St Luke's Church at Bothwell, Tasmania. Photographed by Rudolf Ramseyer

St Luke's Church at Bothwell, Tasmania. Photographed by Rudolf Ramseyer

 
 

The SpinIN...

 

...was the brain child of Bothwell resident Mrs Barbara Fowler who, together with the church committee, needed to raise funds for an upgrade to the church roof. Mrs Fowler gathered the collective talents of fellow spinners in the district for a spinning day at her home as her fund raising event - about twenty people attended. That was in 1978.

 

From Strength to Strength

 

Such was the success of this event, it was held again in subsequent years and soon required relocation to the Bothwell Town Hall when attendances climbed to 200. Numbers continued to grow and in 1988, the 10th Anniversary of the SpinIN, Bothwell High school acquired a gymnasium providing an ideal new venue.

The following year, the World Sheep Congress was held in conjunction with the SpinIN and as a consequence of the level of interest, it was decided to make the SpinIN a biennial event over two to three days. Every alternate year would see a SpinOUT, a one-day event that is all about friendship, the enjoyment of spinning and weaving and informal creative skill sharing.

 

International Ties

 

In 1991 a representation of the North American Navajo requested their inclusion at the SpinIN and this marked the beginning of an international, cultural and skills exchange which has continued as a significant feature of each SpinIN since. Guests from around the globe have shared their communities'  experience of fibre in all its forms, enhancing understanding and enriching the lives of those present and those with whom they’ve shared their history, their culture and their skills. The SpinIN has featured international guests from Alaska, Greenland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Japan, United Kingdom to name a few.

 

Looking to the Future

 

2017 saw the introduction of a fashion design competition in an effort to further broaden the festival's appeal and to showcase hidden talent. A panel of guests with extensive fashion and textile backgrounds was given the task of selecting the most outstanding creations - not an easy thing to do, given the high standard of the entries! This facet is set to become a permanent feature

2019 will be the 40th year of the SpinIN which remains testament to Mrs Fowler's creative thinking and resourcefulness. Fibre and textile enthusiasts are and will remain indebted for the establishment of an inspirational festival where much is shared, learned and so much goodwill is exchanged.

 
 
 

The Friendship Ball

 

Like the rotation of the globe the Friendship Ball moves us all in the same direction and fibre creates a bond which encircles us. This is the essence of the SpinIN.

Since 1986, SpinIN attendees have been winding threads of one metre length onto the Friendship Ball and writing a dedication note to accompany this gesture.

The ball has acquired quite enormous proportions since its inception and is currently on display at the Bothwell Visitor Centre.

 

Mrs Barbara Fowler and the Friendship Ball

Mrs Barbara Fowler and the Friendship Ball

 

To learn more about the International Threads of Friendship Campaign and how you can add your thread to the Ball, click here.