Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Talkin' Tartan

In the relaxed atmosphere that followed Emma finishing her weaving sampler, Emma told Clarice Shanks, her weaving teacher, that she is interested in weaving the fabric for kilts. Clarice explained how exacting they are, trying to help Emma realize the difficulty of taking on such a project. Emma's enthusiasm worked on Clarice instead, and Clarice hurried from the room. She came back with two books on kilts and Tartans. Thus began a long conversation on the different clans' patterns, interjected with stories from Scottish history, some of Emma's favorites. Who was more excited? I could not tell. Part of me was listening to them; the other part was imagining all the different regions of Emma's brain lighting up and little bells ringing at each excited synapse.

Clarice told Emma that the Bay Area Weavers and Spinners had done a tartan study a few years ago. I wish I had a picture of Emma's face when she heard that news. Actually, her whole body sort of drooped; she was so sad that she had missed it. Then Clarice told Emma that a Scottish master weaver and spinner named Norman Kennedy might come and teach a class, and Emma perked up again. She had been hearing about him from all the weavers in the studio as she worked on her sampler. Clarice also said that Mr. Kennedy has an incredible voice and sings Scottish folk songs. More lights and bells! Clarice actually had a recording on her computer of him singing and played it for us. Here was the great intersection of all Emma's interests: fiber arts, history, folk dancing, and folk songs.

I checked the clock and realized it was closing time. What a blessing! We were able to get out of there before Emma's circuits overloaded.

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