Last week we had a “research day”, being a day off for a frolic disguised as research into the various tourist attractions that Ceredigion has to offer. As research days go it was quite a successful one, with 2 out of the 4 attractions scoring highly on my excitement scale. Sculpture Heaven and the Rhydlewis trout farm & smokery will not be making into the must have tourism bible that is the Banceithin Guest Information Book, but Moriath Glass and the unpromising sounding but surprisingly enjoyable National Wool Museum both received glowing reports.
I knew from the sparkly coloured glass objects featured on the web site for Moriath Glass that the trip to this artist’s studio and gallery, tucked away up a lane behind some trees round the back of a cottage, was going to be a good find but a potential disaster for the bank account. As it happens, I managed to restrain the urge to buy a stash of pretty things for me and only came away with a dream sword to hang in the window of Cwt Mochyn. Although I have to confess that it hasn’t yet made its way into said window. I’m still contemplating where it would look best…
On to the National Wool Museum.
Free admission always means that you start your visit with an open mind and a good mood. Even so, the story of fleece to fabric was much more fun than I’d anticipated. Maybe it helped that we’d not been “off site” for a few days. Or maybe the museum really is that exciting. Prince Charles had been there just two days earlier, so that could have accounted for the air of spick and span and general shiny-ness of the place. But I like to think it’s always like that. It was most educational too. Did you know that the first machines used actual teasels wedged in a frame to tease the fleece into softness? The job of “teasel man” was to roam the country going from mill to mill replacing teasels. Did you know that the origin of the phrase “to be on tenterhooks” comes from the suspending, drying and stretching of new wool fabrics on the hooks of tenter frames?
Best of all was the textile gallery. Piles and piles of lovely Welsh wool blankets. Kid in a candy store. Except for Dave, who’s allergic to wool and so thinks of a night under a wool blanket as his own personal hell. Now you all know what to get him for Christmas.