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Heritage weaver to demonstrate craft on antique loom on Aug. 15

Craig Evans (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
August 08, 2018
WAKEFIELD — The public is invited to watch a master heritage weaver at work in the historic setting of the Heritage Centre at Wakefield Corner/Stage Stop Museum on Wednesday, Aug. 15, beginning at 10 a.m. Heritage Hand-Weaver Craig F. Evans of Brookfield, who donated the antique Gage Family counter balance loom currently on display at the Heritage Centre, will present a talk and live demonstration at the loom.

This event is free and open to the public. The Heritage Centre, located at 26 Province Lake Rd. at Wakefield Corner and just a stone's throw from the historic hay scales at the corner of Wakefield Road is open for the season on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon until Columbus Day weekend.

Evans began weaving on a 36-inch Harrisville loom in 1976 at Threadbare, Unlimited in New York City. After several more classes on weaving and design, and three years of selling shawls and scarves privately and at craft fairs, he decided to pursue his original interest in heritage weaving.

In 1979, he began an apprenticeship with Norman Kennedy at the Marshfield School of Weaving in Marshfield, Vt., and has spun, dyed and woven since that time using primarily traditional equipment, fibers and patterns. He has been an Artist in Residence for the Vermont Council on the Arts. In 1982, he received a Vermont statewide juried Award in Technical Excellence. He is currently listed with the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts as a Traditional Craftsman and received a Council on the Arts Apprenticeship Grant for fiscal year 2008 and fiscal year 2015. He has collected textile tools for years, and sells antique textiles, antique spinning wheels, barn frame looms, and accessories and has his own collection of historic northern New England textiles.

Evans lectures and demonstrates on the topic of traditional textiles and textile tools in pre-industrial northern New England with a focus on domestic production, and also continues his part-time private practice in psychotherapy and his small consulting business in archival matters.

The antique loom is a fine example of a typical, regional counter-balance loom, also known as a "Barn frame" loom, due to its construction technique of mortise and tenon joints. The mortise and tenon joint is known for its strength and was the most common means of construction in the period represented. According to Evans, it dates somewhere between the last quarter of the 18th century through the first quarter of the 19th century. It was removed from the barn of the John Gage house on Gage Hill Road in Wakefield a residence locally known as "Gage Hill Farm." John Gage was a son of Moses Gage, who built the adjoining homestead first and was one of the early Wakefield settlers. It is believed that the loom was used by the Gage family for domestic production of the typical linen, cotton and woolen textiles of the time. Evans purchased the loom from Elsie Johnson, former owner of Gage Hill Farm, in the mid-1990s. He donated the loom to the Wakefield Heritage Commission in the fall of 2016. Evans, an historical archivist as well as a master weaver, spent many hours this past year archiving the historical records of the Lovell Union Grange, which are now safely stored and available for review at the Heritage Centre.

For more information about the Wakefield Heritage Commission and its historic venues and restoration projects, including Union Station and the Heritage Park Railroad Museum, visit www.historicwakefieldnh.com or email info@historicwakefieldnh.com.

Tiffany Eddy
Martin Lord Osman
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