by John Aldrich
The Elders come to the show primarily to sell their rugs and crafts. But they also spend time sharing their unique skills and creative vision with the audience. Prior to the show opening to the public there are demonstrations for school children, and during the show, there are several opportunities for people to see the weavers at work and to hear the stories of the rugs.
Most of the weavers still have their own sheep, and many still prepare their own wool for weaving. This is a time-intensive and laborious process which is little practiced by the younger generations of weavers who find that commercial yarn is much more convenient.
While other weavers work at their looms, a few of the oldest Elders show portions of the process that leads to finished wool that can be used in weaving rugs. Elsie Shay demonstrates carding where fine-toothed combs separate the wool into strands.