Monday, December 6, 2010

Talking about Tatting at Lang Pioneer Village’s Christmas by Candlelight

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Today’s Blog Post
Talking about Tatting at Lang Pioneer Village’s Christmas by Candlelight

I have a problem. And I was the one that created the problem for my self. Sheesh!

I promised my granddaughter Emma to help her with the School Sale this Thursday! I told her that I would have a number of Christmas Balls decorated with Tatting for her to sell.

That was before the weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday evening I sold most of what I had made. All the decorations that Emma loved went to some one else’s tree – all over the country!

Oh Boy! Time to Tat up a storm before Thursday’s sale.
But then there is a problem… today I travel to Kingston for another meeting. I will Tat in the car while my wife drives… that should help!

Wednesday is an emotional wipe out day. CHEX TV is coming to the Peterborough Square (our downtown mall) to do the feature of me and tatting for Christmas. After worrying what I look like (I stopped doing that ages ago) I need to worry what I will sound like… and if what I say will make any sense at all.

So Tuesday will be a BIG Tatting Day for Emma and her school sale.

So where was the Big Sale? Lang Pioneer Village was the place… and the happening was the “Christmas by Candlelight” annual happening at the Village. It was actually a Demonstration – not a sale.. people just wanted to buy one the ornaments… and away they went. I hadn’t expected it at all… but it happened.

What an amazing opportunity it was to tell the old, old story about Lace Making and in particular my story about Tatting.

Laying on the table for display were my very old Tatting Shuttles – most had been used for years and years by many Tatters from all over North America. Some in the collection were purchased from different places around the world.
Three shuttles have great meaning for me – and the personal value is beyond imagination.

I have my Grandma Emma Kirkpatrick’s old yellow plastic shuttle that she received one time in a soap box. That was likely about the 1940s or maybe earlier when Tatting was a rage.

I have my Grandma Lenore Lincoln’s chrome plated steel shuttle that has the finish almost worn off it. She was a prolific tatter to say the least. Her younger sister told me that she was the best Tatter in the country… or was that the world!?

Then laying beside these two is the Hickory Tatting Shuttle that my Great Grandpa Phillips carved for his daughter Lenore – about a hundred years ago.

As people came by the table I spun my stories over and over again. I stood or kneeled to tell the story to the kids that came by dressed in their snow suits… all sporting red noses.

As my shuttle flew under and over; over and under, and the small ring of tatting appeared from what seemed like nowhere, the clusters of people jammed in close to see… and exclamations of “Wow!” – “Ohhh!” and many others filled the room.

As I looked up one time I was sure that I saw Great Grandpa Phillips grinning at me from across the room. I think I saw Lenore smiling from ear to ear and then laughing deeply the way that she used to. Then there was Grandma Kirk beaming along too… but there were likely more than a two dozen older people still that were pointing to their old shuttle in the display case and trying to tell me to show their shuttles off… “Use mine, use mine…”

These are my ghosts/spirits of tatting gone by…

The look on the face and the sparkling eyes of each child as I gave them a small ring to take home… was the best. They had just witnessed their precious little Ring appear and then they held it in their hot little hand that had just slipped out of their mittens.

That look on their face made it worth it all. The sparkle in their eyes was amazing.

Now to the adults with them… I can’t tell you how many people want to learn how to do Tatting. This show was a huge success in that way. Dozens upon dozens want to learn how to Tat. It is a cotton picking miracle to say the least. From this show alone I may have to teach for the rest of life.

“This is definitely something that I want to take up when I retire!” one man stated. Yep – that was a MAN that stated that. “I could do that” said another.

When I told them that I teach Tatting each week in the Peterborough Square in conjunction with the Crop Circles Store…each Wednesday… they were immediately interested.

I don’t doubt that there will be a revival of all things old.

People are tired of all the gadgetry and the electronic packed world. They need relief from their Blackberry Thumbing and constant texting.

One man responded to my statement of how much I enjoyed tatting… by saying, “I have been watching you do this from across the room. Even when there was no one listening to you, you were enjoying it…”

That launched a conversation of all things old and the great value that we could find in going back into our heritage. I think he was a University Prof or something. I think that I may appear in one his up coming lectures as well as an illustration.

One of the great treats was having not only my wife with me but a new tatting student that came along with me. Her name is Angela and she has become an amazing Tatter in a short few months.

One day in August Angela was walking through the Peterborough Square during her lunch time. She saw the Tatting on the display table I had set up. She stopped to ask some questions and then came back for a lesson. That was the start.

On Saturday and Sunday she stood at one end of the table and I at the other… and we both talked unending… hour after hour… telling what we knew of this old craft.

Angela is amazing with her ability to catch the concept and then share what she has learned. She may be the BEST I have ever witnessed! WOW!

And if she ever reads this Blog… I want her to know how much fun it was working with her at that Tatting Table! For about ten years now I have been standing at that table alone. This past weekend I found a partner in Tatting.

How many people came by?

I estimated at a high point that I was speaking with about 5 to 6 people for 5 minutes, unending for 4 and half hours each night. That would be 60 people an hour and maybe 250 or so in four hours. At times it was more than that.. the crowds were standing two and three deep – pressing forward to get a glimpse of the small ring that would appear. Then these folk went out to bring their friends to see it.

Angela was doing the same at her end of the table. It was one very busy time in Tatting. There was a buzz about the table like few I have ever seen.

One young man in his mid twenties stood out for me. He stepped around the back of the table and asked if he could try to Tat with me. “I need you to show me how to do this.” He tried hard to get his cold fingers to work… and eventually was making a Ring. I asked him if he had ever done this before and why he needed to know how to do it.

He stated, “I have a in my sewing case one of these things (holding the shuttle in his hand) and I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was something to do with fishing… like a fish hook or something… this is amazing… I am going to try to do Tatting.”

I told him there are some great Tatting Videos on YouTube. He beamed from ear to ear – then headed off with his buddies that were standing across the room watching him try to Tat. I imagine that he will have some questions to answer as he was displaying his gentle side…

Now all this didn’t just happen by accident.

At Lang Pioneer Village there is an amazing staff assembled that plan all of these great weekends and happenings at this very old village. Along with the team of volunteers that they have developed… the show goes on and on.

I could do nothing like this without the Lang Pioneer Village Staff. Thanks so much from all us as volunteers. You made this all possible!

Thank you Laurie and Joe… you are just super!

~ Murray Lincoln ~


N. Maria said...

What a fantastic read!!!! Beautiful ornaments....just lovely.
I saw your posting on Here-Be-Tatters.
I learned to tat with a VHS tape from the library and I, too, will work harder on passing on the very portable craft.

Tatskool said...

Wonderful blog post, what a great family history. I too have an old tatting shuttle that my mother had...but we have no idea who used it, guess is my great grandmother...wish i knew.
keep spreading the word.

Tatman said...

wonderful report about your demonstration/sale! I especially like the part of the twenty year old guy who was so interested in learning despite his buddies across the room. When I demo at events, I find that the young men or really young boys are the most interested. Not sure if it is because *I* am a man and can do it or if it is because the shuttle is like a tool. And men love their tools!! ;) There is hope in this world for the young yet!!!

Suztats said...

How exciting that so many people were interested in your tatting! Wonderful post, too.
Love your tatted Christmas balls ---- they look enticing. Congratulations on your upcoming TV appearance. Will you post when it'll be broadcast? I'd love to see it.
Best wishes

AngelaRL said...

Murray, it was truly an honor to spend two evening with "the master of tatting". :) I've been very fortunate to have you guiding me along my journey. Thank you so much for your kind words. As Murray said, it was rewarding to see the level of interest, especially the fellow who actually picked up the shuttle and wanted to try tatting.