Saturday, March 23

Wool House

Somerset House in London has just been host to a 12-day celebration of all things woolly, organised by the Campaign for Wool and curated by designer Arabella McNie. Although I didn't manage to get to any of the fantastic-looking workshops that were scheduled, I did find time to drop in on Friday and check out the exhibition. 

There was an inspirational range of stuff - from humorous and impressive art works like this life-size crocheted bear by Shauna Richardson to whole room sets that had been specially commissioned from leading interior designers to showcase wool in its many forms. Spinners, weavers, knitters and other crafters showed off their skills throughout the week, and there were exhibitions demonstrating how wool is used in clothing, textiles and other products, as well as some more radical applications like this chair made of fibre and resin by Devon start-up company Solidwool.

I watched a woman working on a fairly small tapestry using beautiful natural yarns to create a picture of bare tree trunks in a winter scene. This is a craft I've never really been aware of - the work looked slow and painstaking and very complicated with all the different bobbins and the need to think ahead and work out how to build the picture up with the different colours.

There were some great displays of how wool is used in clothing and fashion, including these great Vivienne Westwood platform shoes and the tweed-covered headphones below. 

As well as these quirky items, there was a whole room devoted to tailoring which was totally fascinating. It included two scrapbooks full of handwritten pages explaining the different types of stitches and techiques used for making a bespoke suit.

The seven interiors that had been built in rooms in part of the exhibition space were quite breathtaking and all very different. I'm pretty sure everyone who saw them wanted to move in at least one of them, and it was hard to resist the urge to throw yourself on all the beds and sofas, caressing every different texture and cooing over the colourful fabrics.

My favourites were Donna Wilson's nursery, Anne Kyyro Quinn's funky fun room (below)..

..and the rather classy bedroom which was designed by Kit Kemp. Green may not be a traditional choice of colour for a bedroom but would totally suit me!

1 comment:

colleen said...

I managed to pop in late last Friday and was really glad I did, just in time to see Tom surrounded by students with their darning. The Solidwool chairs, the colours and texture, loved them. I really enjoyed the tailoring room too. And yes, I did have a favourite room setting...

Another amazing thing: all that beauty on display and nobody looking over your shoulder to see whether you were damaging it. Maybe wool lovers are kinder, honest people?