Woolly Minded presents complete traceability, illustrating the whole textile process from sheep to jumper. Growing up keeping Shetland sheep, I have always been immersed in the textile process, and I wanted to celebrate this interest in my final graduate collection. Our clothes are of increasing importance in our lives, yet the process of their production is often completely hidden from us and many of us do not know how they were made or where they have come from. Every fibre for this collection was ethically sourced and each stage of the textile process has been recorded through photography and video, allowing us to reconnect with the whole journey of how our knitwear is produced.

 

My inspiration comes from nature and the beautiful things that I notice when immersed in the outdoors. Growing up in Devon, the natural world has always been an important part of my life and, for me, is a way to reconnect with myself and with reality. In fast-paced and increasingly digital modern life, I think it is important to maintain this connection. My knitwear is strongly informed by the British countryside, with subtle illustrations of landscapes constructed through the knitting that when you look twice can be interpreted as lines of trees or muddy tracks on fields. Waste from different stages of the spinning process are also used in my knitting to connect my knitwear further with the spinning process.

 

I spent four weeks spinning the yarn for this collection at Coldharbour Mill, a working wool museum in Devon, using 19th and 20th century industrial machinery. Colours were blended through the spinning process in order to achieve subtly varied colours in the yarn, and where possible colours found naturally in the wool were used. My knitwear collection also uses naturally coloured alpaca yarn from UK alpaca, yarn sponsors for this project, who grade their yarn in Tiverton, Devon and source from alpaca farms across Britain.

 

Woolly Minded celebrates the beauty of nature and how this can act as both an escape and a support in modern life: a place of calm and positivity amongst chaos. This collection is a positive and fresh celebration of what we can find in and gain from the natural world.

 

 

 

Project sponsored by Coldharbour Mill and UK Alpaca.

©  2019 by Heather Firby