A group of 15 young people and 5 Action for Children staff visited the Woolmill in July. The group spent the day creating felt picture and making stick weaving braids. The group also enjoyed personalized tours from our junior tour guide Amy, also a tour of the gardens by Emma-Jane our junior gardener. Aidan, another Junior Gardener, spent the day entertaining and supporting group with his good humor and knowledge with a little DJing during the workshops. A very fun and happy day for the group and staff involved, a great opportunity to welcome new people to the Woolmill.
30th July was a fun packed day here at the Woolmill, we were lucky to have EarthTime with us running a session of outdoor creative and fun activities. We were joined by over 20 young folk and their parents from our local community and further afield. Everyone was having a great time, and we received very positive feedback from parents and children, with lovely sunshine to accompany the day! To find out more about Earthtime and the sessions they run, head to www.earthtime.co.uk
If you cross the footbridge over the Knockando Burn, you will see Fuller’s teasel, Dipsacus fullonum stativus. This is a biennial plant from the Mediterranean. And is just coming into flower in North east Scotland! The seed heads, which appear in the second year, are covered with stiff but flexible spines. These have been used to raise the nap on woollen and other fabrics since Roman times. Hand raising using teasels, which was the only method available until the nineteenth century, was expensive and only used on the best cloth. Wire combs were often used to finish cheaper cloth, despite the damage which could be done.
Teasels were grown all over England where wool conversion took place but latterly, only in South Yorkshire, Essex and Somerset. The last teasel growers (in Somerset) seem to have ceased trading in the late 1980s. Teasels are now sourced from Spain, France and Italy.
The Woolmill used the Teasel Gig (in the Old Mill) to raise the nap on blankets after they had been washed and stretched on the tenter frames. Teasels have now been largely replaced by wire or synthetics and are only used on fine, high quality fabrics such as those made from cashmere or mohair, or speciality cloths such as billiard and tennis ball cloths. For some other cloths such as cashmere, the teasels are wet and the fabric sprayed with a fine mist of water during raising.
The latest in our series of creative workshops with Sally Charlesworth. Working in an inspirational space and using bright colours, Sally encouraged participants to imagine beautiful vibrant landscapes and bring them alive whilst learning new way to work with acrylic paint.
Dorothy's Abstract Mountain
Knockando Woolmill Abstract
Sandra's Abstract Mountain
‘Brilliant – first time I’ve used acrylic paints and I surprised myself with what I could create. Sally really made the workshop fun, she was very encouraging and taught me how to think outside the box. Great group atmosphere with people from all ages from teenagers upwards’ Sandra
Throughout this series of workshops we have had excellent feedback on the variety of workshops and the wonderful sharing and teaching ability of Sally Charlesworth. We have already had numerous enquireies about what workshops are we planning next, and specifically if we will be running any Christmas themed workshops! We have received many positive comments from participants on the original use of space and the warm welcome they have received.
Lots more fun in the Knockando garden this weekend, as the Junior Gardeners dug over and prepared the new garden around the classroom. Tansy and yarrow dye plants were planted, these were propagated by one of our super garden volunteers, Annette. Sunflowers and a mix of colourful flowering plants were also added to the beds. The JG’s Grandparents have been visiting with them the past few days, and Granddad helped out Aidan with some handy weeding tips.
Our Junior Tour Guide Amy took two tours today - one was a lovely couple all the way from Minnesota and the other was a local family. Amy is learning more about Woolmill at each session, and definitely looking the part in her Knockando Woolmill tweed skirt. Both groups thoroughly enjoyed their tours, commenting: "Fantastic tour, Amy was very good and knew a lot about the mill!" Now that the schools are on holiday Amy will be joining us more often, so keep an eye on the website to find out when when and how to book a tour.
A series of three workshops held at the Woolmill, where the group developed their chosen materials to create individual pieces of artwork.
A lovely journey of inspiration and of learning new creative techniques, learning how to layer different materials and bring them together to form a final piece of work. Using familiar materials in a totally new and unusual ways.
Emma-Jane and Aidan have been planting up some lovely sunflowers, pumpkins, cucumbers and snap dragons. These plants had been grown from seed at home, before coming down to the Woolmill. Annette, one of our fabulous grown-up garden volunteers, will be bringing down some dye plants that she has propagated at home next week, so the JG’s will be digging over the rest of the garden around the outdoor classroom this Sunday in preparation.
The Knockando Woolmill Trust had a fantastic time at Piping at Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships 2015! The team spent the day teaching visitors about wool, the Woolmill, and getting hands of with spinning and weaving lessons…
Coming up in August: Two days of outdoor activities for 7-14 year olds, with Fly Agaric Performing Arts. Day one will focus on outdoor bushcraft skills and wild life exploration, with den/shelter building and treasure hunts! Day two will be a day of circus skills, including juggling, plate spinning, poi and hula hoop! Participants can book one, two or three days: 1 day - £25, 2 days - £45.