Stroud Blog Update

This week I have been busy trying to consolidate a few ideas so that I can make some decisions regarding materials and methods.  It seemed my experiments were leading me to dead ends and I realised I needed to step back and take a fresh approach.

After a conversation with Debbie about where we were with our work things seemed to become a little clearer in my mind. I think I had allowed myself to become too bogged down by one or two aspects and needed to step back in order to take a more open approach. One thing that needed reinforcing was to stay true to my own motivational rational.

So back to basics and things begin to move forward!

This week I have been to visit Naomi Stannard at ‘Spring Grove Alpacas and Rare Breeds’ from who supplied and sold me three complete unwashed fleeces. I have bought some carding paddles, some needles for felting and begun to wash, dry and card the fleeces ready to felt. Although I have wet felted before I have never dealt with an unwashed fleece so this is a new experience and I’m loving it! I love the feel and smell of the wool and the way the fibres are combed into order during the carding process.

Naomi is a talented, local fibre artist who breeds her own rare breed sheep and alpacas. We got to know each other last year when she spun the wool for my installation “Down to Earth”. She is a highly skilled maker and, luckily she is happy to share her expertise and knowledge with me. I chose the  Llyen and Shetland for their colour and the dartmoor for its texture and locality of the breed.

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Llyen

Shetland-ewe-and-lambs

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Dartmoor

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Whole unwashed Llyen fleece

I started with the Llyen fleece as it is the largest and in case I mess the washing process up there will be more to play with.

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Washing to remove dirt and lanolin

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Drying the fleece naturally

After  huge amounts of pondering I came across  a very insignificant little photograph in a book called ‘Making’ which is about Thomas Heatherwick’s work. The photograph is of a small boxed installation which shows suspended spools of thread. Without sharing too much here, it was a eureka moment! I have since made some decisions about a theme or motif  which links strongly to many of the connections made through my research. This is progress!

Having sent a wish list to WSP for materials earlier this week I am hoping for a positive response very soon.

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