The endangered crafts list has just been published for the 3rd year and there are new entries for 2019 of crafts that are in decline or very few people practising as a full time job. I would grab a coffee and find 10 minutes to read through the list of crafts that you never knew existed and dismay at the variety of skills and cultures are soon to lost if people do not take up the challenge to make something new .
There are a few on the list that caught my eye, Lacrosse Stick Making – I played this at school a long time ago and I am sure I still have some of the bruises.
A ‘Devon Maud’ not a lady from Devon but a basket, I had to look this on up on the interweb thing. This is a basket dating back to c1500 used in in markets for carrying produce.
The top 2 crafts remain knitting and crocheting ( I cannot do either justice) and yet there is a decline of skilled craftspeople who can make a spinning wheel.
Spinning wheels first appeared in India as early as 500 AD but now it is down to a handful of people keeping the skill alive, I still have a vision of Rumpelstiltskin and the spinning wheel…
A New Skill
So if I was going to pick something from the list – not that I have any spare time to do so, then it would have to be……….Smocking!. The time consuming but relaxing embroidery that for those old enough to remember had on their best dress or top. This craft is no longer taught at the Royal School of Needlework and yet has a place in history and could be so versatile when incorporated with other crafts. What would you choose?
So what does fair trade have to do with felting? In addition the wool produced in the UK used for needle or wet felting gifts there are many other countries who rely on the product to provide an income and support communities.
Over the last year Wobbly pins have been looking to extend their range of products and unique gifts and have been sourcing items that are Fairtrade meaning we are giving something back to communities whilst supporting our love of crafts.
So what does it mean for the felt items that are we sell?. At our craft fairs you can buy our handmade items or a range of gifts that we have bought from a companies who are reputable Fairtrade suppliers. This means that they are working with communities to produce goods that they have paid a market rate price that enables decent working conditions and local sustainability whilst learning a trade.
That extra few pence that you pay for an item may not mean much to you but it does ensure that the small scale producer in the remote countryside that produced your gift has some choice and control over their future and is able to reinvest in their community.
Where does our stock come from?
One of our suppliers is Gringo Wholesale and they have been importing Fairtrade items for many years. Over the last few months we have also been visiting trade fairs to meet the people behind the products and we have made some new contacts with small producers in Nepal that we are hoping to work with and have our own range designed.
We’re off today to The Handmade Fair gathering inspiration, learning new skills and picking up a few special materials for our products. We’ve had a whirlwind of production recently – here’s a few snapshots of our Advent calendar range.