Circulation: Total items; 249 (1 item out for repair)
  • Format of items in circulation: BOOKS 208, MAGAZINE 21, DVD 18
  • Accessibility: 238.5  hours in the library, plus the hours from March I still have to add.

1 The Felting Section of the Guild Library

2 Part of the Guild Library Cabinets

I also got a note off to the newsletter about the next Library day. We have been having members email their book requests to the library and we pull, sign out and bag the books. The members come to the library, knock on the window, hold up their name signs and we grab their bag of books and meet them at the side door to give them their books. It has been working quite well over the last 2 years.

3 books pulled ready to bag

4 books ready to go out to members.

2 months ago, we got word that we could have more people in the studio space, where we have the library. We would need to have only 2 people browsing the books at a time, proof of vaccination and wear a mask at all times. Last month we were allowed 4 people at a time looking at books and they could self-administer the health questions, but still had to wear their masks. This month it looks like we may be able to have the regular capacity and no symptoms of ill health for ourselves or assonated people but still keep the mask. We hope that the books can finally visit with the guild members in a more personal way.

5 Ann Ready for in-person book sign-out, for the first time in 2 years!

So if we can have library happening in a more normal way Demos of spinning weaving and felting cannot be far behind.  I have been doing demos for the guild since the 1990s, first weaving then adding spinning, and finally adding felting to the options for demos.  I’m not sure what my first demo was but it may have been weaving at a sheep to shawl demonstration at the experimental farm. My first time spinning at a demo was at a tractor pull competition with another spinner Clara (she was very good). In the morning, she spun and answered questions. By the afternoon, I was spinning and talking at the same time too!

At first, I carried a folding Leclerc table loom either a 2 or 4 harness. They didn’t feel heavy at the time but after quite a few years they seem to have gained weight. I was sometimes also bringing a wheel or two depending on the demo. For the Carp Fair demo I could fill a small station wagon with equipment and display stuff (they gave us a 20x 20 tent to set up a four-table display, it was a challenge that we filled each year.)

6-7 weaving at the same demo (it’s a super long warp!)

8 We let anyone who wants to have a try. It means we get many interesting variations on the pattern we thought we were doing!

Over the years, I have learned a lot of demo tricks. one of the best is if you think you will be on damp grass or it might rain (we have had sudden small rivers appear in tents we were demoing in when it rained), bring a plastic under bed box or low sided storage bin that your wheel will fit into as well as your feet. Spinning in a plastic box will keep your feet and wheel dry. If it’s just morning dew to worry about bring a rubber-backed kitchen matt that is big enough to fit under your wheel. They roll up and take up little space to bring with you. I also have a folding wagon that can transport wheels, looms, wool, a folding table… from the car to the demo spot if I cant get the car close to unload.

9 One of my Friends demonstrated the weight capacity of a folding wagon

10 a Plowing match demo  with a tarp to keep the dew off the wheel

11 Manotick demo in a tent in the rain.

12 in a tent, raining at the Richmond Fail (trundle box is tucked under the table.)

Another sneaky thing I do at demos, now that I am also felting, is I have a couple of pieces that I save to work on only at demos, that are works in progress. I have found that when I am just starting out with a picture or sculpture there is a lot of mild curiosity. However, if I have something underway to the point you can make a good guess at what I might be doing, I tend to get more interest and questions.  “Is it a dog?” gets kind of boring until someone says very hesitantly “….is that.. a ..polar bear?” “YES! It is!!”

13 Polar bear finally looks a bit less like a dog.

14 Makers fair demo

15 Demo at Wool Growers Co-Op, Carlton place

When you demo you don’t have to know everything, so don’t be afraid of questions.  It’s fine to say “I’m still new and don’t know that, but we can see if we can find out”. If you are demoing in a group ask the others who are demoing, if you are by yourself, refer them to your guilds email to ask.  There are also breed specific organizations you can find many of the contacts at sheep 101 on the internet.

Second, don’t worry that you’re not a master weaver, spinner or felter. There are not a lot of masters out there and they all started somewhere not being masters. If you enjoy what you’re demoing, your enthusiasm will be contagious. In addition, if you’re just beginning, it shows others they can do this too. Watching someone make fluffy fibre stick together it’s like magic! Watching someone make perfect fine lace weight yarn is a bit daunting, If it is a slubby functional yarn, that may actually be much more approachable. It’s amazing how many times someone will ask, “What happens when it brakes?” then you accidentally brake it and show them how it reattaches.

Once I took my Ashford Traditional out to a demo. It is a lovely wheel, the golden retriever of wheels! “Is that fibre? Can I spin it for you?” anyway I had the drive band brake and had repaired it but only had blue crochet cotton so I had a blue drive band and was spinning white wool. You can see where this is going I am sure. After having a man stand staring at the wheel for much longer than most people stop and just stare, he finally asked.

“How does the wool go from white to blue, then back to white?”

“Good question!” so I stopped the wheel and showed him the path for the yarn through the orifice and on to the bobbin and the path of the drive band and how the treadle and footman turned the wheel.

I hope we will be able to demo again soon. It is a lot of fun and you may find others who didn’t know anyone did weaving, spinning or felting and they have always wanted to learn to do that too!

16 Basket dragon with hand died wings, Carp Fair Demo

I have lots of photos of the demo display and other people demoing.  I am usually the one with the camera so these are most of the pictures I have of me actually demoing.

17  1812 was not my best year, the diminutive Great Wheel and the Robiedue wheel went to this demo with me. Demo at Chrysler for 1812 battle asked to demo in costume.


18 Demo at Carp Fair

Have fun and keep felting (hopefully soon in public!)

19 One of my long-term-in-progress-demo pieces.

14 thoughts on “Going Back to Demoing

  1. Jan, there is a rumour, a very quiet rumour that there will be at least one, maybe two demos this year!!! Can hardly wait.

    1. YES!! i just found the email and sent back a request to Demo again in Manotick! Demos are so much fun and i have missed them. i will be able to work on the sheep with horns again! (but i have to finish the Library report first!) then go find the bins to spin in, just in case we have rain at the demo.

  2. Demos are fascinating to the spectator and you are quite right – if only masters demonstrated there wouldn’t be very many demos would there? We can all learn from each other, and enjoy the process, no matter what level of skill we have!

    It’s great that you enjoy it so much and we hope the rain holds off on your demos!

    1. a lot of our guild members found us through seeing someone from the guild demoing. i have done a lot of spontanious demos wateing for my mom or husband and quietly felting when i suddenly ralized i have an audiance and lots of questions. demos are not always formal some look much more like spining on a drop spindle in line at the grocery and getting asked “why dosnt if fall on the floor?” “Good question! some times it dose and may be why its called a drop spindle”. or “are you makeing wool?” “no just yarn, the sheep did the hard part and made the wool.”
      Demoing is a grate way to meet other people who are also intrested in what you are doing. if you dont have a guild of Felters /Spinners/Weavers and would like one, start finding local spots you can Felt /Spin /Weave in public. being visible makes you easyer to find by others with similer intersts!
      i hope you are finaly getting Spring and can have an outside felting studio set up shortly!

    1. Hi Stella! I love the Guild Library, the felting section needs to expand since its only just over half a shelf! But its a good start. there are tons of weaving books, quite a few books on spinning, fiber prep, colour, dyeing, we also have DVD’s and Magazines, the guild goes back to the 1940’s. you could check and see if you have a guild near you. a few of the weaving and spinning guilds in Canada have felters too. Not too many guilds have been as luck as ours to find a space in a building for a studio/library and classroom.
      if you cant find a guild to felt with, maybe you can start one?
      Have fun felting!!
      with help from google translate:
      ¡Hola, Stella! Me encanta la biblioteca del gremio, ¡la sección de fieltro necesita expandirse ya que solo ocupa un poco más de la mitad de un estante! Pero es un buen comienzo. hay toneladas de libros de tejido, bastantes libros de hilado, preparación de fibra, color, teñido, también tenemos DVD y revistas, el gremio se remonta a la década de 1940. podrías verificar y ver si tienes un gremio cerca de ti. algunos de los gremios de tejidos e hilados en Canadá también tienen fieltros. No muchos gremios han tenido tanta suerte como el nuestro para encontrar un espacio en un edificio para un estudio/biblioteca y aula.
      Si no puedes encontrar un gremio con el que sentirte, ¿quizás puedas comenzar uno?
      ¡¡Diviértete fieltrando!!

  3. How fun! I just posted an invitation for local people, on Facebook, to join me on my patio for yarn dyeing and fiber arts. I have to be home to care for my mother, but I’m eager to see people again. You have a big responsibility there Ann. Inventorying everything can be a huge undertaking, especially if it’s been a while. You have my admiration.

    1. Thanks! i hope you have a fun fiberarts-Dye-in on your patio! we will have a lot of work doing the book count this year. we will check that each book is there and this time i want to add some more information on each book into the data base. (we will also try to fix any spelling mistakes we find in the database too.) it will take the hole team to get through this. afterwords i will updateing all the lists and repost them. it takes some time but makes the collection more accessable. we went from the regular duie systum numbers with up to 9 decimal places to a modified duei system that suted our collection better.it was a massive undertakeing just the numbering of all the books took a long time. but its now so much easyer to brows through the collection. if your curious you can take a peek https://www.ovwsg.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/2021-SUBJECT-LIST-01-22-21-updated.pdf

    1. Thanks Ann but i couldnt do the work i do without the whole library team which you are a big part! i hope we can demo at the log farm it would be handy to buy butter tarts and cookies while demoing!!

  4. The library looks like a wonderful resource. They are lucky to have you keeping it all in order. Demoing is fun and I it’s a great educational tool. So many people have no idea…

    1. Thanks Ruth!
      it amazing how many time i over hear “Look shes weaving” when i am spinning or “Look she is making wool” when i am spinning. i do get a few “what is that made of” when i am felting. (that is a fair question since i have used alpaca, cat, musox, silk, superwash which is suspishusly unwoollike and am likly to try other fibers if its got the right feel or colour.) i hope to make displays that show what we do and be educational.
      Demoing is a great way to meet people who also like what we like and it is lots of fun!
      oh and its a lot ligher to demo felting than it is to demo weaving, Looms are getting heaver as i get older!!

  5. I am sure I was not the only one with my ear on shoulder checking out the titles of the felting books Jan, Glad to say I was able to tick of a number (including Ruths).

    I love and miss demos. It’s one of the few times my alter ego can come to the fore. I am an introvert, but put me behind a felting table in a public space and I …. sort of ….. change …. character. Great hints and tips. Thanks a million.

  6. Oh no! I don’t want to cause a neck injury! That may slow down your felting!
    We switched the OVWSG Library to a modified Due classification based on possess. Starting with people (bibliography) moving through fiber sources /fiber prep, colour/dyeing, Felt, Spin, weave, to finally historical textiles. Felting is in the 500’s. we have been on a buying freeze and have been adding books by much appreciated donations. We have a list of books we would like to get once we can shop again.
    I hope this list of the OVWSG library will save any further neck injuries!

    500. Felting
    500. Felting General
    500.GOR Feltmaking, Gordon, Beverly
    500.HAA Felt, Fabric and Fiber Jewelry, Haab, Sherri

    500.06 Periodicals (Filzfun, )
    PER500.06FF Filzfun (See Mag. List for list of issues)
    PER500.06INF Interweave Felt (See Mag. List for list of issues)

    530. Learn to felt (primers)
    530.BEL How to make Felt, Create hats, bags, rugs, masks, and much more, Belgrave, Anne
    530.CHA My Passion For Fibres Spinning and Felting, Charette, Pierre
    DVD530DAV DVD- Felting the complete guide – PDF, Davis Jane
    530.SMI Introduction to Feltmaking, Techniques and Design Book one, Smith, Sheila
    530.VIC Felting by hand, Vickrey, Anne Einsett

    550 Felting – Special Techniques
    DVD550.COS DVD – wet felting With Sharon Costello, Costello, Sharon
    550.CYP Hand Felted Jewelry and Beads: 25 Artful Designs, Cypher, Carol Huber
    DVD550HOU DVD – Creative Felting (E-book) PDF, Houghton, Lizzie
    550.HOU Felting Fashion, Houghton, Lizzie
    550.HUB How We Felt: Designers and techniques from contemporay felt artists Huber, Cypher, Carol
    550.HUG Felt & Fibre Art, a practical guide to makeing beautiful felted artworks, Hughes, Val
    550.LAN The Compleat Photo Guide to Felting, Lane, Ruth
    550.MCG Feltmaking, McGavock, Deborah & Lewis, Christine
    550.SMI Felt Fabric Designs, a recipe book for textile atists, Smith, Sheila
    550.SMI Felt to Stitch, Creative felting for textile artists, Smith, sheila
    550.SMI Beyond the Basics Advanced Feltmaking Techniques, Book Three, Smith, Sheila
    550.TEL the Art of Felt, inspirational designs, textures and surfaces, Telier-Loumagne, Francoise
    550.WHI Uniquely Felt: Dozens of Techniques from fulling and shaping to nuno and cobweb, White, Christine

    551. Wet felting (general)
    551.VIC The Art of Feltmaking, Vickrey, Anne Einset

    552. Nuno Felting
    DVD552.COS DVD – Nuno Felting, Costello, Sharon

    554. Painting or picuter Felting
    554.SCH Magic Wool Creative activities with natural sheep’s wool, Schmidt, Dagmar, Jaffke Freya
    DVD554.COS DVD – Painting with wool, Costello, Sharon
    554.HUN Creative Felt Pictures, Hunter, Andria
    554.MAC Art in Felt & Stitch, creating beautiful works of art using fleece, fibres and threads, Mackay, Moy
    554.SPA Watercolor Felt Workbook, a guide to making pictorial felts using wet and dry felting methods 2nd ed., Spark, Patricia

    555. Needle Felting
    555.ALL the Ashford book of Needle Felting revised edition, Allen, Barbara
    555.ARM Felted treasures how to felt & sculpt wool with a felt needle, Armes, Jean Paccagnan
    DVD555.FUK DVD – Felt Sweet (heart warming life series NV4294) Japanese (DVD), Fukuda, Ric
    555.NAG Fleece Dog,a little bit of magic created with raw wool and a special needle, Nagakubo, Nobuko (SINCO)
    555NIC Felted Friends, create your own soft, fuzzy animals, Nichols, Kaitlyn
    555.SHA Felted Feathered Friends, techniques and projects for needle-felted birds, Sharp, Laurie
    555.YAM Fuzzy Felted Friends, Yamazaki Saori

    560. Felting – Projects & Patterns
    560.CLA Felting, Claesseu, Marlie
    560.DOC Simply Felt, 20 easy and elegant designs in wool, Docherty, Margaret and Emerson, Jayne
    560.EVE Felt making Techniques and Projects, Evers, Inge
    560.FLI Felt handmade style, Flint, India and Sugiwaka, Toyoko
    560.HAG Fabulous Felt Hats, Dazzling Designs from handmade felt, Hagen, Chad Alice
    560.HAR Complete Feltmaking, easy techniques and 25 great projects, Harris, Gillian
    560.HAR Felting Fabulous Flowers 30 stunning designs, Harris, Gillian
    560.HOE Felt Inlays, Hoerner, Nancy
    560.SAM Felted Hat, Instructions for makeing a seamless hat on a sizable hat block, Samson, Leslie
    560.SEA Felt Jewlery, Searle Teresa

    580. FULLING – Knit or Woven
    580.FJE Nordic Felted Knits, Fjellanger, Gerd
    580.GAL Felted Knits, Galeskas, Beverly

    590. History of Felting
    590.MUL Felt, Mullins, Willow G.
    590.WAL Felt; Social history technical processes artist’s projects, Walter, Kathryn

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