Monday, August 24, 2015

Spinning wool

click photo to enlarge
There are children today who, if you tell them that milk comes from cows, will look at you incredulously, thinking that you are playing some kind of practical joke on them. The same children find it hard to believe that the bread they are eating is made from the seeds of a cultivated grass. As for the notion that the jumper they are wearing was once, in rather more basic form, worn by a sheep - well, suggest that and your sanity will be questioned. If you find this hard to believe, let me assure you I have met such children. They are not widespread, but they do exist, and for two reasons. Firstly, their parents haven't told them about such things either through traditional stories or in the normal course of their early lives. And secondly, because modern life increasingly distances us from the source of our food and drink, the clothes we wear and much else.

Before I took today's photograph I was explaining the process of weaving - insofar as I understand it - to my grand-daughter as we watched the sheep fleece pass through the spinner's hands onto the spinning wheel and thence to the bobbin. What fascinated her most was the way the steady up and down foot movement of the spinner on the treadle was, via rods, cranks and wheels converted into very fast rotary movement, and how the mass of wool was drawn into a single strand. It intrigued me too and I was glad that here was someone carrying on this tradition and demonstrating it for all to see.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 80mm (160mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.5
Shutter Speed: 1/200 sec
Exposure Compensation: 0
Image Stabilisation: On