Friday 27th of September 2013

sept13newmembers.jpgThe Wool Clip has three new members, all based in Eden and Carlisle and all with fresh new woollen designs on sale in the cooperative’s Caldbeck shop.  The photograph shows (left to right) Sarah McCaig, Jan Beadle and Alice Underwood.

“Three of our members left during the summer months,” explains Cecilia Hewett, a member of The Wool Clip, “and we were keen to replace their various skills, work and experience with new members. That meant an emphasis on weaving and sewn textiles plus, ideally, someone with a particular enthusiasm for rare breed and British sheep. Through our connections and an appeal for new members at Woolfest in June, we’ve recruited three people with exactly the skills – and more – that we were looking for and they’re all local to the shop too.”

Jan Beadle (52, Scotby near Carlisle) is a familiar face from Woolfest and a renowned weaver who also teaches and shares her enthusiasm for wool textiles with workshops across Cumbria and beyond.

“My work involves experimenting with different weave structures to see how they distort when manipulated and felted to create individual handcrafted pieces,” says Jan. “I have scarves and handbag accessories already on sale in the shop and I am also working on a range of table runners and placemats, cushions and other interiors accessories.”

Sarah McCaig (44, Newton Reigny near Penrith) is just beginning to learn to weave but her main work uses wool fabrics, especially Scottish tartans and Cumbrian tweeds, to make unique home accessories.

“Wool features in most of my designs,” says Sarah, “as it makes up beautifully, has a gorgeous texture and drape and also tends to do what it’s told! I am always keen to try new material combinations to mix colour and texture – wool and silk together are a favourite – and I love playing around with shape and form, hence my quirky fish and bird designs.”

Alice Underwood (53, Cliburn near Penrith) is a former research scientist who also trades as Sheepfold and who has a passion for rare and native British sheep breeds. “I was taught to knit as a child by my grandmother and I became totally passionate about British sheep and wool when I learnt to spin and wanted to know more about the different breeds providing the fleece. My products in the Caldbeck Wool Clip shop are mainly knitting and felting kits – especially for felted bags in different colours and designs – but I also sell spun yarn, carded fleece, greetings cards featuring photographs of sheep and copies of my book, Felted Bags.”

For all three new members, the chance to join a cooperative has a special appeal: “The support from working with other like-minded designers and makers is really valuable when you’re usually working on your own from home,” says Jan, “and the Wool Clip cooperative is a great network.”

Alice is also looking forward to the group aspect: “A good team is one where there’s some synergy and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. With 15 members from a variety of backgrounds and wide range of woollen skills and interests, the Wool Clip really achieves this and I am already enjoying being part of it.”

Jan, Sarah and Alice’s work is now on display and for sale at the Wool Clip in Priest’s Mill, Caldbeck and the shop is open every day from 11am to 4pm.

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Woolfest, celebrate nature's finest fibres

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