In conjunction with this summer’s exhibit on fabricating fashion, local handweaver Peggy Church will be demonstrating the spinning of cotton, one of the natural fibers featured in the exhibit. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see history in action.
Peggy will be demonstrating spinning using a charkha, such as was used by Mahatma Gandhi. Raw cotton is first carded to open the mass of fibers, which are then rolled onto a dowel to form a puni. The charkha utilizes a double-wheel drive that accelerates the spinning process. For each turn of the charkha wheel, the tip of the spindle rotates 125 times providing twist to hold the short cotton fibers together into a thread.
Mahatma Gandhi popularized the charkha through his teachings. He believed the charkha could help the people of India achieve self-sufficiency in cloth-making. The charkha became a symbol of the Indian independence movement.
The Exhibit Features:
- Processing the four natural fibers — wool, linen, cotton and silk-from hand manufacture to machine
- Weaving and dyeing textiles
- The silk industry in Mansfield – from home industry to factory
- The knitting industry and the stockinette mill in Merrow
- Recreations of a 19th century Draper’s Shop and a Dressmaker’s Shop
- Twelve dresses and accessories on mannequins, 1820s-1860s
- Hands-on textile activities and live silkworms
The Mansfield Historical Society Museum is located at 954 Storrs Road (Route 195).
The museum is open Saturday and Sunday afternoons, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m., June through September. Admission: $5.00/adult; Free for MHS members and children under 12.