Thursday, 21 March 2013
I'm not pulling the wool over your eyes.
Yesterday I went along, with the missus, to a stunning exhibition at Somerset House. It was all about wool and what you could do with it.
It ranged from fabulous weaves, gorgeous clothes used by top notch tailors, hand woven tweeds to rooms bedecked in wool. Wool mattresses, wool pillows and wool wallpaper - incredibly noise proof and heat retaining.
Fabulous rooms decorated in stuff made, covered and filled with wool. People sitting at looms making intricate rugs and lovely, lovely scarfs. Piles of balls of wool - unbleached, wild, Scottish, Welsh, Outer Mongolian all feeling sooo.. lovely to touch.
You'd forgotten what wool felt like. In an age of synthetics wool was for the grandmas and long johns, Andy Stewart and the White Heather Club, Dr Snoddy and Margaret Rutherford.It had a comic feel to it, when in reality it feels like coming home.
Tweed is the new cloth, so much of modern style is built around tweed and an exaggerated Edwardian dandy look. Much of this is fashion, but it is also due to a realisation that clothes made from wool are smart, comfortable and long lasting. In straightened times, even the very rich see value in longevity.
There was much to admire at the exhibition. The craftsmanship, the skill and precision of the tailors. The sheer wonderment of seeing what can be created out of this shaggy stuff. And the fun. Kiddies rooms festooned with woollen creatures, chairs as jumpers and floppy animals.
And then there was the gob smacking. A picture of hummingbirds so finely delineated you at first thought it was a photograph. A picture of a magnificent head of a ram - in wool - which left you wondering "How the hell".
Yesterday, the weather, as so often these last 6 months was cold, damp and depressing. Visiting this exhibition left us with a bounce in our step, a feeling that despite all the despondency, hardship and unemployment, there were loads of people working away creating wonderful artifacts.
Let's hear it for wool and..
Shawn the Sheep - a hero of our age.