This film is about the work of Dutch artist Christien Meindertsma but it also shows the shearing, carding, spinning and washing/dyeing of the wool, processes that we used to do at Melin Tregwynt until the 60s when we ceased to process the wool and began buying it as ready spun yarn
The Texel Ottoman
The Urchin Pouf
A project for The Nature Conservancy made with wool from an organic flock of Panama sheep from Lava lake Ranch, Idaho.
You can find more about Chriestien Meindertsma by clicking here
Remember Fraggle Rock? A place where tuft-haired little monsters with bug eyes spent their days running from Gorgs, eating the constructions of tiny green hard-hatted men and getting advice from a talking pile of rubbish? Classic TV.
This video shows what happens when The Doozers (aforementioned hardhatted little green men) give up their building and decide to take up knitting.
These are the fashion experts of their day predicting what the well dressed woman of the 21st century will be wearing. No mention of wool at all, but notice how in amongst the futuristic folly - I especially liked the electric headlight to help her to find “an honest man” - were one or two very accurate predictons e.g. “fitted with a telephone”.
Now I have seen everything!!
If you’ve ever made an attempt to learn how to knit you’ll know that while it’s rewarding to create something from your own two hands, it’s also slow and can be painful for your fingers. With this futuristic piece designed by Merel Karhof, who is an RCA grad, there’s no chance of cramped fingers or get bored of slow repetitions.
While I was trying to walk in a straight line from the Royal College of Art towards Kensington Olympia, I was confronted with lots of Cul de sacs. Interesting to me was the way the wind blows in and out these spaces, unlike in normal streets where the wind blows only in one direction.
Looking at this phenomenon, I set myself the brief to use this ‘free’ energy source and create a product with it.
I created a mechanical wind powered knitting machine, which knits fast when there is a lot of wind and slow when there is not a lot of wind.
For my final show I present the machine as small wind knitting factory that illustrates a small production process from outside college, inside college. This visualizes directly what you can produce with the present amount of wind. The yarn will be knitted outside and enter the college trough the window as a long scarf. Inside there will be a small shop with me in it creating products with the harvested wool.
Once the wool is threaded into the machine, the wind goes to work and socks, slippers and scarves are finished in a very short period of time. Wind isn’t used to create any sort of electrical current to be used to power the device, it simply spins the gears to create warm wearables.
The Wind Knitting Factory was a temporary factory – a mechanical wind-knitting machine – that illustrated a sustainable production process and demonstrated in a direct way that you can produce a viable product using only urban wind power.
From June 26 to July 5 2009, the Wind Knitting Machine was installed on the façade of the Royal College of Art, powered by a windmill with a diameter of 1.2 metres. Along the façade the knitwear moved slowly through the window into the College, fast at high wind speeds, and slow when there was not a lot of wind. The knitted material was harvested at intervals and rounded off in individually labelled scarves. The labels describe how much time the two-meter scarves took to make, and on which day they were produced.
This has absolutley nothing to do with wool, apart from their woolly hats and jumpers, but I used to row and I think it’s an amazing film and a great challenge. Best of luck to them.
Only 60 people have ever rowed from London to Paris!
Next month they aim to complete this challenge and raise £100,000 for 2 Great causes: Supporting children with leukaemia
Another artwork involving a celebration of wool and traditional skills.
This was a collaboration between artists’ collectives Ointment and Boreal Art/Nature based in the woodland and uplands of the Preseli hills in Pembrokeshire. The work produced by Peter Bodenham, an old friend of mine, came together in the form of an installation consisting of drawings and artefacts crafted by the artist, inspired by a sense of place, belonging, learning and language.
Marcheurs des Bois 2005
The reason for its inclusion on this site, apart from the fact that I’ve known Peter for years is that in the winter the artists came together again in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. Peter constructed a garment out of a Carthen (welsh blanket) and mittens out of Hudson Bay blanket material. Both blanket designs are apparently social signifiers to their respective cultures and so gather history and worlds around them. In simple terms placing the material in the landscape to be witnessed, glimpsed at, to form a surreal lump in the mind. Myself I think it looks like a Welsh verion of the “the Wicker Man” (that film from the 60s) “the Carthen man”. I wouldn’t like to meet him on a dark night in the hills.
Funded by Wales Arts International
Something remarkable unfolded deep in the heart of Brecon Beacons National Park this Mothering Sunday 14th March. A 12 mile coffin route and an ancient Bronze Age Burial Cairn set the scene for a conceptual art exhibition of a totally different kind.
Situated on the hauntingly beautiful Black Mountain, Carnau y Garreg Las burial cairn became home to a 20ft hand knitted wool blanket - part of an inspiring and unique art exhibition entitled ‘Cwtch’ by conceptual artist, Ann Jordan from Swansea Metropolitan University.
The open-air gallery - where a crumbling 4,000 year old burial cairn has become a giant crib – is an idea conceived by Ann Jordan, who first approached the National Park two years ago with her extraordinary idea to hand knit and lay a blanket on the Black Mountain. Knitted from 12 miles of yarn, hand spun from local mountain sheep, the impressive 8kg blanket has been compared to an oversized baby’s shawl – and when it’s laid out it resembles freshly fallen snow. Welsh for ‘snuggle up’ or ‘cuddle’ - ‘Cwtch’ comes to life as it explores the relationship between the artist and an earthy landscape - celebrating the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
It’s an installation that has taken years of research, over 1500 hours of knitting and over 140,000 stitches, but it’s evidence that art is penetrating some of the least likely places, very far from modern galleries and exhibitions, opening up conversations in unexpected ways around our relationship with the environment, community and sustainability. With the project finally coming to fruition Ann hopes it will help to change the way people think about farming families and Welsh communities. She said: ““This project has been a wonderful experience. Whilst exploring my own personal relationship with the Black Mountain I have met and learnt so much about the history, culture and the people who work and live in the area.
“One of the things which I find really fascinating is how this blanket tells such a wonderful story. I have researched the coffin route and there are so many stories attached to it that have moved through generations. This route plays an important role in our Welsh history – it’s enchanted me and I hope that it will enchant others who come and walk along it to see the installation.”
Judith Harvey said: “This is the first time Brecon Beacons National Park Authority has hosted an exhibition of this nature and how fitting that it’s a vivid reminder of so much that is iconically Welsh - the decline of the wool industry, a route that quarry workers and miners walked along, a trail that farmers’ wives also followed – knitting as they walked - over the Black Mountain and of course the importance of the landscape for our Welsh farming communities. It’s almost as if a historical record of Wales is wrapped in one blanket.”
The origins of the old coffin route date back hundreds of years to a time when men from the farms around Llanddeusant left the village and walked over the Black Mountain to find work in the quarries and coal mines. It was the time of the Rebecca Riots and also a time when wool had reached rock bottom prices. When the men from Llanddeusant died in the mines or quarries their bodies were carried homeward over the Black Mountain by the men from Brynamman. The men were met halfway on the Black Mountain by the men from Llanddeusant who then carried the bodies home so they could be finally laid to rest in the churchyard of St Simon and St Jude at Llanddeusant. The bodies of the men were always wrapped in woolen blankets because centuries before, a Parliamentary Act of 1666 decreed that all corpses should be buried in a woolen blanket in an attempt to save the British wool industry from foreign imports.
Andrea Liggins, Dean of Faculty for Swansea Metropolitan University, Dynevor Centre for Art, Design and Media said: “Ann Jordan is an artist who impacts upon a place, not with a sharpness or a loud crash, but with gentleness and warmth, just as the title of her new work suggests, ‘Cwtch’. In a previous work ‘Transfusion’ she wrapped the Dynevor School in its transition to the Dynevor Centre for Art, Design and Media with a giant celebratory red ribbon, for her ‘Cwtch’ project she again is using material in the form of 12 miles of hand spun wool to wrap, protect, guide and to trace a journey.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the work in situ and the six mile walk that will be part of the event, which will echo the hard work that Ann has poured into this inspiring piece of contemporary art.”
The ceremonial blessing and laying of the blanket took place at the St Simon and St Jude Church in Llanddeusant, on Mothering Sunday 14th March after an all night vigil by the artist. The vicar of the village church, Rev Mike Cottam blessed the blanket and it was carried six miles along the coffin route to the burial cairn where it will be on display from 14th March until 25th April 2010. The blanket will then be exhibited at the Welsh Wool Museum, Swansea University MA show and it’s entered for the National Eisteddfod of Wales. A formal launch of the exhibition will take place on 25th March at The Black Mountain Centre, Brynamman.
If you would to know more about the art work or the exhibition at The Black Mountain Centre, Brynamman please contact Ann Jordan at email@example.com or telephone 07743 699 861.
Pictures: Copyright of Ann Jordan
Picture shows the unfinished blanket taken two months ago at the Gower, near Swansea. The blanket is now finished and spreads to a 20ft diameter.
This is an amazing idea about using the way that sunlight changes throughout the day to affect the design of an object made out of wool.
Animated wool reacts to sound. An installation for a Benetton fashin show at Pompidou.
created by: Ali Soozandeh, B&W, Germany 2003
Japanese filmmaker Mai Tominaga’s award-winning fantasy feature WOOL 100% combines live action, animation and puppetry to explore the darkest reaches of human nature.
I had to include this even though it’s not about wool. It is about the use of fabric and I think it’s absolutely beautiful. If it could run on water as well we’d all be happy.
Does a car’s skin always have to be made of metal? For crash behavior, stability of the body and other parts of the structural base we have long been able to do without it.
The world has never before seen anything like the BMW “GINA Light” Visionary Model. It is a car whose bodywork is no longer made of metal, but whose body is surrounded by a closefitting dress made of high-tech fabric. The vision for the car of the future has taken concrete form in a two-seater Roadster with all the proportions characteristic of the marque.
An extremely hardwearing special fabric is stretched over this metal structure.
Joints are a thing of the past – and when the doors swing upwards, the dress, which is stable in form and made of water-repellant hybrid fabric resistant to both cold and heat, forms distinct creases.
Individual elements of the substructure are arranged to be flexible; they are able to change their position as required, controlled either electrically or electrohydraulically, and can give the “skin” a new form. The result: The vehicle adapts to different requirements. The headlamps are hidden in a crease and the fenders are sometimes flat, sometimes drawn up like shoulders. Sometimes a spoiler rises up over the trunk like the taut muscles of a tiger about to pounce.
Godon Cavell was a manager here at Tregwynt some 25 years ago. He left to run his own mill in Scotland on Islay (where the whisky comes from). I found this video on the web. It’s great to see what he’s doing now.
In Serebryakov’s 10-minute film Ball of Wool (1968), an old woman meets a sheep in the forest and knits herself warm clothes, a house and furniture out of its coat, before coming up against her own limitations when she tries to remake herself as a beautiful girl. With its striking use of colour and its witty exploration of the medium, Ball of Wool is one of the masterpieces of Russian animated cinema.
“Ball of Wool” made in 1968 by Nikolai Serebryakov is an animated short film produced at the Soyuzmultifilm studio.
Nikolai Nikolyevich Serebryakov, artist and animated film-maker: born Leningrad 14 December 1928; married (one son); died Moscow 9 August 2005.
The Russian film-maker Nikolai Serebryakov was an imaginative and experimental maker of animated films, and one of those who contributed to a groundbreaking collaboration between Russia and the Welsh fourth channel, S4C, for the 1992 series Shakespeare - The Animated Tales.
Interesting use of wool in animated film
When knitting becomes an obsession