I set down to write a small press release about not doing anything for Spin in Public Day on September 18th. Maybe not nothing, maybe just finish playing in the dog hair project - you know, raise funds for my fiber art barn by spinning up small animals or hats from people's pet hair. Or, work on the color that I invented that I'm going to call "Bunnies inna Grass" because I'm just that kind of dork, or play in the two fleeces that I'm prepping right now. But instead, I ended up writing a diatribe.
September 18th is work-wide spin in public day. Anyone is welcome to grab a sick and twirl something, maybe even something useful. The Bemidji contintgent of artists won't be holding a public celebration since most are still recovering from the fair, and are planning for their retreat next week. There were only two skeins of yarn on display at the Beltrami County Fair this year, but several projects began with something spinning in the air. At least two projects began in the grass north of Lake Bemidj on a beautiful Lincoln sheep with sticks and string, and will be keeping a family warm this winter.
There is always a debate over art vs craft. Is one of the fair's submitted prjects high art for making a statement against modern economics? Maybe a statement against torture - against mans inhumanity to man or against the chaos of modern systems. Ok - I really did just write "man's inhumanity to ham". Must be getting hungry.
The line of art v craft is usually drawn at usefullness. The project that makes the above statements is actually a humble pair of socks made by someone's mother from the sheep that they raised. Functional, beautiful, and almost as loud a political statement as the Obama Quilt that was hung in the center of the room.
The over educated might remember that a small, humble spinning wheel was the tool that spun the British Empire out of their colony, India. M. Ghandi advocated that each person could do a small bit to help India become economicall independent by spinning cotton on a charka. Cotton from India, neighbors weaving cloth, and wearing the result of industrious neighbors was one of the most successful economic boycotts and political protests of all time. I'm pretty sure that they might have been drinking tea, but they weren't rude to each other while they were doing it.
This small wheel, the charka has been reinvented by Ajeet Raju S Hiremath to generate electricity. The e-charka stores the energy from two hours of spinning to power an LED light for 7.5 hours, and can also be used to run a small radio. The e-charka is distributed by KVIC Mumbai.
Finally, in our school down the road, some child is spinning a pencil, a coin, a paper simply because the eye is fascinated. When the spinners do get together, traffic stops. Passersby watch the wheels spin, watch the bundles of color as they float and smile. A spinner can tell what type of person they are looking at because the creative types goggle at the colors, animal lover's hands twitch at petting the fluff and mechanical types watch the connections of the treadle to big wheel to drive band to flyer to bobbin. Theres just something about spinning that appeals to the child, the artist and the hippy in all of us. Have a great Spin in Public Day!
The Boucle store in Fargo will be hosting a "Spin In" on the 19th, and the other area stores are busily running a Shop Hop. You can find details and prizes for that on the web. Shannon Anderson moderates the Crafty in Minnesota group on Ravelry as ShannonA and moderates the Event Calendar for the state of MN.