Workshops can be booked through our Fareharbor system, available on our homepage
From raw fleece to woven, dyed and nalbinded items, discover the vibrant and skilled world of prehistoric textiles.
Making cloth and fabrics in the ancient past was a work of such skill, technology, time, care and many different processes that it is one of the most fascinating crafts of Scottish prehistory. We are lucky enough to look after a surviving fragment of prehistoric twill fabric in our museum's collection which came from the archaeological excavation of the ‘Oakbank Crannog’ house site, dated to 500BC in Loch Tay.
We offer a range of workshops in the skills and processes that would have produced fabrics and garments in prehistory, built up from the skills our Interpreters have honed, researched and developed over many years. A humble piece of thread is arguably amongst the most innovative developments in the human story.
Come and learn to make your own drop spindle, a type of traditional spinning implement, and create a ball of handspun yarn. Learn about the different types of wool dyeing processes, which create beautiful, vibrant colours. Learn a method or two to create a piece of textile, such as the 10,000-year-old precursor to knitting and crocheting: nalbinding, a craft done with one big needle. Then you can help us weave our community piece of reconstructed Oakbank Crannog twill on an experimental archaeological two-beam loom.
You’ll be welcome and looked after by our team, complete with a hearty, traditional lunch cooked in our Iron Age kitchen, and plenty of refreshments. We hope to share with you and a community of likeminded enthusiasts a passion for ancient textiles in our unique lochside setting surrounded by hills, as we sit and tell stories around the crackling fire.
Aimed at all levels, from beginners to seasoned spinners and weavers.
Arrive at 9.30am for this two-day immersive course in prehistoric textile techniques for a 10am start. The course will end late afternoon on the second day.
You will cover textile techniques such as wool preparation, drop spinning, nalbinding, loom weaving and natural dyeing.
On arrival, you’ll be welcomed with a hot drink and an opportunity to explore the site, as well as meet your fellow participants and course leaders.
Visit our the museum to see the Crannog textile and ancient drop spindles, and unique and extraordinary textile-related artefacts.
An introduction to the world of colour in prehistory, learning about and helping to dye using natural pigments, and learn hot, cold and fermentation dyes as well as the significance that these colours might have had.
Then, in the workshop area, start to make your own drop spindle using traditional methods and tools.
Learn how to wash wool using a charcoal wash, then card your wool and learn how to drop spin a ball of yarn.
Take a break for lunch, cooked in our Iron Age kitchen, and take the opportunity to visit our reconstructed Crannog roundhouse.
Spend the afternoon learning and refining two spinning techniques; a drop spinning and stick spinning. Learn how to ply wool, in preparation for day 2.
During the course, you will be offered crannog cake and tea/refreshments and an opportunity to visit the Crannog during the day.
Enjoy a tranquil evening of gentle entertainment inside the Crannog house with storytelling and music sessions around the fire. You’ll enjoy a hearty dinner with everyone as well.
Settle to sleep in the Crannog, and truly experience what life might have been like in the past.
Awake to a breakfast served by the loch and enjoy the peace of the setting, tucked in beside the hills and loch.
Break for lunch, again from our Iron Age kitchen, and a chance to reflect and relax.
Use traditional tools and with this skill, create a nalbinded coaster or placemat.
Learn how to do nalbinding, the 10,000-year-old precursor to knitting and crocheting; done with one big needle. This is an intricate technique made with loops on the thumb and creates a wonderful stretchy textile which has historically been used to make socks, mittens and other small items of clothing.
You will leave with your own drop spindle, a ball of your hand-spun wool and some fleece to practice on, a nalbinded item and some dyed wool as well as an information booklet.
Importantly you will have found a community of likeminded people and shared an experience of immersive prehistoric practices.