Spinning instructor Tina Mossmer from Piermaritzburg (left) in action. Next to her are Anette Matthews and Miensie van Zyl, both from Pretoria.

For the past four years a group of spinners and weavers have been congregating in Van Reenen every March to be caught “thread handed” in the Green Lantern Inn.

Thread Handed, explains Glynis Brooke, event organiser and a weaving instructor, is a forum for people who are interested in fibre crafts in general, but more specifically in the crafts of spinning and weaving. The Van Reenen event is a training event where enthusiasts can learn the skills of these ancient crafts under the watchful eye of excellent instructors, without any fear of being caught red-handed and elbow deep in homespun yarn.

To a certain extent, says Glynis, spinning and weaving represent the traditional first steps of value adding to agricultural products. In ancient times, animal or plant fibre would have been processed into some form of textile. There is evidence from as far back as 6 000 years ago that ancient civilisations spun and wove fibre into textiles.

“Increasingly, we see that people find value in these ancient crafts, on the one hand for the satisfaction of being able to produce beautiful things with their own hands, and on the other, it creates a feeling of connectedness to the past, maybe even as a reaction against our fast-paced, consumerist modern lifestyle. Technology has removed us so far from the pleasure and skill of using our hands to create something useful and beautiful, that it has left a huge void in many people’s lives,” Glynis explains.

The idea of hosting such an event in Van Reenen came from Ellen Janse van Rensburg, of the Highlands Farm Estate just outside Van Reenen. She shared her idea with Glynis at a crafts workshop in Gauteng and the upshot was the presentation of the first Thread Handed event in 2015 in a house on the farm estate. In 2016, needing more space, for the flood of eager participants, they moved the event to the Green Lantern Inn. Since then, Bill and Gayle Ross-Adams and their staff, says Glynis, have done a sterling job of hosting the event. Interest has grown every year to such an extent that this year the organisers had to turn people away.

Van Reenen is a wonderfully central location for an event like this says Glynis. Attendees come from Gauteng, the Free State, KZN and even from Cape Town in the Western Province.

With Thread Handed now firmly established as a concept, a similar event is to be hosted in Greyton, in the Western Cape, in July.

For more information, contact Glynis Brooke on 0828862152. – Izak Hofmeyr, AgriOrbit

Glynis shares more about Thread Handed and what they do in the video below: