Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Influence of Handicraft upon the Workers, 1918 Part 2

I decided to look at The Influence of Handicraft upon the Workers (Blount, E. and King, M.E., The Peasant Arts Fellowship Papers No. 10, Vineyard Press, Messrs. J. M. Dent & Sons, London, 1918) after finding that Clara Pammenter, one of the executors of the Peasant Arts works in 1896, was a neighbour of Maude Egerton King.  She was just 14 years old when she produced the works for the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society.  Whilst I have found a reasonable amount of writing about of writing about the works produced by the Haslemere Peasant Industries, there is little describing the impact upon Haslemere residents of the movement.  The tales within The Influence therefore seem a unique and heart warming record of the Peasant Arts movement's success:

Inside The Weaving House, Kings Road, Haslemere
from Studio International, Vol. 43, 5 Feb 1908

"Perhaps one of our happiest examples of the charm and help of handicraft, is an elderly married woman who had reached middle age by a path of patiently performed home duties, before ever she had come into touch with imaginative work of any kind.  She entered the Industries at first as an embroideress, and was immediately happy among the gay colours and designs.

Weavers at St Cross, Weydown Road, Haslemere
from Studio International, Vol. 43, 5 Feb 1908

"But the absolutely beatific life only began for her when was required to put her embroidery needle by and to take up the making of homespun - from the first unscoured wool, through all the processes of spinning, dyeing, and weaving to the shrinking  and perfecting of the cloth itself!  A sudden and wonderful enthusiasm filled her for this work and has never left her, nor ever will.  When at her wheel she says that it is almost impossible to keep from singing- "singing and spinning seem to belong together."  She goes about her daily duties, uplifted, radiant, dreaming daydreams of indigo, madder, fustic, and crottal; the murmur of the spinning-wheel is in her ear, she walks to the rhythm of the weaver's beam, and if her days pass swifter than the weaver's shuttle, they pass as profitably too!  She pretends to spin and weave for necessity and duty, but she doesn't- she does it for pure joy - for she is right in the secret which underlies all real work, and has become, in a humble degree, a creative artist."

 Studio International, Vol. 43, 5 Feb 1908

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