Sunday, June 5, 2011

Links To The Past -- Elsie Bell

This series of posts honors weavers whose memorial awards will be presented during the 2011 Midwest Weavers Conference

Elsie Bell spinning demonstration, 1974
Elsie Bell joined the Weaver's Guild of St. Louis in 1967. Helen Wenzel recalls that Elsie was an active spinner and taught spinning when she was in the guild. "She had an interesting life, following her husband to remote places. She had spent many years in South America (I think Peru) before she came to St. Louis."

Guild records show that over the years, Elsie presented several programs about those travels. In 1967 it was Weaving In Peru. In 1968, Elsie attended the World Craft Conference in Lima, which she spoke about at Washington University in 1969. In 1973 she did a guild program on Highland Ecuador.

A new generation of spinners interested in recycling and green yarns might wish to travel back in time to 1978. That's when Elsie gave a mini-workshop on creative spinning, including plying and shredding and how to use old yarns.

We'll be thinking of the legacy she left when we present the Elsie Bell Award for Hand Spinning later this month at Northern Wefts. And I hope there are some creative spinning entries in the Re-use Re-new Re-cycle exhibit. I suspect Elsie would have entered in that category.

Thank you to Karen Kelley Schultz and members of the St. Louis guild who provided this information.

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