TIME TO CELEBRATE: Tracy Underwood and Tracy Blackburn with a hand loom.
TIME TO CELEBRATE: Tracy Underwood and Tracy Blackburn with a hand loom. Gary Worrall

Group has permanent home after 40 years

ON THE eve of the group's 40th anniversary, the Ipswich Historical Society Spinners and Weavers has a permanent home.

"It has been quite a journey,” group librarian Damaris Parker said.

"We met at the old TAFE, then at Bremer TAFE, that was really lovely, we branched out from the Ipswich Art Society.”

Subsequent homes over the years included churches, a dance school, before they were "adopted” by the Ipswich Historical Society 15 years ago.

"Even then we had multiple locations throughout the village here, wherever there was a spare space not in use,” Ms Parker said.

She said the current location, in Brighton House, came up last year, when Ipswich City Council donated three relocated houses it had acquired.

"We got one, and so did the genealogical society, they are next door to us now,” Ms Parker said.

She said the permanent home allowed the group to create displays of the items it had accumulated over the years.

"We have machines, patterns, displays of work, and other items donated by members of the public. It is quite a collection,” she said.

The group works on anything to do with textiles and the fibre arts, Ms Parker said.

"We enjoy the traditional arts, we don't need to make it, everything is commercially available, but factories cannot make it as nice as we can,” she said.

With 35 members, Ms Parker said the group regularly has 15 or 16 members attend a mid-week meeting at Brighton House.

"We meet every Thursday, plus the first Saturday of the month, plus we put together workshops and events during the year,” she said.

The next public exhibition is at the Ipswich Community Art Gallery, from March 31, with a title of What's in a bag?

"It will show visitors the various elements that go into making a textile bag, to show how it is done,” Ms Parker said.

Later in the year, she said the group would also host a workshop as part of the Ipswich Festival.

"On May 11, we are running a workshop called In the beginning, Spinning, but we will also be showing felting, spinning and dyeing,” Ms Parker said.

Without a permanent home in the past, she said hosting workshops had been a challenge.

"A lot of technical issues are now resolved for us,” she said.

Ms Parker said the group was always looking for new members, from absolute beginners to experienced spinners and weavers.

"We are all members of the historical society, it lowers the insurance cost, plus they gave us our home,” she said.

Ms Parker said they hoped to plant a "dye garden”, growing plants to create natural vegetable dyes.



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