Last Saturday (23rd March) I got the unexpected opportunity to pop into town with a friend and visit the Wool House exhibition at Somerset House. Unfortunately my ‘good’ camera refused to co-operate, but I did manage to take some photos with my camera phone.
I shot him with my knitted blunderbuss. Seriously though, this chap was gorgeous, and crocheted by Shauna Richardson, who has some amazing pieces. I just adore the fact this bear has a circular tummy though – just like a teddybear! – but the attention to detail is lovely
Through the hall you entered the bedroom. (yeah, go figure) with a beautiful linen ‘wallpaper’ that looked like somebody had lots of fun trying out those fancy stitches on the sewing machine that you never get around to using. Straight lines of fancy stitch detail on a natural linen background actually worked really well – and of course I didn’t get any photos.
Next up was an inspiring (for me) milk white and navy blue living room space which is going to form the basis for my upcoming bedroom remodel, the combination of the two colours really worked for me,
although I can live without the rusty sheep. However, the piece I really liked in this room was the coffee table. Beautiful sections of felt sewn together to create a mandala type snowflake supported not only a huge piece of glass, but a vase of flowers as well
I also really liked the ‘ceiling art’ in this room – it wasn’t a lighting feature, but just something that hung artistically from the ceiling. I like the structural focus of these knitted forms – and we did see one a bit later on that had optic fibre threaded through it to give a very soft light on the edges which was very effective (but useless as an actual light). You would need very high ceilings – or a large hallway maybe – to make this work.
A sidestep around the end of the corridor which had been turned into a Moroccan inspired ‘den’ showed good use of space – it would be a good way of using the space under the stairs in a hallway for example – but little else to interest me – took you into a whimsical nursery.
I loved the detailing in this room.. the blanket pre-printed for building den’s was possibly my favourite, along with the ‘wood’ printed blanket on the bed in the foreground
I also loved the friendly sheep at the end of the bed,
he had a lovely friendly face as well, though my phone decided that this was the perfect time to go ‘auto flash’ and the photo I got was more the stuff of childhood nightmares.
What I ended up with was sheep angry at being “papped”. I’ll be honest, this photo amused me no end, and the crowds of people queuing up behind me to get in the room couldn’t understand what I was laughing at.
From the nursery we were dropped into a room of acid brights and pop art. Lots of felt in here that had been structurally played with to create textural art. One end was dominated by This thing was a good 9ft tall and created by strips of pink felt – the lines you see going from top left to bottom right (more or less) are lines of straight sewing – the lines going the other way the edges of twisted strips of felt. You can also see the textural edging on the footstool in front, and the edges of 3 of the cushions. The other wall was flat strips of colour, separated by raised strips of unevenly edged black
It was a bugger to photograph, but would look amazing in a children’s room as well as providing soundproofing. This room really opened my eyes to the possibilities of felt as a structural fabric to create really strong, architectural designs that added interest to details in a room. This cushion is really over the top, but gives you a good idea of what i’m talking about..
Going from the acid brights of this room into a room full of undyed and natural fibres was a bit of shock. I’m still trying to work out what the pile of onions was for (other than that they fit with the colour palette), but I liked the idea of covering a piece of furniture with ‘cast off’ jumpers. I particularly like the idea of the pocket on the end of the arm!
The next room was more ‘educational’ with information about wool mattresses and pillows, as well as stockists for some of the furniture we had already seen. However in the window was hanging this amazing ‘lap blanket’ of fine wool felt. My photo’s don’t do it any justice as I’m aware it looks like a concrete column, but it was very soft and flexible and while ‘easy’ to create contained hours of work in the stitching. A really effective piece..
and we were into wool as art – felted wall hangings mostly (didn’t do anything for me) – the ‘try it out rooms’ which included samples of some of the rare breed yarns (which unfortunately perpetuated the myth that all ‘pure wool’ is horribly scratchy stuff) two lovely ladies who were spinning (spindle and wheel) and the opportunity to learn to knit at one of several regular workshops run by Rowan. Next door was a HUGE treadle loom with a rug in progress, and a couple of lovely people from the hand weavers studio in west London. Back across the corridor and finally a couple of rooms tried to show how wool was being used in fashion – past, present and future – who knows, we might even see cyclists wearing jackets with their own built in lights!