Last Friday, White Raven Films came in to the Museum to get some footage of me at work and film one of the songs I’ve written. It turns out that Bazz, the producer, once worked in the industry himself so I ended up writing a poem for him! See below. This is a bumper blog as it contains 3 pieces. The first paraphrases a conversation with Sandra, who worked in a Design Studio and is now a Museum volunteer:
for Sandra Ash (pictured below right)
When I left school in 1961 I wrote to several carpet factories in search of a job in a Design Studio – all but one replied to say they didn’t employ girls. Woodward Grosvenor gave me an interview (on a Saturday!) and I got the job. The first thing I had to do when I was training to be a copyist was paint straight lines freehand on graph paper.
Everything was very formal. You would never address any of the senior staff by their first names. When I’d finished painting a design, the Head Designer Mr Humphries would take me down to the showroom to show the design to the directors. A design was known as a body, and Mr Humphries would say, “Put your body on the floor.” There was one director who would stand astride the design and look between his legs for straight lines. When a pattern was repeated you had to avoid what they called “tram lines”. I was always very nervous but the directors were hilarious!
The photo above shows a carpet design on graph paper. This kind of design is intended to have straight lines but accidental ones were not allowed.
The Carpet Grizzly Bear
for Bazz Hancher
Have you seen the carpet grizzly bear:
a greasy neanderthal covered in hair,
a slimy yeti
in woolly confetti
crawling out from his oily lair?
A hairy monster wielding a gun,
attacking the loom when the shift is done,
covered in flights,
a terrible sight,
unrecognisable to his mum.
© Heather Wastie
Bazz described himself as a “Carpet Grizzly Bear”, after he’d done the job of cleaning the loom with an air gun. It was well paid overtime at £40 for an hour’s work. When I talked to Bernie today he told me he used to try to finish the job in under an hour so he could get to the pub before they finished serving!
Finally here’s a poem I wrote very quickly after speaking to Bernie this morning and also to Trevor. He was a Farm Manager and has done a lot of voluntary work at the Museum including painting the fire truck in the photo below. It follows on nicely from the Grizzly Bear poem. Trevor wrote the last 3 words.
for Trevor Roberts
It was shoddy, it was waste,
woollen flights all over the place –
scrunch them up to clean the tray
or bag them up to be taken away
for ploughing into fields of beet
to hold the moisture at its feet.
© Heather Wastie