Felt wool tapestries by Claudy Jongstra
This week I went to visit the Wool House at Somerset House, mostly famous amongst fashionistas for hosting the London Fashion Week twice a year. I was really excited by this event not only because it’s the world’s largest showcase of wool but also because it has the merit of recreating a full scale interior setting, thus providing an appropriate environment for the natural fibre. As I arrived I certainly felt the love for wool and was suitably surrounded by a flock of cute sheep grazing on a temporary grass ley and blissfully oblivious – just like Findus apparently – of the horse meat scandal currently sweeping the UK.
I’ve always had that perception of wool being a very comfortable and timeless fabric, somewhat traditional, middle-class and at the most expensive end of the scale – you don’t usually associate wool with Topshop garments – and possibly struggling to find its place amongst emerging new fabric technologies in the 21st century.
So did the exhibition change my perception of wool after visiting the Wool House? It certainly did as it allows you to look at things from a different perspective and for me, the visual elements of the exhibition spoke louder than words. What struck me the most was the versatility of that durable fibre presenting multiple facets that showcase its colour, texture, creative edge as well as other applications I’ve never heard of before. One practical example I can think of is a chair made of wool and resin (who said wool had not its rightful place in this century? Oops I did!).
Ultimately this event, curated by Arabella McNie for the Campaign for Wool, has been designed to present a vision of wool as a modern, versatile lifestyle fibre used in interiors, fashion and craft. The event looked promising on paper and it certainly didn’t fall short on delivery as far as interiors were concerned although the fashion part of the exhibition was more dated than current, rather acting as an homage to iconic designers using wool in their collections – but frankly I didn’t mind, the Wool House is definitely worth a visit! If you cannot make it, then let me take you on a little tour…
Country feel room by Josephine Ryan using naturally coloured and coarser textured wools
Coloured felted wool stripes used on the curved wall provide a bold and three dimensional vision of this contemporary living space (Work by Kyro Quinn)
Dream nursery by Donna Wilson. Her wonderland scheme of trees and sky, clouds and raindrops comes alive with the three dimensional leaves on the walls
Bedroom by Kit Kemp showcasing a wonderful combination of colour, pattern and texture. The wool fabric chosen for the walling has a wonderful stitch pattern to it!