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Keen young weaver joins The Wool Clip
Young South Lakes-based weaver, Ella Keen (19) has joined The Wool Clip co-operative, based at Caldbeck.
Ella and her family moved to Cumbria from Dorset in 2020 to be closer to family and Ella studied agriculture at Newton Rigg in its final year.
"I've gradually become more and more interested in sheep and wool," Ella says. "My sister and I've been weaving on a small loom for a few years but the move to Crosthwaite near Kendal and my work on local farms has really inspired me to do more. A visit to buy a spinning wheel resulted in the purchase of two spinning wheels and a bigger loom and I am now fitting rug and blanket weaving around looking after my small flock of Wensleydale sheep and relief milking on local farms!"
Ella sells her Wensleydale fleeces online and buys British rug wool for her own weaving.
"Ella's approach and designs are very fresh and quite Scandi so I think there'll be a lot of interest."Jan Beadle, Ella's Wool Clip mentor
"My initial stock of wool came from the former Goodacre's carpet factory in Kendal and I now buy my yarn from sources across the north of England," she says. "I'd love to get to the stage of growing, spinning and weaving with my own wool from sheep to rug but that's a much longer-term project. For now, I'm still developing my techniques and learning as much as I can about traditional Scandinavian and British designs."
Weaver and Wool Clip member, Jan Beadle, will be Ella's mentor in the co-operative for the first few months: "Ella will bring the number of weavers in The Wool Clip to four, myself and David Whitaker on floor looms like Ella and Marion Rae on peg looms. Ella's approach and designs are very fresh and quite Scandi so I think there'll be a lot of interest and I am certainly looking forward to working with her and sharing skills."
"Being part of The Wool Clip will mean that I can have more creative freedom, weaving a bigger variety of pieces and trying out new ideas," says Ella. "It will also mean that I can showcase my work to more people, learn from more experienced wool enthusiasts and experts and, of course, sell more of my work."
Julia Neubauer is also a member of The Wool Clip co-operative and she first met Ella and saw her work at Rheged near Penrith: "Ella's enthusiasm for wool and her determination to develop her skills and create her own woven designs is really inspiring," says Julia. "The Wool Clip has always been about celebrating British wool and providing opportunities for local craftspeople working with British wool. We're looking forward to having Ella as part of the team in the shop, making a contribution to our future."
A selection of Ella's rugs and blankets is now on display and for sale at The Wool Clip in Priest's Mill, Caldbeck.
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