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Paisley Thread Mill Museum displays Musical Threads

This weekend various venues around Renfrewshire held events from dance theatre to poetry, music and song – known collectively as ‘Weaving Musical Threads‘ , part of Music Nation, a countdown event to the London 2012 Festival, a spectacular weekend of music all around the UK on 3 and 4 March 2012.

Through membership of Making Music by various amateur groups in Renfrewshire, a bid was entered to be part of Music Nation. After months of waiting patiently, Renfrewshire’s bid was approved by the Director of the London Festival 2012 and the Culture Team of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

A committee of local volunteers came together to produce Weaving Musical Threads, showcasing a variety of talent and activity that exists across Renfrewshire with a collective of exhibitions and musical performances. Initially planned as a music event, it evolved into a festival that would include all the Arts – music, dance, literature, visual arts and theatre – making Renfrewshire’s contribution to Music Nation a unique project.

Renfrewshire’s story was played out through music and creativity – developing creative links across all the Arts, including new media and digital technology and a historical perspective. Historically, Renfrewshire is known for its thread weaving and for its religious connections – for St. Mirin and through Paisley Abbey to Cluny, France . Music is the thread that weaves the story.

One of the Host Venues was Paisley Thread Mill Museum, who entertained 80-100 visitors throughout the day with audiovisual presentations and poetry about the history of the mill workers, also a visual tour of exhibits and archives, including a pristine condition crocheted wedding dress by Anchor Mills designer, Isobel McGeachan, made in 1967, one of the first TubeWinder machines, introduced to the mill in 1924 and a Lowry-esque local artist’s impression of workers on their way to the mill.

Opening their doors out of season, they also played host to singers Celine Donoghue and Neil Sturgeon – who performed a selection of Scottish folk songs on the fiddle, guitar and mandolin including “Shift and Spin”, penned by local man Ewan McVicar, a local social worker who transformed interviews with mill workers into a song. It’s about the boredom of working in a large factory, where the noise is so loud you are alone with your machines and your thoughts.

Shift and spin, warp and twine

Making thread coarse and fine

Dreamin’ o’ yer valentine

Workin’ in the mill ….

Also inserted into blog is a recording of the song: