The World is Your Workshop

In Britain and Ireland, the Romany Gypsys and the Traveller community are often associated with low-skilled work such as scrap dealers, horse traders, musical entertainers, or more nefarious activities outside the societal norms.  However, there were plenty of skilled craftsmen and craftswomen providing goods and services to people around the country.

Below is an image of a couple, working together making footstools outside their vardo while another couple looks on from the comfort of their wagon.

Gypsy carpenters making small and large stools for market. From an early 20th century postcard.  Source: Romany and Traveller Family History Society.

Other Gypsy families were blacksmiths, basket weavers, or similar occupations that could be taken on the road, required little stock or overhead, and could be performed independently or with a minimum of family help.

Gypsy Basket Weavers on Skyros. Source:

There is more to wandering people than the romantic or demonized images we carry.  People are just people after all.

Gypsy Blacksmith. Source.
Gypsies France 1930s-1960s
Encampment on a pitch somewhere in France, early mid-20th century.

2 thoughts on “The World is Your Workshop

  1. Nice! In a couple of years (hoping I can hold on for 3 more to qualify for a pension…last summer at work a metal stair collapsed under me..spinal fusion L5/sacral… degeneration/bulging disks/pinched nerves before accepting disability) I am thinking of buying myself a Ram promaster and making myself a gypsy camper out of it, and play snowbird in the south west and bring my leatherworking tools and my Tippman Boss hand stitcher and try to make side money while out there…living the simple life

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