Sheep to Shawl Program Explores Historic Cloth Making

There is always something interesting to see or do at the Atlanta History Center. In April, the fascinating Sheep to Shawl Program returns once again as an event for the whole family. It details the long process of cloth making in the rural South of long, long ago.
Americans in the 21st century with their overflowing closets of ready-made clothing cannot image how much time and work it took to make clothing in earlier times. Centered on the historic house and farm buildings of the Smith Farm, Sheep to Shawl helps explain it all to even the most unbelieving.

 

To begin with, the sheep and angora goats who reside year round at the farm are shorn of their heavy winter coats in four demonstrations. Those “residents” scheduled to be shorn include Ida Mae, the twelve year old matriarch sheep on the farm. The wool is then carded, spun and woven into perfectly wearable shawls. This very child friendly process allows young people to participate and “not just witness it.” They help to do something few people in Atlanta have done in more than a century by turning freshly sheared wool into fabric, according to one AHC staff member.

 

There will be plenty of other activities on the History Center campus as well during Sheep to Shawl. Visitors can hear stories from “Mama Koku,” learn how food was prepared in 19th century Georgia, and witness candle dipping, wool washing and dyeing, toy making and blacksmithing.

 

At the nearby Swan House, there will be a Kid Zone. Activities include a petting zoo, trackless train ride, carnival games, hot dogs from Nerd Dawgs, and games of chance with prizes. There is something to interest all the young family members and the adults too.
Sheep to Shawl will be held Saturday April 7th from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free to AHC members and the general public can purchase tickets in advance [on the website] or at the door. The Atlan-ta History Center is located at 130 West Paces Ferry and has free parking.

 

For more information, call 404-814-4000 or see www.atlantahistorycenter.org/Family.
–Dick Funderburke