Over the lockdown, we’ve been chatting to our volunteers and asking them to share some of their stories about the experiences that they’ve had volunteering with us. Anne Marie kindly shared her insight to volunteering in the weaving gallery at Bradford Industrial Museum.
I started my volunteer journey at the Museum at the end of last year. I am very lucky to be based in the weaving gallery , with Greg , the Weaver and Visitor Services Assistant. Greg and all the staff and volunteers at the museum have been very helpful and friendly, making me feel comfortable from the start.
I am also a member of Bradford & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers and through them I have developed an interest in weaving . I’ve been working through various weave structures on a couple of looms at home, over the last few years. However my weaving knowledge is minuscule and pales into insignificance compared to Greg’s. Add to that the amazing machines here, some of which can still produce cloth, and you really do appreciate The Weaver’s specialist skills.
The machines are amazing and hugely time consuming to look after and maintain. Greg has been showing me how to set up one of the machines, the Dobcross H.K. Box Loom, which still weaves cloth . It is amazing to think of the engineering minds that went into creating these machines, which seem so complex to me. Greg meanwhile has been renovating a large Hattersley Standard loom, which will be a sight to see when completed. Hopefully I may be able to work on a couple of other looms in the gallery, including an old floor loom .
It feels an honour to have access to these machines and all the wonders of the museum, which holds some amazing artefacts and a whole host of textile related goodies, but also to be able to chat with the public, many of whom relate personal tales of their mill experiences of the past and have an interest in the history around us.
I hope I’ll be able to be of more help to Greg, when I have broadened my knowledge with some of these looms and he can trust me to work with more limited supervision. Unfortunately my adventure has been halted my the Covid-19 outbreak, so it’s been back to my small manual looms at home, but I look forward to returning and being immersed again in the history of weaving and meeting up with the staff .