Saturday, 23 March 2013

Wool House


I was a lucky knitter this weekend and got to visit Wool House before it closes tomorrow with a fellow knit-mum Aarti. We started out by meeting the multicoloured sheep outside. This one looked a little glum in the snow; Aarti sympathised while I tried to cheer him up.

Once inside I was excited to meet Shauna Richardson's Crochetdermy brown bear, which I've just finished an article about for Knitting Magazine. The crochet is applied directly onto the mould of the bear, which highlights the anatomy as it swirls around the structure of the animal. I was a sight to behold and I was really glad to have seen one of her creations up close.

The exhibition is split into lots of different rooms each with it's own commissioned theme with a specific artist. The idea is to show how wool can be applied not just to the obvious, but to everything from duvets to wallpaper, insulation to sculpture. It was a real immersion in wool and made me feel very close to the sheep indeed.

Donna Wilson's nursery room was super cute with her knitted creatures snuggled into every crevice including a little bandit fox which was trapped 'in jail' beneath the cot. From the twitter pictures that have been popping up since the exhibition opened I think this has been the most popular room of the show. However my personal favourite was the 'Natural Room' by Josephine Ryan. The room included some stunning driftwood like furniture, two armchairs which looked like aran knit jumpers, a taxidermy lamb, lots of yarn, knitting needles and a series of stunning sheep paintings on the wall. While in the room we met a friendly French woman who told us that the reason there was a pile of onions on the table was because they remove bacteria from your house. You learn something new/ questionable every day.

Facts we did learn about the magical properties of wool include:

  • It has hypoallergenic properties. 
  • Having wool in your duvet, mattress or bed underlay is scientifically proven to give you a deeper and cosier night's sleep. 
  • One sheep gives enough wool fabric to cover a large sofa and that sheep will produce that amount every year. Now that's sustainability.
  • Wool is flame resistant, it does not ignite easily and often self extinguishes.
  • There are more breeds of sheep in the UK than anywhere else in the world. We have over 60 different types of sheep. Where are we putting them all?

Appart from the facts we also brushed up on our skills in the craft room. Rowan were running a drop in workshop teaching people to knit and crochet and there were spinners on hand to show you how to make your own yarn using drop spindles and spinning wheels. I actually did a spinning workshop many years ago when the Handweavers Studio was still in Walthamstow. But I put my spindle away not long after that and haven't managed to pick it up since. The lovely spinners we met have certainly rekindled my interest in the craft and it was good to get to grips with the basics again.

The shawl above hung over the chair is made entirely from hand spun yarn made on a spindle and it would be lovely to think that you not only knitted something by hand but also spun the yarn for it. Perhaps one day. 

It was a great day out and I'm only sad that it's such a short exhibition as I know a lot more people who would have love to have visited but didn't get the chance. I certainly would have gone back again.

I'll leave you with a simple quote from the exhibition which really sums up what it was all about: 
Wool is a fibre for the life we lead, the people we love, the planet we inhabit.

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