The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #37703   Message #530388
Posted By: Marymac90
17-Aug-01 - 04:37 PM
Thread Name: Jean Ritchie Book in the Auction
Subject: Waulking
Re: the above waulking song--I loved the description of waulking given (by Rita Ferrara, I think) at the Mouth Music workshop at last fall's Getaway. Waulking was part of the process of making wool waterproof, so it would keep sailors and fishermen dry. The woolen fabric had to be soaked in urine (yup!), and then the long lengths of wet fabric had to be laid on a long table, with lots of women and girls sitting alongside it. Each one would pick up the part of the cloth in front of her, and kind of knead it, to the rhythm of the Waulking Song, to work the urine into it thoroughly. When the song reached the end of a verse, each woman would pick up the material in front of her, and pass it to the woman next to her, and the process would begin again. In this way, each part of the cloth was "waulked" by many women's hands.