Mrs. Spencer Tuck, the energetic secretary of the district board, personally visited twelve of her scattered and hard to get to Institutes and persuaded the members to bring exhibits and to demonstrate their crafts. She found much interest in handicrafts and a great deal of latent talent, including wool work, basket making and leatherwork, though these were not exhibited at the Exhibition.
Three spinning wheels whirred busily, one operated by Mrs. Ryndman dressed in a Norwegian costume made of hand-spun, vegetable-dyed wool. Another craftswoman used the suspended spindle, while several worked with hand carders and the carding machine. Two members of the Arras Institute set up their loom and completed a rag carpet during the afternoon. This Institute also showed a table of wool in all stages of preparation, from the raw fleece to the finished article. Much of it was in lovely colours obtained from dyes made from wild Peace River plants. An added interest was given to this exhibit by a collection of pressed wildflowers such as were used to obtain the dyes.
Another exhibit which attracted much attention was an embroidered linen map called “The Homestead Saga, North of 50.” This was the work of Mrs. Spencer Tuck, which had won first prize at the Canadian Handicraft Guild in Montreal and by special request was afterwards shown at several exhibits in the Maritime provinces.
Mrs. A. Aspol of Pouce Coupe displayed a beautiful hand-woven, vegetable-dyed runner, table cover, rug, blanket, scarf, and cushion. Cecil Lake, one of our most northerly Institutes sent a hand-woven red and black blanket and a table runner made on the Institute loom. Tone Landers of Two Rivers contributed a woolen scarf in intricate patterns.
Parkland W. I. members exhibited some of their beautiful Czechoslovakian embroidery with the clear bright colours and graceful design so characteristic of this work. Most of these articles were part of national costumes. Unfortunately, owing to bad roads, Mrs. Sversek was unable to get in and demonstrate in National Costume as she had intended.
Arras and Sunnybrook provided hooked wool rugs made from local wool dyed with native dyes, while Tupper Creek and Baldonnel sent rag rugs of good design. The Progress Institute was entirely original and showed a straw hat plaited from oat straw by Mrs. Max Rogers.
In addition to these, the walls were lined with quilts, rugs, tablecloths and every type of needlework.
Pouce Coupe members provided afternoon tea and refreshments. “By their good works ye shall know them,” might well be said of every Women’s Institute in Canada.
Note: The above article was discovered by Mrs. Verna Braden, Provincial Director, in a Federated Women’s Institute Newsletter printed some twenty-five years ago. She read it to the Pouce Coupe W. I. when she visited there on May 13, 1964. All members were very interested and enjoyed it very much as Mrs. Tuck has continued through all the years to be the guiding hand in all our handicraft projects, and these have been many and varied. Mrs. Tuck’s work still takes top prizes at National and Provincial Exhibitions.