Sunday, 31 August 2014

What a fantastic Gaelic Wool Festival in Benderloch/Oban

What an amazing 3 days we had at the Gaelic Wool Festival, Feis Cothlam at the Kintaline farm and in Benderloch from Thursday, the 17th to Saturday the 19th of July. We were so lucky to have sunshine most of the time. It was my first time at the Kintaline farm, a beautiful place in Argyll, not far from the sea. On Thursday lots of folk enjoyed a visit to the farmers market with additional stalls all about sheep, wool and wool craft and some other crafts. 

Not to forget Sgioba Luaidh, the waulking women, who sang gaelic waulking songs while waulking a handwoven tweed cloth. The waulking or fulling makes the hand woven fabric thicker, matts the fibers together, so the cloth becomes stronger and more water proof. This cloth was soaked in soapy water over night. 
The hand woven tweed during the walking process
I had a go at waulking and many others too. The waulking and the songs were a beautiful addition to the market. 

Beautiful spinning wheels for sale
Heartfelt by Liz's colourful wool and all you need for felting, spinning etc. stall.

I had a stall that day, demonstrating needle felting.

My creative fiber craft stall with all the needle felted creations
In the afternoon I walked through the farm's colourful garden to see the shearing of a sheep's fleece. A couple of Shetland sheep in different colour shades from beige to almost black where there to be sheared. 

I love the wool from the Shetland sheep

The shearer was shearing a small dark sheep, quietly and concentrated, alert of possible movements of the sheep and trying to keep it in a still position, using a pair of shearing clippers or scissors to shear the fleece off the sheep. I was impressed how quick and focused he worked, holding the sheep and moving it to the one or other side as needed. We, the observers watched silently full of aw and a little tense too, as we were aware of the difficult task, which had to be finished in one go. 

Eventually the fleece was sheared, a very dark brown wool, soft and still warm from the sheep's body temperature. 
Freshly sheared Shetland wool fleece

The next day, Friday we had workshops running and fiber craft skill sharing. I was facilitating a needle felt workshop in the morning and one in the afternoon. That was good fun! The participants enjoyed learning a new skill and being creative. 
Participants response:  
- "Enjoyed the whole experience. Thank you for giving the opportunity to try something new."  
- "I really enjoyed the workshop and the skills taught to me by Laryna. It has inspired me to take up felting and to try other creative ways of using wool."
Participants needle felt creations:

The Friday fiber craft day finished with an interesting and informative talk and a demonstration about Bedouin weaving in Kuwait. 

On Saturday we enjoyed a craft market with a wide range of fiber craft stalls, fleeces, fibers, tools and all you need to get creative with wool. 

Made a couple of mini gnomes
My stall
Fairy friends

What a fantastic event we had, with lots of interested visitors and participants. Thanks to the organizers and volunteers, who made this colourful and inspiring event possible to happen.


carole said...

Thank you so much for sharing more about the wonderful event in Oban. I hope to get to it one day. Your needle felted items are wonderful. glad I found your blog. I do some needle felting, spinning, rug hooking and I raise sheep.
I couldn't tell which apple was real! They all look like you could take a bite out of them.
Whispering Pines Farm

Anita said...

I think I need to plan my time in Scotland around some interesting events like this. Usually I visit family in Glasgow (Newton Mearns), but this definitely seems worth a longer stay ..... Thanks for your post and the pictures. :)

Laryna Elisabeth Wuppermann said...

Hi Carole and Anita, great you feel inspired to get along to the next Gaelic Wool Festival. Thank's a lot for your lovely comments! See you next year in Benderloch! :-)