By Dorthea Calverley
A modest little lady is Mrs. Dorothy Powell of Pouce Coupe, whose skill in weaving was brought from England to a Peace Country homestead.
Mrs. Powell has been very generous in her gifts to many community enterprises which raise funds by sales of work.
Samples of her beautifully executed work are a feature at fairs and exhibitions. She uses her talents mostly for others, a true “amateur” craftswoman. Dorothy gave us this understated account of her interest in her craft.
“At the 3 County Agricultural Show which was held in Gloucester, 1950, I became very interested in the display of spinning, weaving and vegetable dyeing. When I made inquiries regarding the weaving, I was given a handful of literature and in invitation to join the Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers of Gloucester, which met every month. Needless to say I did and found it all very exciting and members helpful. Some of the older ladies came out to my home at Lyndors Farm, Longhope, to help me and explain the threading of the loom, etc.
We also went on excursions visiting weavers in their homes and took in a school for dyeing and mordanting of wool. I managed to have a try at spinning with a spinning wheel and a spindle. When the lady who showed me the spinning heard I was coming to Canada she gave me the spindle which I still use.
Since coming to Canada I have bought another loom. A 22-inch, 4-way with a reed, 15 dents to the inch which I thread double to make 30 threads to the inch as I much rather work with 2-16 wool or orlon and cotton than the thicker and heavier yarns. I find the work both relaxing and interesting as colours and patterns play a major part in all weaving. Most of what I know came from books and asking questions which is second-best to going to a school and learning the technique of each step from the simple to the more advanced.
Each article one makes, you learn a little bit more, the same with the dyeing of wool from flowers, plants, etc., you never get the same colour twice as so much depends on the time of year, the season and climate.
The rag rugs I started on led to wool rugs, and wishful thinking to reality, and to bigger and better things one wishes to make. As you can see there is no end to what one can do if one wants to bad enough.”