‘Tis a green and pleasant land, this Britain. Think rustic idylls, bird song, rolling fields and so forth. Those fluffy things you can see? No, not the clouds. Those fluffy things with four legs in the fields. Sheep. Lots of them.
Terribly useful things, sheep. Tasty when roasted or stewed, good at keeping the grass short and that woolly stuff on their backs, called, ermmm… wool? Well, one could wax lyrical on the fabulousness of its qualities once shorn from the sheep’s back. It’s sustainable, hard-wearing, cool in summer, warm in winter, has marvelous wicking powers … small wonder it became the backbone of Medieval England’s economy.
Wool still holds quite a bit of economic weight today, what with a multi-billion pound fashion industry, never mind furnishings and craft-related pursuits to consider. This probably explains why various Wool Boards from around the world – including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA – have all bandied together to promote the stuff. Cue the Campaign for Wool.
And wow. They’ve certainly done it in some style with Wool House at Somerset House. And they’d have to with H.R.H. Prince Charles as patron. This pop up runs from March 13-24, 2013 and is open to the public as a stunning showcase for both British and international wool-based textiles. And there’s nary a dodgy aran jumper in sight.
Think instead of your classic Savile Row suits or maybe a more contemporary piece by Richard Nicoll.
If World of Interiors is more your thing then you’ve many a treat to enjoy. Top interior designers like Mary Fox Linton, Anna Kyrrö-Quinn and Josephine Ryan have styled rooms and together have created a sleek and woolly-inspired home.
Craft has its very special place, too. Weaver Jason Collingwood has an open studio for the duration whilst Claudy Jongstra’s vivacious tapestries are a striking demonstration of wool’s creative potential.
For those attendees keen to learn some new skills or enhance some old ones, there’s an exciting programme of classes like knitting, darning and crochet.
Yes. EXCITING. Black is so not the new black this season. Darning your own socks with neon wool? Crocheting a detachable collar to geek-chic a T-shirt? Now that’s bang on trend.
As for my personal highlight at Wool House, well, you can’t go far wrong with a 6 foot-tall crochet bear.
The Strand, London
March 13-24, 2013
Open Daily, Free Admission
Zoë F. Willis is a writer and enthusiastic London resident. You can read more about her adventures and creative exploits at Things Wot I Have Made.
Images: Courtesy of the Campaign for Wool