Two of our Guild members, Pat Higby and Karen Agee, shared their Estonian Craft Camp adventure during our October meeting.
The camp provided attendees an opportunity to learn about traditional Estonian handicrafts by selecting two one-day classes, one two-day class, and a field trip. Other cultural experiences were available some mornings and evenings. All classes were either taught in English or with an English translator.
Pat chose birch bark weaving as one of her one-day classes. In this class she learned several basic birch bark weaving techniques to make a variety of traditional objects.
Karen Agee chose the Estonian natural dye class. In this workshop she learned how to dye woollen yarn with plants, how to choose and collect dye plants, how to prepare a dye bath, and how to premordant and dye yarns using the most important dye plants of Estonia.
Perhaps one of Pat’s favorite classes was making and dyeing a needle case made from bone, a material used since prehistoric times. Knives, files, drills, and sanding materials were used to shape the elk bones. Natural dyes from flowers and berries completed the project.
The earliest examples of tablet weaving in Estonia date back to the twelfth century, and Karen discovered Estonian tablet weaving is somewhat different from the method she had previously learned. In this class she made the key chain and belt shown above.
Pat’s two-day class was learning about the crepe weaving technique. This traditionally woven shawl has a checkerboard pattern and Estonian twisted fringe.
Karen’s two-day class was learning the tradition of knitting Haapsalu shawls, which dates back a few centuries. Originating from the small coastal resort town of Haapsalu, this knitting technique is an important part of Estonia’s cultural heritage.
Characteristics of this extremely fine lace knitting are its nupps, lace edging, and light weight. Since this technique is quite challenging even to the experienced knitter, participants made a sampler. You can see Karen’s beautiful work in the photo above.
Are you looking for a crafty adventure? Next year’s Craft Camp will be held July 5-11 in Viljandi, Estonia. Pat and Karen encourage anyone interested in attending to sign up as soon as the new schedule is available. They had a wonderful experience and may go again. Thanks to both Karen and Pat for sharing their wonderful experience!
The link to the Craft Camp is here: https://www.kultuur.ut.ee/en/craft-camp