Last month I visited Gent in Belgium and of course has a nose around to see what crafty things I could find. A visit to the MIAT (Museum, Industrie, Arbied, Textiel) was essential, it having exhibitions about industry, work and textiles. One whole floor was dedicated to the cotton and wool industries which dominated the city as far back as the Middle Ages. Here are a few of the items on display:-
This Mule Jenny Spinning machine from around 1800 was used to spin cotton yarn with the help of child labour as shown in this picture.
This flax twine mill from 1789 is the oldest remaining in North West Europe. Machines like this provided the technical inspiration for the development of more modern spinning machines in the eighteenth century.
A display of the yarn dyed in the museum using natural substances.
I spent a very interesting afternoon wandering around the exhibition, which of course, had a booklet translating all the text on the displays into English.
My next visit was to a Pipoos shop
They are a sort of high street craft store. They stock everything from beads to yarn including items for papercraft, sewing etc. They seem very popular in Belgium and I wonder if this is the model that Hobbycraft here are looking at, when they announced a desire to have a presence on our high streets. Will be interesting to see how that will work out.
You will be amazed to hear that I did not buy anything in the Pipoos.
Feeling a little peckish I stopped at a Cuberdon stall with my 2 Euros. This buys a bag of 5 Cuberdons, locally known as Gent noses as they are a sort of purple cone shaped jelly about 4cm high and tasting of parma violets.
Ok, time to drag ourselves away from Gent and back home. I hope you have enjoyed reading this and that it will inspire you visit such places if you ever find yourself at a loose end in Belgium.
I shall leave you with something that made me smile this week:-
There are no mistakes in crafting – just opportunities to embellish!