Pat Johnson is one of many of our dedicated volunteers! She shares her love of fiber while demonstrating spinning during Community Days and special programs. Each Tuesday afternoon you’ll find Pat delightfully greeting our visitors to the Ephrata Cloister as one of our many front desk associates. Additionally she helped to design, harvest, and photograph last year's dye garden with her guild.
Tell us about your experience as a volunteer:
I would take a day off and participate in community days, I would volunteer for Founders Day, and it’s been off and on for a long time. It’s been since I retired I’ve been able to come more often and help at the front desk.
One of our guild members who also volunteers here, her son is a student historian, got the idea to have an 18th century dye garden! I was on the committee, and was part of the planning and took pictures of the garden for the guild. I’m looking forward to doing some dying from the plants we grew there this summer. We’ve been harvesting all throughout the summer!
|The Dye Garden in 2013 at the Ephrata Cloister|
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience?
I love demonstrating spinning! I was a member of the Associates and occasionally volunteering and then I found out about other needs such as your front desk position! I enjoy talking about people finding out where they’re from.
Tell us a little bit about your Spinning demonstration:
I love explaining the process and sharing the importance it played in the lives of the people in the 1700s. There are very often men that are fascinated about the spinning wheel itself, and the kids are fascinated by fiber. If you were going to have fabric to make your clothes, it takes about a year from the minute you plant the flax seed till it grows, is harvested, later processed, and woven to make linen. Now, if you’re spinning wool, you need to have a sheep, and while it might be quicker to shear the sheep and start spinning but remember you have to care for the sheep. These are some of the kinds of things I talk to our visitors about.
Pat Johnson on the Art of Spinning:
For me with spinning, it’s a journey not the destination. The fact I make yarn, and a pair of mittens is just icing on the cake, it is the spinning itself that I thoroughly enjoy. I love talking about it and teaching others to spin. I’ll teach anyone to spin! Given the opportunity I love to pass it on, a friend taught me so I’m teaching other people.
How long have you been a Spinner?
Not near long enough, about 12-13 years. I put it off too many years; I wanted to spin all my life, ever since I read Rumplestiltskin.
What are you looking forward to most this year at the Ephrata Cloister?
I’m looking forward to the winter history class. I was unable to attend last year but after my retirement I was able to sign up for it. The architecture program was one of my favorites! They did a lot of talking about the placement of the chimneys and the era of the house, there were lots of little things like that. The class reemphasized for me how many different periods of architecture are featured in our town of Ephrata.
If you'd like to become a Front Desk Associate like Pat Johnson, contact the Historic Ephrata Cloister at 717-733-6600 and we'll be happy to share more information about our position.