Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weaving and Spinning at Spring Mt. Ranch State Park

Yesterday five members of the LV Fiber Arts Guild demonstrated weaving and spinning at Spring Mount Ranch State Park, west of Las Vegas near Red Rock Canyon. They were celebrating Pioneer Days and showcasing several pioneer crafts and sports on the ranch.

The Black Powder group were periodically shooting their guns, while chili and cornbread were being cooked elsewhere. I never did get away from my loom to take a tour of the grounds, but did see several people eating the chili and cornbread. (I did hear that Bob, whoever that might have been, burned the biscuits, but don’t know if that was a rumor or not.) Next door to our weaving and spinning room, the ladies were making candles, and down the hill they were demonstrating washing clothes with a wash board and ringer. I’m sure an eye opener to the cub scouts touring the exhibits. Around the corner from the candle makers some mountain men were demonstrating throwing hatchets at targets. That reminded me of the old Johnny Carson Late Show episode with Ed Ames and the tomahawk toss.

Down in the corral there were some saddled horses, I don’t know if they were giving some rides or not, and nearby was a tent with rag rugs for sale. Very cheap, but we had to chuckle as they were made in India. Kind of ironic we thought.

We were demonstrating in one of the old stone buildings that had been used as a home on the ranch, perhaps for one of the ranch hand families. Of the five of us Holli had the cutest costume complete with white hat. She was weaving pieces of fabric on her rigid heddle loom making a tote and then switched to weaving the handle for the tote on her inkle loom. I tried for more of a Mexican rather colonial theme for my costume, so I could get away with dangly earrings and no hat. As you can see I’m still plugging away on my bookmarks on my Voyageur loom.

Vicky went for a western cowgirl look, as she didn’t want to wear a long shirt. I thought that suited her really well with the braids and hat. She was weaving on a rigid heddle frame that’s been converted to a tapestry loom. She was working on her own design in two colors, and had a really relaxed approached to her weaving.
Audrey switched between the drop spindle and the spinning wheel throughout the afternoon. People are always fascinated by the spinning wheel, almost mesmerized by its workings. We spent time explaining the difference between our looms, and showing how we wove our patterns. The adults were as interested at the children, and we gave out information about our guild and weaving instruction available. All in all, an enjoyable experience.

It was a beautiful day, although it didn’t start out that way with lots of wind and clouds as everyone set up. There was a pack of donkeys near the road looking through the fence at the tourists in the car parked in the middle of the road going into the ranch as I was hurrying to get into the ranch area, late as usual. I didn’t think to stop and take a picture of donkeys then, as they were gone when I left in the afternoon. The ranch is close to the Spring Mountains and the view shown here as I was leaving I think is notable.

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