Folk Center: Clothier, Spinner, & Weaver

We had so much fun at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas last week. The last couple days, we have highlighted our friends, Racheal and Skip, and their copper flame painting. Now we want to share some of our experience with the other artists at the center.


Our first stop was the Clothier. We met the sweetest lady, Melody Conatser. She is a craft interpreter for the Clothier as well as the Spinning and Weaving in another building. She has been at the Folk Center for seven years having apprenticed for six months with the master weaver.

She sweetly shared with us that she had been sewing since she was a little girl. She showed us a bag full of hand-sewn yoyos that she had been making since she was a child. She asked us if we had any ideas for what to do with them, and I thought it would be cute to make them into Christmas tree garland (might have to work on that for myself when I teach My Princess to sew). Melody’s favorite thing to make is little girls dresses.

Melody at Clothier Shop, Ozark Folk Center

Melody showed us the 1907 sewing machine they use to make the clothing at the shop. Treadle sewing machineThey had a few other sewing machines from different decades, one was a 1860 sewing machine that sews from side to side rather than front to back like we are used to with modern machines. Her assumption was that it was because they were so used to hand-stitching from side to side that it was a more natural thing for them at that time. And that possibly it was much easier to sew their yards and yards of dresses fitting with the fashion of that era.Side to side sewing machine Clothier Shop

The shop is full of fun old tools for sewing and fashion.Antique sewing suppliesAntique items

Mini sewing machine

Mini sewing machine

Mini sewing machine

You can also learn the skill of tatting to make a very delicate lace at the Clothier Shop.

Spinning & Weaving

After looking around at other buildings, we stopped by the Spinning and Weaving building and were happy to find Melody had left the Clothier in her volunteer, Judy’s, capable hands and opened up the shop.

We had such a good time talking to her before that we knew she would be a great help to us again.

She showed us the techniques they use to dye the fibers such as wool and cotton. They mix chamomile, sandalwood, or zinnias with water for a couple weeks in large jars.Washing Drying Dying Natural Fiber

I had never seen wool being spun on a spindle before, so she gave a little demonstration for me. They spin the thread onto corn shucks to easily slide off.Spinning Yarn

She also showed us the different weaving looms they used and what she had just recently made on one of them. Weaving Looms

Melody just finished weaving this.

Melody just finished weaving this.

There are 284 threads in this particular loom and takes her four days to thread. That’s dedication!Weaving Loom

Felted Feet

Fun Felted Feet!

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