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Weavers, spinners, to ‘roc’ the library today

By Staff | Jan 7, 2012



In honor of a tradition that dates back ages, the ninth annual Roc Day Celebration will take place today at the Cape Coral-Lee County Library.

Hosted by the Weavers of Char-Lee, the event will recognize a day that is known to weavers and spinners worldwide. On Jan. 7 – Roc Day or St. Distaff Day – weavers and spinners remove their looms and wheels from storage.

It marks the day after the holidays when they begin their craft again.

“They made a big holiday out of it – a celebration,” Susan Hedge, a member of the local weavers guild and the organizer behind today’s event, said.

The name comes from the distaff used in spinning linen, also called a roc, which was the medieval symbol for women’s work, according to organizers.

From 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m. at the library, visitors will have an opportunity to watch exactly what weaving and spinning is all about. About a dozen guild members will be on hand with their looms and spinning wheels, even with a cotton gin.

Hedge noted that is double the number of members than in prior years.

“We have a lot of new members, so they’re very excited about it,” she said.

A free event, there also will be some hands-on activities for visitors.

“We have some things people can do,” Hedge said. “They can try weaving.”

She said the event is different, something everyone must see once.

“It’s a unique thing to come to,” Hedge said, adding that visitors are delighted by the work. “Because they’ve never seen it before.”

The event traditionally is held in the library’s conference room, but the wheels and looms will be set up in the main area this year, with an exhibit.

The exhibit, titled “Art and Fashions from the Hands that Weave,” will consist of pieces of clothing, including vests, coats and shawls, created by weavers, along with more known items, like tapestries and wall hangings.

Comprised of more than 100 pieces, the exhibit runs until Jan. 31.

Rose Young, organizer behind the exhibit and another member of the local guild, explained that the idea is to introduce the public to what weaving is.

“Share what we do with other people and share our passion,” she said.

The fashion aspect of the exhibit showcases the different kinds of fibers used in weaving and spinning, such as silk, cotton, wool and linen, along with the variety of weaving techniques that can be used to create the pieces.

“We call it wearable art,” Young said of the clothing on display. “We have many member who focus on that.”

For the tapestry and wall hanging portion of the exhibit, the pieces involve weaving and may branch out or combine other elements, such as quilting.

“We try and integrate other fiber techniques with our handwoven fibers,” she said.

A reception for the exhibit will run today from 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Refreshments will be served, and music will be provided by Dallas Elam, who performs locally.

The Cape Coral-Lee County Library is at 921 S.W. 39th Terrace.