Bridgton had its winter carnival this weekend, postponed from the middle of February because there wasn’t enough snow then for the sled dog races. There wasn’t any snow today, either, but the event went on as best it could.
We parked on route 302 and walked into Reny’s, where Arlene asked someone where things were going on. She directed us down Depot Street to the community center for the crafts sale. It was pretty small. We’re used to the superb quality of RISD alumni sales and the Paradise City or ACC crafts sales, and didn’t expect to find that kind of thing here. We did find —
— Black Swan Handwovens & Handspuns (yes, she’s African-American) selling soap, lip balm, and placemats woven from and socks knit from her handspun yarn. She was spinning peppermint-stick colored yarn from red and white merino roving. Matt said, “And did you notice Dean’s hat?” The spinner looked and said, “Oh! Who made that for you?” I said in my best pretending to be offended tone, “Now, what kind of sexist remark is that?” so we went on and had a good chat about spinning. She thinks my next project should be knit from something I spin myself. Drop spindle will be OK.
— a woman selling items, mostly pictures of flowers, made from fish scales and porcupine quills. The stuff didn’t appeal to me at all, but the craftswoman said, “My tribe is the only one that does that fish scale work”. She was from northern Alberta. I asked if she was from the Dene people, but that was the wrong thing to have asked. She’s woodland Cree, and there seems to be some bad blood between them and the Dene. But she told me more about the fish scale work, where she had lived and learned it. Even if there are only three people in the tribe still doing it, I didn’t want a piece.
— A mini-marshmallow blowgun. A guy was demonstrating his marshmallow shooters, made from elbows and short pieces of PVC pipe. It had handles coming off T connections that you could swivel to any angle you wanted. He was shooting at a soda can suspended in a corrugated cardboard carton. Marshmallows had ricocheted around the room. The dented, almost crushed, can was evidence of the force behind the marshmallow. If I were a good person I’d support the guy who invented that gizmo by shelling out $8 for his product. I’m more likely to buy a handful of PVC pieces next time I’m in Home Depot. Arlene and Anne say it’ll be fine if I don’t make one of ’em at all.