This was such a special event and so exciting that I had to blog about this in BOTH my blogs. so forgive me if you read both. Alba Ranch, Melisa and Charlie Morrison, saw Norman Kennedy at Table Rock Llama Shop in Black Forest, Colorado last night.
Norman Kennedy was born in 1933 on King Street in Aberdeen, Scotland. Charlie Morrison was born and raised in Buckie, Scotland about 1.5 hours outside of Aberdeen. Melisa and Charlie lived in Aberdeenshire after they were married so it was exciting to be around folks from Scotland again.
Weldon Walker, pictured in a blue shirt to Norman’s left, wove a lovely blanket in a tartan like pattern that was the main piece for the Waulking demonstration. Norman said that he always has the weaver of the cloth sit to his left as that keeps him close to his heart. The piece had just come off the loom and was a 2:2 twill. After the waulking, Norman laid the cloth out on the table to roll it with a board. You can see it laid out here on the table just prior to being rolled.
Waulking is a step in woolen cloth making that fulls the fiber using water, soap and friction. It is traditionally called Waulking in Scotland. The cloth is cleaned, thickened and shrunk all in this process.
Norman has lived in the USA since 1966 and currently has a home and Fiber Art School in Vermont. He travels around the USA doing demonstrations, classes, waulking and concerts. He cards, spins, weaves and waulks the fiber in the “old” ways keeping traditions alive along with his extensive collection of English and Gaelic songs. Doing repetitive work, the songs keep his rhythm steady and are an essential part of the work. In June 2003, Norman received the National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts in the USA.
It was lovely to see Norman and talk with him. There was also another lady there from Scotland as well named Moira Theriault. It turned out that she was friends with a John Taylor from Buckie, Scotland that now currently lives in CA. His youngest brother is Donald Taylor, who just happened to be one of Charlie’s mates from school in Buckie. Very small world indeed.