Horne Creek festival examines fabrics of past

By Wendy Wood

July 17, 2013

PINNACLE — Horne Creek Living Historical Farm hosted the annual Fiber and Fabric Arts Festival Saturday, using one of its periodic programs to allow visitors to step back into history and gain a glimpse of late 19th and early 20th century rural farm life.

But on this occasion, those attending were shown a lesser seen and perhaps less appreciated side of farm life.

“I think that when a lot of people think of farms from that era,” said Horne Creek Site Director Lisa Turney, “to them it means men in the fields working with their crops. Most don’t think about the women who were in the home, working, using their own skills. Everybody had to work together.”

An assortment of those skills were on display throughout the day with a variety of volunteers demonstrating at both the Horne Creek Farm Visitor Center and the Hauser Farmhouse.

Among the skills being demonstrated at the visitor center were bobbin lace making and tatting, both by Margaret Sue Miller of the Golden Bobbins. Basket weavers Deborah Wagoner and Carolyn Tilley were also on hand, creating the practical crafts as onlookers watched. Nearby, a display from Rita Dee Farms in Pfafftown extolled the virtues of alpaca farming and the soft but strong fibers provided by the animals.

At the Hauser Farmhouse, Melisse Hopping of the Vinca Hill Farm Company spent a busy day displaying the art of spinning while using a variety of fibers including alpaca and a merino/silk blend. A balcony over the porch provided a cooling breeze for members of the Surry Quilters Guild as they demonstrated the art of stitching a handmade quilt.

Also taking up residence in the house was Kenneth Webb, a veteran weaver from New London. A regular Horne Creek demonstrator, Webb spent the day using his loom to demonstrate “mug rug” fabric weaving.

Webb had developed an interest in textiles as a boy growing up on his family’s Stanly County farm. He fondly remembers watching his mother and grandmother as they quilted. At the age of 10, he created his own quilt and still enjoys the hobby today. He also learned knitting and crocheting as he developed a rich appreciation for his family’s and the area’s history and heritage.

“I first came here (Horne Creek)six or seven years ago as a visitor,” he recalled. “I was very impressed. This represents all our heritage. I liked the friendly atmosphere and decided I wanted to be a part of this. Visiting here is like a homecoming.”

In all, more than 40 quilts were on display representing a span of some 150 years. Most were part of a display entitled, “Common Threads: 150 Years of NC Quilts.” Many carried their own unique story, often involving their creator as well as the fabric or a creative design.

The Hauser family had provided an assortment of period clothing along with some 19th-century hand-loomed coverlets. Other clothing and furniture from the era was also displayed.

A small but steady stream of visitors took in the sights and sounds throughout the day, often under overcast skies. Attendees included local residents, visitors from throughout northwestern North Carolina and others from as far away as Wilson and Raleigh.

“The rain did affect our turnout,” Turney noted. “But we probably had over 150 people come in during the day.”