The Pitstop Youth initiative is well known for its casual drop-in afternoon and evening sessions, and last week it welcomed a BBC film crew.
The media and history project was a bit overwhelmed when Elizabeth Quigley from the BBC news features team asked to “drop in” and record the progress of the weaving project.
Elizabeth spent two hours filming and recording the activities of the young people, volunteers and staff as they went about warping looms and describing their experiences in learning to weave.
The Nine Trades of Dundee had given an initial grant of £1,000 for the history group to buy looms and visit Verdant Works in Dundee to whet their appetite for the ancient craft of weaving. This start-up grant, authorised by Nine Trades Deacon Convenor and local baker Bill McLaren, created such an interest that a successful application was made to the Lottery Heritage Roots fund to expand this initial interest.
Young weaver Adele Douglas said during her comments on camera: “I have learned so much about weaving in Forfar that I now look at everyone in the street and think, ‘were you a weaver like my granny?’”
The filming went very well with volunteer youth worker and local historian Robert McMonagle providing a running commentary on the warping process during real time filming. The only hitch came when Adele and Kier Murray had to do a retake of a tricky bit of the weaving process and took a fit of the giggles! The feature is due to be aired on the BBC news this month.
Project leader Dawn Mullady said: “I was delighted with how natural the young weavers were and able to talk about the project, the research and their interest in Forfar’s textile past while actually carrying out complex tasks. It reminded me of stories that I have heard of old time weavers running a set of four looms in noisy factories while carrying on a dialogue with their neighbours in sign language or exaggerated “silent speak”.
Pitstop weavers demonstrated their skills at the Tayroots Family History day in the Mechanics Institute in Brechin earlier in September. Such was the interest from the general public that they are considering offering weaving classes to get more people interest in this ancient craft.