We just completed our third appearance demonstrating Silk Reeling at the New York Sheep & Wool Festival. We have been demonstrating silk reeling for at least eight years now in a variety of places (the Big E [Eastern States Exposition], the South Shore Natural Science Center, the Caterpillar Lab, a quilting guild, among others). My husband, Herman, and I enjoy these demonstrations, we enjoy the reactions of people when we explain the process and the end results. It’s difficult to choose whether it is more rewarding to demonstrate this to people who are not very familiar with how fabrics are made or those who are involved with the fiber arts.
When we demonstrate in places such as the Big E, we encounter many people have never given much thought as to where silk comes from. Although we generally experience a more informed audience when we demonstrate at fiber events, people are still quite amazed by the reeling process.
In almost all venues, many of our visitors are families with adults and children of all ages. The reactions to our explanations range from “Ewwww!” to “That is so cool!” We have often been told that our demonstrations alone are “worth the price of admission.” I love being able to let people touch silk from different species, view and touch various types of reeled silk thread, and hold cocoons. We also have a variety of silk preparations (sliver, brick, hankies and caps, lapps, noils, carrier rods, etc.) used by spinners, fly fisherman, and other crafters.
And I’m very happy to report that we’ve already been asked to return to the 2019 New York Sheep and Wool Festival! Hope we see you at one of our future demonstrations.