Thursday 9th of July 2015

Wool has huge potential for high quality art and craftwork and The Wool Clip has built a strong reputation for adding value to British wool and celebrating its potential as a creative material.  Over the summer months, artworks made by each of the 15 members of the cooperative will be on display Upstairs @ Upfront. Every piece has been inspired by local wool, particularly Herdwick, and they range from the everyday to the heirloom, from the vernacular to the spectacular!

Pam Hall has been involved in pulling the exhibition together: “Several of the pieces were featured alongside Ian Lawson’s photographs in a Herdwick-themed exhibition at Rheged earlier in the year,” she explains, “but Wool Clip members had been really inspired by the Herdwick theme and created much more work than could be included. We then had an exhibition of our own at Woolfest in June and, from the tremendous response, have now taken over the new Upstairs @ Upfront gallery space for the summer.”

There are 21 pieces in all, ranging from practical crochet bags and woven laptop cases to landscapes created in wool – tufted hangings, woven images and even a quilled Herdwick – an armchair that represents the hefting of a human flock and unique garments that show off the versatility of wool, including a Herdwick wool and silk wedding dress.

“Several of the pieces are for sale,” says Ruth Strong who farms at nearby Hesket Newmarket. “We’ve tried to show the potential of local wool, how it felts and spins into yarn, how it can take dye and colour and how it reflects the shades and tones of the Cumbrian landscape. This is such a good opportunity to show off our skills and perhaps challenge some of the preconceived ideas about Herdwick wool and how it can be used.”

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The exhibition, entitled Vernacular, Spectacular! is open now at Upfront Arts Centre. It runs until 6 September in the Upstairs @ Upfront space, alongside Animal Magic in The Barn Gallery and Wood Neuk in the Mezzanine Gallery and is open from 10:30am to 4:30pm every day except Mondays (unless a Bank Holiday).

Elaine Parkinson of Upfront is thrilled to have three exhibitions plus a stunning puppet display on show in the venue over the summer. “We’ve been focusing on our summer puppet theatre production, The Emperor and the Nightingale, in recent months,” she said, “so it’s wonderful that these exhibitions have come together too and enabled us to fill the Upfront space and show off the very best of local creativity.”

Further details of the exhibitions and The Emperor and the Nightingale are online at www.up-front.com. Further information about The Wool Clip and its shop at nearby Caldbeck is online at http://www.woolclip.com/.

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Woolfest, celebrate nature's finest fibres

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