the funniest story norman kennedy told was from his time time as master weaver at williamsburg. one gal who was spinning away was answering tourist questions, a tourist was asking her about spinning for such a long span of time, and if there was any ill effects. "oh yes, she told him, there is the dreaded treadle toe". heehee, lisa s, i will have to remember that one next time i'm spinning up your 2 pounds of biffle.
and norman told us stories about when he was young, learning the old ways of spinning and dyeing. the first time he brought home a fleece, his dad told him he couldn't bring the wool into the house before it was washed, because of the diseases that could be in the wool. he told us of taking the fleece off of dead sheep. many stories of how his family made do with what they had. stories of being bombed by the germans. stories of when he first came to america as a folk singer. he also said that his grandma knit the old way with a knitting belt, but his mother knit without the belt. i loved all the dyeing with urine (piss) stories, gah, what does that say about me?
i asked norman if he would write a book, he said he had taught some wonderful students (i have a feeling melissa weaver dunning is a favorite of his) and now they are in turn teaching their students.
for me, the best part of the class was the stress-free atmosphere, maybe norman knew we were mostly there to meet him, soak up his knowledge, and listen to his tales. his lilting scots accent is marvelous!
he was very interested in my friend's and my nantucket basket purses, and knew quite a lot about the baskets. but he's never been to nantucket, i hope he gets to go someday, there are so many wonderful artists and craftsmen on the island. it is always astonishing to me how such a small island can support so many full time artists.
here is the link to the photo albums of norman's class and waterford. truly a magical time.
cassie, this photo is for you :-)