Although I’ve only been to two, I get the impression that all annual Ontario Handspinning Seminars are fun. But I’m not surprised to hear from long-time attendees that this year’s 50th anniversary seminar in Owen Sound was the best in a long time. Since my day job is in the libraries and archives realm I was of course looking forward to the Grey Roots museum portion of the weekend and the rare chance to admire and even use some of the spinning wheels from one of the largest spinning wheel collections in the world. The location right on the Georgian Bay was lovely too, as were the meals. But like last year, it was the spinners that really made the weekend the treasure that it was. Late-night spinners can get loopy in the best kind of way.
Thanks to Cheryl R. for capturing this one!!
Friday evening included the annual fiber marketplace, where I finally picked up the delightful Sericin Silkworks Clouds of Luxury Fingerless Gloves kit, a blending hackle from Gemini Fibres with an all-important safety cover (on which I’m sure to injure myself nevertheless) and… an irresistible BFL/Romney/Corrie mix fleece that our shepherd friend Gilly brought with her all the way from Nova Scotia. I wasn’t planning on purchasing another fleece but I’m starting to learn that my self-control around silvery crimpy fleeces is akin to my self-control around cheese and chocolate (read: non-existent).
This is my “OMG I bought another 6 lb fleece my husband is going to kill me” look.
There was a wonderful exhibit in the presentation room that showcased articles and photographs of past OHS seminars as well as some amazing dyeing, weaving and spinning projects, hanspun lace that gave me goose bumps, and incredibly vivid colour studies.
And of course there was Gord Lendrum’s amazing “Diabolical Contraption”, a four-pedal, four-flyer spinning wheel which I couldn’t work up the courage to try. These four ladies had everything under control, though:
The Best Western in Owen Sound is right on the bay, which guaranteed incredible sunsets.
Most of Saturday was spent at the Grey Roots Museum and Archives where outdoor workshops covered flax processing, needle felting, natural dyeing, and sheep shearing:
"Just gettin' my bi-annual trim. N.B.D."
The Polynesian curry lunch and the museum grounds and heritage buildings weren’t too shabby, either!
Indoors we got to admire an impressive number of antique wheels from around the world, including the jaw-dropping Dorothy Kirk collection.
This Dutch wheel with ivory accents was my favourite. Isn’t it exquisite?
A delicious smorgasbord banquet dinner followed and after stuffing myself ourselves with killer desserts we got to spin the night away while being serenated by a harpist.
Sunday morning presentations featured Wheels with a Canadian connection and painted a rich history of Ontario’s skilled wheelsmiths, past and present, and what I like to call incentive to scour Kijii and Craigslist ads because clearly there are treasures to be found out there!
So. If you’re a spinner in Ontario and have yet to attend a Seminar, just GO. There are always skills to polish, kindred souls to meet, and at the very least, enough inspiration to tie you over until next year.