During the next few weeks I’m going to be sharing the making of my new collection “Seasons of the Sea” with you all. They have been made over the course of around 20 months in the lead up to Collect Art Fair so as you can imagine, there’s an awful lot to get through!
I wanted to start with possibly the most important factor in my designs: the raw materials. The majority of the yarn I’ve been weaving with came from a couple of sheep (called Roy and Cobweb) from this beautiful flock of Rylands who live just a few minutes from my weaving studio.
This collection is focused on sustainability, traceability and connection to place so I wanted to source my materials as locally as I possible.
Meet the sheep! Ryelands are one of the oldest English sheep breeds with a fine, soft and fluffy fleece.
Their fleeces come in a variety of natural shades. I’ve used a mix of browns, greys and almost blacks blended to create a variety of neutral shades in my pieces for Collect Open. Along with ecru fleece, which I’ve dyed using plants and indigo (more on that soon!), this has given me a wide colour pallet to weave with.
Sourcing raw materials close to the studio came about after supply chains broke down during the Covid lockdowns, it really set this whole project in motion. I wasn’t able to get my usual yarn to weave with so decided that the next best thing to do was to make it from scratch myself!
It has given me the chance to connect to the raw materials in a way that I wouldn’t normally have been able to. I’ve visited the sheep on a number of occasions, including during the filming of We Are Makers upcoming documentary series. Seeing where they graze and wander the fields with possibly the best view across Royal Deeside any flock could ask for has created a connection to the land a feeling of identity within my pieces.
The link to my KoFi fundraising page is https://www.ko-fi.com/arratextiles if you’d like to help me get to Collect Open 2022!