The Wool Clip shop at Caldbeck in Cumbria re-opened after its winter break (12 February) with the announcement of a new member for this Cumbrian co-operative.
David Whitaker (84) has been weaving since just 2017 and has already developed the skills and creative approach to ensure that his wraps, scarves and blankets will be tomorrow's heirlooms. He also weaves wool tweed for other makers to use and will be selling that in The Wool Clip shop too.
"I worked in the textile industry many years ago," says David, "so this is sort of a return to my weaving roots. My wife and I were living on the Cambridge/Essex border when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011 and I cared for her at home until 2016. I was at a complete loss when she went into residential care – she died in 2019 – but I met members of the local Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers on an Open Day and found a new interest and new friends."
"Since then, I've taken every opportunity to learn and I have the approach to life that I'll aim to peak at 105! I met Jan Beadle of The Wool Clip at one of her weaving courses at Farfield Mill near Sedbergh and members of this co-operative have been incredibly helpful and encouraging in recent years. Now seems a good time to move north, make my home in Cumbria and get even more involved."
David will be the first man to be a member of The Wool Clip and he is looking forward to surprising a few people when they visit the shop. "I know people from all sorts of backgrounds who are involved in textiles so it doesn't seem at all odd to me," he says. "It's more about what we have in common and I am really looking forward to being part of this amazing group of designers and makers and continuing to learn for years to come."
Jan Beadle has been David's mentor since that first Farfield course and she is excited about his work being in the Caldbeck shop: "David's weaving is beautiful and he's very committed to using only animal fibres, especially British wool, so that's a great fit with our ethos at The Wool Clip. He's already using some of Jean Wildish, another member's silk-weight yarns in his work and I'm sure there'll be other opportunities for him to create with other members in future."
A selection of David's work – including tweed fabric as well as cot blankets, scarves and wraps - is on display and for sale at The Wool Clip in Priest's Mill, Caldbeck. The shop is open Tuesday to Sunday, 11.00am to 4.00pm from Saturday 12 February.