Monday, April 02, 2007

Harvest Festival at a historic homestead

Here are some photos from the Totara Estate harvest fetsival where I spent yesterday demonstating wool dyeing as part of their "Fleece to Fashion" marquee.

Totara Estate, just south of Oamaru, is the home of the first shipment of refrigerated meat from NZ to Great Britain in ... ...umm...a very long time ago, anyway. This open day was a celebration of heritage crafts and living. There were Clydesdales and a bullock team, Shrek the famous Merino, a penny farthing rider, swaggers,

people making coracles, a blacksmith, scarecrow making, and demonstations of spinning, weaving, lacemaking, some other crafts, and of course, dyeing.
The animals ploughed and pulled carts, or were shorn.
There was food like lamb shanks, tripe and onions, and so on, but we just had sandwiches and coffee. Many people came in Victorian costume.

You can see my table in the top photo, complete with the traditional heritage microwave. I was asked many times if I used natural dyes. Naturally, these sound clean and green and wholesome. Most people are unaware that many natural dyes need to be set with heavy metal mordants, and are probably less safe than the chemicals I use. These chemical dyes have been around since the 1850's so are quite appropriate in the sort of situation.

All in all, a pleasant day.


Kate said...

Now this is a fact that stuck in my Brain from Primary school - it was the "Dunedin" in 1882. Gold Star, Miss?

marion said...

Mmm. When I give talks or demos, I'm asked about natural dyes. I explain why I don't use them, and people look mildly appalled. Not sure whether it's at me, or at the things you have to work with with natural dyes to get them to perform...

MargaretR said...

Doesn't time fly? I can see you got your penny farthing again.

Ali Honey said...

Looks like a great local effort by all!

Maureen said...

LOL - heritage microwave. I'm glad someone agrees with me about natural dyes and the mordants. I was on the natural dye list for a while and they were all talking about using Drano (caustic soda) to fix certain colours. I just freaked!