Page 1


2019 – 2020

Cover: Woolstorm (detail), Johanna Hernesniemi 2

WOOL WORKS 2019 – 2020

Exhibition Curators: Niina Hiltunen, Saija Lehtonen, Mandy Nash Translations: Niina Hiltunen Photos: Henrietta Lehtonen (catalogue pages: 10-11, 14-21, 26-27, 30-35, cover) Catalog graphic design: Henrietta Lehtonen 3




Claire Cawte


Henni Eliala Pauline Hearn


Johanna Hernesniemi


Niina Hiltunen


Mirka Laine


Saija Lehtonen


Jane McCann


Alison Moger


Sirpa Mรถrsky


Mandy Nash


Merianne Nebo


Kukka Rantanen


Laura Saarivuori-Eskola


Lynda Shell


Sue Shields


Susan Smith


Alison Taylor


Elspeth Thomas



Foreword MaP - Makers and Practitioners - was formed in 2001 when a group of staff working on the Contemporary Textile Practice Degree course at Cardiff School of Art & Design realised that they had been preaching without practicing for far too long. They founded a creative, supportive and innovative group of artists and designers to develop and showcase their work. Since then the membership has changed and evolved: all members have a strong academic and professional background, with a wealth of experience in an amazing variety of fields ? weave, print, knit, constructed textiles, digital textiles, illustration, metalwork, woodwork, etc. Some already have national and international reputations. All are passionate about their own work and about expanding the audience of contemporary art/craft; raising its profile; increasing links within the sector and outside; researching new techniques, and encouraging others to become involved. To help the group achieve its aims, links with other makers is high on its agenda. After a successful collaboration with the Canadian textile group, Diagonale, in 2008, MaP was keen to start a new partnership with international makers. MaP member Jane McCann, has a long and established relationship with Finnish maker, Sirpa Mรถrsky and, with her help, MaP started a conversation with a group of Finnish makers, Modus. Founded in Tampere in 2001, the 6

Modus ry (Pirkanmaa Design and Art Association) is an association of professionals, teachers, researchers and producers of visual arts and crafts. They promote the role of high-quality craft and design regionally and internationally. The association supports local entrepreneurship, knowledge and sustainable development. Their members share the same values: high quality, ethics and ecology. Slowly, the idea of creating a themed, joint exhibition developed: Wool Works. Collaboration between makers encourages the development of ideas and forges new friendships. Comparing working methods and cultures, using different materials and techniques is an exciting way of creating new work. Several MaP members visited Finland in 2018 and were truly inspired to create new work for the exhibition and MaP looks forward to welcoming the Modus exhibitors in 2019. The future development of the project exhibition touring to Finland in 2020 ensures the nurturing of stronger links. Materials are important to makers and the protection of the environment is a relevant issue. By selecting the theme of wool for the joint exhibition, we hope to highlight the magic of the material and encourage more makers to incorporate it in their work. Mandy Nash 8th August 2019 7



Since studying Contemporary Textile Practice in Cardiff, I have specialised in natural dyes and have carved a niche in “slow textiles”. I utilise foraged materials such as leaves, bark, berries and lichen to create patterns on silk and cotton cloth. In contrast to the delicate nature of this work I also work with wool using native fleece to make more sculptural forms including bags, bowls and decorative cutlery pieces. Wool Works Wool has always been central to my practice as a textile artist, mainly focusing on beautiful raw, salvaged wool. Gathering wool from the land is very precious, heavy with lanolin in its raw state I enjoy handling and manipulating its fibres. Wool has a unique quality that is wild and bouncy, and slightly unruly, which evokes mischief and charm. Working instinctively my work develops through a creative flow. I explore the kinks and curls, tones and shades, slowly creating pieces of elegance that have come from within. An element of luxury and warmth to wrap around the body, signifying protection and security is a longstanding theme that often returns in my work. The silver birch tree that stands tall and slender in the forests of Finland has become the focus of my fascination for this project. She is the “Lady of the Forest” standing like a totem with her glistening white trunk swathed in graceful tendrils of drooping lush green leaves. I sense her resilient presence and protection that resonate in the pieces I make. Welsh and Finnish wool are blended together, touched and enhanced with painterly effects of organic pigment from natural dyes of the fallen silver birch leaves. 8



Eliala Stitches I, 2019 free blown glass, graal-technique, signed, 19,5 x 14,5 x 14,5 cm Stitches II, 2019 free blown glass, graal-technique, signed 26 x 14 x 14 cm Stitches III, 2019 free blown glass, graal-technique, signed 23 x 17 x 17 cm

Henni Eliala is a glass artisan and artist working at the well-known Nuutajärvi Glass Village, Finland. She’s a glass jewellery designer from the Ikaalinen College of Arts and Crafts and became a glass blower two years later in Tavastia Vocational College. Ethical issues are important to her, hence glass as a vegan material is her choice. She enjoys learning more about class at workshops and courses, and the versatility of glass is an immense source of joy for her. Her work contains techniques widely used with glass, such as fusing, lampworking, blowing and engraving. Stiches ’Stiches’ vases are free-blown glass, made with the graal technique. At the starting point the blown bubble has at least two overlaying colours. It is cooled back to the room temperature slowly before the piece is at first engraved revealing the underlying colour and then reheated in the furnance again up to approximately 500 degrees, then taken back to the blowpipe and re-blown to the final shape. In the ’Stiches’ vases I observe different knitting stiches on glass. For ethical reasons I do not want to use any animal material in my art, but interpret the theme wool via glass. 10

Henni Eliala: Stiches 11



Pauline Hearn is a mixed media artist whose work amalgamates a range of techniques - textiles, screenprinting, stitch (both hand and machine) and fine art. After gaining a BA (Honours) degree as a mature student in Cardiff’s School of Art and Design, she went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Art Practice at Swansea Metropolitan University, where she explored and developed the conceptual elements of Memento Mori. A recurring theme within her work is her response to life situations and an exploration of her identity as evidenced by her recent work exploring her Irish ancestry and the mass immigration of the Irish due to poverty and hardship. In this body of work she made reference to the cottage industry of many Irish women by hand stitching text concerning Ireland’s history onto Irish linen handkerchiefs; this work was exhibited in Northern Ireland. Wool Works “I am a firm believer in the saying ‘Waste Not, Want Not’. The alarming quantity of items which could have been put to a better use, but are ending up in landfill sites, was the starting point of my work. Statistics for textiles being sent to landfill makes disturbing reading as British people throw away billions of tons of clothes every year. The rise of throwaway fashion due to cheap imports only enhances the problem. As a textile artist I consider textiles to be precious and tend to keep them for various reasons, some because of their memories - either fond or sad - and others simply because they may come in handy one day By using my discarded woollen clothes and fabric, I have created a series of textile squares which include memorable hand stitched items, thus giving them another purpose; the recreated work will still retain the memories within it. “There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we grow anything away it must go somewhere.” https://harmony 1.com” 12




Johanna Hernesniemi is a visual artist living and working in Tampere. She also works as an interior and product designer. She loves creating something new and working with natural materials such as wool and leather. She works often with wool because it is easy to work and it looks good in various shapes and forms. Woolstorm Woolstorm is both a work of art and a story. It is a survival story of my severe illness, its phases and my healing process. If viewed as a piece of art, it depicts a storm on a greyscale, the darkest part being the eye of the storm, almost reaching the earth. The part at the upper end resembles the light and brightness, which very often can be seen above a storm. The longer yarns represent the rain and the thunderstorm. It goes without saying that this piece is a very meaningful one for me. The eye of the storm is the darkest moment of my illness: getting the bad news, living in uncertainty, having a surgery. Getting better step by step brought lighter colours to life and eased the negative feelings I had. The dark and long parts of yarn depict these bad days that every now and then came, breaking the line of better days. I consider myself a positively thinking person and I always try to see the light, however dark the moment might be. The end of my journey is the lighter coloured, top part of this work. I’m almost there. 14

Wool Storm, 2018-2019 hooked rya with 1-ply wool 140 x 90 x 20 cm

Johanna Hernesniemi: Woolstorm 15



Niina Hiltunen is a textile designer, artist, weaver and teacher living and working in Kangasala, Finland. She graduated from Wetterhoff weaving education in Hämeenlinna, Finland and is a qualified teacher currently teaching at several adult education centres in Central and Southern Finland, in addition to working in her studio designing and weaving art textiles. Her artwork involves “painting with yarnâ€? visions and impressions of reality and of imagination to produce textile sculptures and art textiles. She weaves her work mainly on a traditional countermarch loom, using occasionally other methods, such as knitting or crocheting. Three-dimensional form is a feature that often occurs in her work and her works of art reveal their true nature and the fine and delicate, almost fragile, details only when looked at very closely. She has had several solo exhibitions in Finland and she is now planning the forthcoming one in Berlin, Germany in 2020. Hinging on Water, 2017 Hinging on Water is a modern, three-dimensional, hand-woven art textile, representing a new approach to the traditional Finnish textiles (rya and raanu) hung on the wall. The weave has a modern touch even though it has its roots deep in Finnish weaving tradition. In addition to colour and surface, the art weave has an essentially different and modern, three-dimensional form providing a visual and unique experience, as light and shadow play on its surface. The work is inspired by Finnish nature. Water and the surrounding greens are an essential part of Welsh nature, too. Moreover, the main material wool is an important link between the Welsh and Finnish textile traditions and industries. Finland has lost its weaving mill industry almost entirely, although hand weaving is still a hobby for many (elderly) women, whereas in Wales small weaving mills still provide a living for many people. 16

Veden varaan / Hinging on Water, 2017 handwoven acoustic art textile: wool, silk, cotton, linen 55 x 105 x 7 cm Wel(l,)come, 2019 handwoven art textile: wool, silk, mohair 80 x 250 cm

Wel(l,)come, 2019 The form of the art textile is a reinterpretation of a recurring pattern I found in Welsh wool tapestry blankets. The use of colours, patterns and the double-sided sturcture itself inspired to create a three- dimensional, space creating textile. It is possible to walk into the installation textile, to isolate oneself from the world, to ’wrap’ the textile around oneself, as you can do with a blanket on a sofa. The openness of the structure and the fine mohair yarns attract the viewer to enter the work of art and let light and shadow play with the structure. When installing the artwork, it is possible to create it a bit differently each time by adjusting and sliding the four panels through one another.

Niina Hiltunen: Wel(l,)come, 2019 17



Mirka Laine is a jewellery artist and designer living and working in Tampere, Finland, who was originally interested in stones only and was educated as artisan for stones and jewellery in 2007. Yet she soon became interested in the possibilites of working silver and studied more at the Savonia University of Applied Sciences, graduating in 2016. As a part of her studies she spent very inspiring six months as an exchange student in National College of Art & Design, Dublin. The period was immensely important in finding her more artistic nature and strengthening her views in design. Her working process is a very intuitive one, yet it results in technically refined jewellery. Connection I introduced wool as a material into my art jewellery for the first time in ’Hidden’ in 2015 while I was living in Dublin as an exchange student. Being a new material to me, wool inspired me. After returning to Finland I continued designing experimental woolen art jewellery - it brought me back to the Irish moors and reminded me of my time spent there. Wool also served as a different medium to combine playfulness and design process and a way to express myself differently. In 2016 I designed as a part of my final studies a jewellery collection for performing artists called ’Hattara’ (Cotton Candy). It combines wool and silver. It was during that period when I felt that I had found my medium, my way of making and designing. After that it has been easy to express myself freely. In making of ’Connection’ I return to wool again. The wildness of wool, its basic nature in addition to a dreamy feeling, are well preseved in my work. Pastel colours emphasize the soothing and calming nature of wool, yet giving it a fresh, new look. The tough nature of silver fades underneath the pastel surface of wool. While working on ’Connection’ I kept pondering the symbolic meaning of wool and the phrases it occurs in the Finnish language. 18

Connection (earrings and two rings), 2018 art jewellery with needle felting and dyeing 4 x 14 x 35 cm (earring) 5 x 2,7 x 1,8 cm (rings)

It is somewhat typical for Finns to be keep minding their own businesses and staying indoors with less contact to others, especially at wintertime. The Finnish word for wool (’villa’) bears several meanings, including the word ’villa’ in English. I also thought a lot about the Finnish spring and how it reveals the openheartedness of Finns; how we find the connection to other people, nature and of course, to ourselves again. I see ’Connection’ combining the two sides of a person: the blackand-white thinking, feeling sorry for oneself and thinking merely negatively with setting oneself free of all the negative energy and finding the true colours of life and positive thinking again.

Mirka Laine: Connection 19



Saija Lehtonen is an artist and maker who works both in Nokia and Karstula, her place of birth. Natural materials, such as fish scale and elk hair are her main source of inspiration and the profound basis of her work. She is also intrigued by the cultural heritage of artic peoples and their traditional and often ecological handicrafts reflexing profound understanding of the circuit of life and nature. Saija has a Bachelor’s Degree of Design (2006) of former Kuopio Academy of Design, and she is currently studying visual arts at Saimaa University of Applied Sciences, graduating in December 2019. She’s a member of Pirkanmaa Modus Association, The Jewelry Art Association and Ornamo Art and Design Finland. Saija has had numerous solo exhibitions in Finland and various joint exhibitions since 2005. Karstula Municipality displays her works in its collections. Rannanääri and Rantautua The underlying idea of Rannanääri is water, an essential element both in Finnish and Welsh nature. Water takes and shapes different forms and even though it is often considered as a ’soft’ element, it can overcome the hardest rock. Wool, on the other hand, has similar kinds of features: it is very soft but when processed, it becomes hard and durable. Water is the basic condition of life. The living cells as well as the Earth needs water to live. It is transformable but always there. It is dazzling to think that nowadays we actually drink the same water as ancient Vikings at the shores of Wales or the hunters in the primal forests of Central Finland. 20

Rannanääri / The ends of the shores, 2019 mixed media: sheep wool, silk and fish scales 77 x 7 cm Rantautua / Landfall, 2019 mixed media: sheep wool, elk hair and wood 26 x 72 x 23 cm

Rantautua artwork holds the essential meaning of water, too, in its boatlike shape. The handspun yarn of elk hair and wool in the bobbin lace parts remind us of the impacts and handicrafts that came from abroad by sea. The seas and oceans combine different continents and serve as a fairway distributing knowhow. Water is in so many ways our source of life. Water is eternal.

Saija Lehtonen: Rantautua 21



Professor Jane McCann, M Des RCA, M Phil, CText FTI. Based in Northern Ireland, Jane is involved in the user-driven design research and development of technical and smart functional clothing as well as creating and curating new clothing and product applications for linen / flax fibres. In particular, as a MaP member, Jane partnered the group with designer/makers in Northern Ireland for the Linen Futures’ exhibition (2015 & 2016) that became a precursor to Northern Ireland’s Linen Biennale 2018. Her growing interest in the application of flax fibres in composite materials has led to her current role as the lead facilitator of an Invest Northern Ireland funded Natural Fibre Collaborative Network scoping study. She continues to have international academic involvement in performance sportswear design, provides expertise to textile oriented projects, presents at events and contributes to publications. Jane’s current involvement in Wool Works celebrates not only her enjoyment of being a MaP member but also many years of UK / Finland project collaboration with Sirpa Mörsky. Wool Works My capsule collection of garments for Wool Works celebrates on-going collaboration between myself and Sirpa Mörsky as clothing and textile designer makers from Finland and Ireland linked together both as MaP members and as long established European academic partners. I am using woollen yarns in woven and knitted textiles in garments that merge the cuts, colours, textures and patterns found in Finnish traditional costume and in cultural artefacts along with references to the natural landscapes of Finland, Ireland and Wales for the creation of ageless and enduring design. A key knitted jacket uses Donegal spun knitting wool with Lapland Sami embroidered motifs. A multicolour knit includes yarns sourced at the Tampere craft fair as well as those spun by Kehräämö Salo-Angora, Finland. Woven fabrics include hand woven Irish tweed by Eddie Doherty, a bainin weave by McNutt, a Finnish blanket fabric with woollen weft and linen warp, by Jokipiin pellava, and Sirpa’s bespoke hand woven skirt fabric using yarns sourced on our collaborative ‘journey’. 22




Alison Moger is a practising artist working with free-stitch, mixed media and print; her work will always have a recycling, environmental and family ethos at its heart. She is an avid collector of vintage textiles and domestic objects that show the passage of time and human interaction; Alison embraces storytelling through the visual process. Wool Works “For this MaP/Modus project I have been exploring stories from my childhood memories connected to Welsh myths and fairy stories. Every evening it was the role of my Father or Grandfather to tuck me up in bed and tell me a story before I went off to sleep. Their deep, tender voices would engage and soothe me, and the stories they told have impacted on my art practise ever since. I decided to sacrifice my Dad’s Welsh wool nursing blanket (traditionally called a carthen) for this project; I have deconstructed this precious textile and stitched into it the stories of my childhood. It will be interesting to explore the differences and links in this Welsh-Finnish collaboration between our traditional stories.” 24




Sirpa Mörsky graduated from Fredrika Wetterhoff School of Arts and Crafts as arts and crafts teacher, but she also holds a Master’s Degree in Art History from the University of Jyväskylä. During her long career she has taught at several schools of arts and crafts, in the HAMK Häme University of Applied Sciences and at the adult education centres of Pirkan opisto and Nokia. She has gained wide experience in international matters as a leader of EU projects and a visiting lecturer during her active career, which is when she was introduced to the MaP group. As an honorary member of MaP she has participated exhibitions both in England and Northern Ireland, such as Linen Futures 2015-18 and Pinnies from Heaven in 2017. Currently she works on personal projects and as a visiting lecturer in China. She finds herself foremost a maker of clothes with a keen interest in modelling and draping, but she is also fond of embroidery, knitting and weaving. Vekki and Pippuri House Coats The Modus / MaP collaboration has given me the opportunity to continue working with the MaP group and Jane McCann, especially. Our collection includes functional, woolen clothes, timeless in design, based on the sustainable slogan “less is more”. The designs have been influenced by both Finnish and Celtic traditions, the Finnish nature and scenery also being present in our work as colours and forms. During our background research we have dived into the modelling, manufacturing and the materials of Finnish national costumes. We have also deepened our knowledge on spinning wool yarn and weaving the traditional Irish twill by visiting a wool mill Salo-Angora in Finland in 2018 and several Irish traditional weaving mills in 2017. 26

Both in Finland and in Britain the house coat has been a very important piece of clothing for women. I remember my mother and my grandmother using it. Nowadays leggings or sweatpants worn with a T-shirt have replaced it. I’d like to revive the house coat, by making it of wool fabric and combining it with some knit.

Sirpa MĂśrsky: Pippuri House Coat




Mandy set up her workshop in 1983 after leaving the Royal College of Art, working primarily in non-precious materials, usually anodised aluminium, producing one-off and batch production jewellery, creating large, bold pieces which are both wearable and affordable. Over the last twenty years she has also been developing work in felt, combining this with her jewellery practice, creating both functional and non-functional work. Her three passions are colour, pattern and technique. Her grandmothers initiated her fascination with making objects in colourful materials, passing on their traditional textile skills. Her work has been heavily influenced by both traditional and contemporary textiles and much of her inspiration comes from her travels around the world. In 2010, she received an Arts Council of Wales grant to help purchase a laser cutter which has enabled her to take her work in new directions. She is a member of the Makers Guild in Wales, the Association of Contemporary Jewellery and MaP and is regional co-ordinator and vice chair of the International Feltmakers Association. She has exhibited widely in the UK, Europe, Japan, USA and Canada. Wool Works For the MaP/Modus collaboration, Mandy has developed new work experimenting with folds and pleats in felt, echoing the patterns in the environment around her, especially the Welsh coastline. Combining Finnish and Welsh wool, the pieces exploit the tactile nature of the medium and can be interpreted in many ways, as wearable neckpieces, sculptural objects, wallhangings or small rugs. In contrast to the textile work, Mandy has also designed a range of jewellery, influenced by her trip to Finland in November 2018 linking both Finnish and Welsh textile motifs. 28




Merianne Nebo likes to call herself a designer and a footwear expert who carries shoemaking in her blood via her cobbler-grandfather and her parents, who were part of the once blooming Finnish footwear industry. England holds a special place in her heart, for she has lived in Northampton, “the county of footwear”. In England she completed her HND-degree in Footwear Design and Technology plus Masters of Art in Performance Sportwear Design. She has worked as an industrial footwear designer both in Finland and England. Currently she works on international footwear education, and has trained footwear designers in Finland, in European countries and in South-America. She is also teaching at HAMK Häme University of Applied Sciences and writing her PhD at Tampere University including doing research with small-scale shoe design entrepreneurs. She is dreaming of her footwear collection / mark boen ma, which will be her footmark to the world. Merianne is a Modus board member. MISFIT MISFIT- collection is a story of traditions and my ancestors Hedvig, Anders and Emilia. I was inspired by Welsh folk dancers’ red-whiteblack colours and traditional costume prints together with the design and techniques of 1800th century Western Finland handmade textile footwear. With my work, I often want to mix handcraft and industrial work. Even though I added some fashionable touches to MISFIT footwear, you still can feel the past world in them. Leather as the upper layer is a substitute to the traditional fabric. On the upper, there are three layers of materials. Organic materials like wool and cotton, play an important role on MISFIT. Local raw materials like birch tree, reindeer and elk leather are equally important. I minimized glue in shoemaking by using a sewing machine. 30

HEDVIG, 2019 handcraft, string lasting, 3Dprint 20 x 26 x 10 cm ANDERS, 2019 handcraft, string lasting 16 x 28 x 10 cm EMILIA, 2019 handcraft, flat lasting right shoe: 41 x 28 x 10 cm left shoe: 28 x 28 x 10 cm

Merianne Nebo: MISFIT

For the soles of Hedvig and Anders, I used a 3-dimensional printing technique. I celebrate collective creativity by working with textile and footwear specialists, which you can see on the fabric and on the 3D-sole design of MISFIT-collection. 31



Kukka Rantanen is a jewellery designer and artist living in Kuru, Ylöjärvi. She graduated from Pirkanmaa Vocational Institute in 2008 and continued her studies at Lahti Institute of Design (Lahti University of Applied Sciences), graduating as jewellery and product designer in 2013. Currently she designs for and manages Lunarctic, her business for bullion and birch plywood veneer jewellery, in addition to teaching at various adult education centres and organising workshops. In art everyday life and controlled chaos inspire her, but the versatility of nature; tree branches, moss, eggs and nest-like constructions, in particular, provide her with material for creating simple works of art, yet abundant in detail. In addition to metal, Kukka uses a large variety of materials, such as bones, keratin, glass and stones. She is a keen learner of new techniques and creating something new is truly important to her. The working process is an essential part of her art. Treasure - a necklace and a ring I usually begin my work with a certain technique or material, pondering ’is this do-able?’. I instantly chose felting as the technique, when I heard the theme of our exhibition. I wanted to work with a material which I believe deserves more attention. At first I thought of Finn sheep wool, which is a fantastic but an underrated material. The vast majority of it is thrown away, while tons of wool is imported from the other side of the world. My friends have been discussing the spinning of dog hair into yarn, which gave me the idea to try felting my cat’s hair. What could be more ecological – I had thrown the hair away myself earlier! To my surprise the cat hair suited very well for felting. How many pets 32

Treasure, 2019 art jewellery (ring and necklace): felted cat hair, 925 silver and garnets

and how much excellent raw material there is in the world which could be used more often, instead of throwing away! The body of the work is made of 925 silver, and one can find a garnet in it, too. The cat hair has been collected by brushing, during a longer period of time. This work resembles a treasure and it is a tribute to my dear cat. Kukka Rantanen: Treasure - a necklace and a ring




Laura is a jewellery artist with strong Karelian roots. She is mostly employed by her one woman business EKORU, where she makes ready-to-wear jewellery mainly from old silver cutlery and discarded old Finnish coins. Customers also have jewellery created from their own spoons and other mementos. Her jewellery design is based on recycled materials and she aims for the original artifact also to be seen in the finished item. In her jewellery, history is brought back to life: by modifying the old Laura creates something new altogether. Throughout history people have worn their riches. Her jewellery enables also the spiritual riches: mementos and traditions to be worn with. 2010 Laura was nominated the Young Artisan of the Year. The Finnish craft museum displays her jewellery in its collections. She has had solo and joint exhibitions, the most recent being SQIN in the museum of Emil Aaltonen in Tampere, Finland. Draig Gwlân - Dragon Wool I have been educated as a metal artisan and wanted to stick to the material I love and that is widely versatile. I collect different types of castaway scrap and got the idea for my exhibition piece going through my treasures. When thinking of Wales, after sheep the Dragon that features in the Welsh flag comes to mind. As the dragon is a imaginary creature, every guess of its appearance is as valuable. I want to think that a dragon, too, is woolly. Since the dragon breathes fire, its wool must be fireproof. My piece is a close-up of a dragon’s skin. The base of the piece Dragon Wool is a rusty sheet of metal with holes and rebars I found from my late father’s workshop. The fibres of dragon wool are made from old metal knitting needles my 34

Draig Gwlân - Dragon Wool, 2019 sculpture: metal waste, knitting needles, recycled silver, wood 40 x 55 x 30 cm

mother gave me. My father used to be amused with my love of broken machinery components and peculiar tools but my parents have always been supportive of my creativity. Dragon Wool combines several things close to my heart; recycling old materials, jewellery making, fantasy literature and cultures and folklore.

Laura Saarivuori-Eskola: Draig Gwlân - Dragon Wool 35



I am a textile designer who, was awarded a first class BA Honours degree in Contemporary Textile Practice in 2004 after studying as a mature student at the University of Wales, Institute Cardiff. My collection includes bags, clutches, purses & scarfs, inspiration for which is taken from historical artefacts. Each product is hand made using a combination of high quality & durable fabrics, such as leather, Irish linen & wool and I use a variety of techniques such as silkscreen printing, free machine embroidery and hand stitch. Many designs are then further embellished with beading and buttons to add individuality and textural interest. I am a member of the Makers Guild in Wales and have a permanent display of my work for sale in their gallery in Cardiff. Wool Works My work for this exhibition is designed to reflect my personal experience and feelings about the landscapes of Finland and Wales. I have always been drawn to wild, largely uninhabited landscapes. I am in awe of their visual beauty and vastness. Watching the snow fall quietly in the wilderness of Northern Finland as the reindeer, with their beautifully soft muted toned skins, gently meander through the snow-laden trees gives me an overwhelming sense of calm and stillness. In contrast driving through the rugged dark mountainous landscape of Wales, with its craggy rock faces dotted with flocks of striking cream & black sheep, evokes a wondrous sense of visual drama that arouses the senses. 36

In order to capture the spirit of these wonderfully inspiring and contrasting landscapes, I have used a combination of materials & techniques. For the handmade bags I have utilised a heavyweight old Welsh wool blanket combined with antiqued, rustic brown leather and for the scarves I have used soft, finely woven wool. Photographs of reindeer antlers were developed into patterns using a process of computer manipulation, the patterns then silkscreen printed on to the fabric. Various combinations of hand dying, shibori, silkscreen & block printing as well as stitch have all been used to create my final designs.




Sue Shields is an illustrator who worked freelance and as a college lecturer for most of her career. Her time teaching drawing on the Contemporary Textile Practice degree course at Cardiff School of Art & Design led to her becoming a member of the mixed media group, MaP. Much of her textile work has involved the making of dolls, which complements her interest in work which offers a narrative interpretation. Both her Irish step-dancing doll and her Welsh costume doll can be constructed from printed tea towels that also provide historical information on Irish dance and Welsh clothing respectively. Sue uses printmaking to explore ideas which are often historical and involve visual research which she finds enjoyable. Wool Works Sue has produced a series of lino cuts based on rhymes and sayings with a wool theme. The Herdwick sheep is a hardy breed farmed in the UK’s Lake District and was probably brought over from Finland by the Vikings, forming a link that goes back generations. The nursery rhyme ‘Baa Baa, Black Sheep’ originated at the time of Edward 3rd when the tax on wool, which was a mainstay of the British nation’s economy, was punitive. The rhyme pointed out that the tax gave wealth to the king and to the church before rewarding the shepherd. Her ‘Baa Baa, Black Sheep’ lino cuts are organised so that each image tells an element of the story in a different way. Further lino cuts explore both the idiom ‘A wolf in sheep’s clothing’ and the phrase ‘Pulling the wool over his eyes’. The wool theme is reinforced by presenting the prints in woollen frames. 38




Susan Smith has spent a lifetime in the field of textiles and education whether working in a museum, teaching in colleges or producing ‘one-off’ pieces for sale in galleries and as commissions. She has a wide interest in historical textiles, specialising in fashion history and hand embroidery though more recently she has widened her horizons beyond mere stitch. She now regularly uses materials such as hand-made paper, naturally dyed fabrics and found objects in her work. She is a member of the Makers’ Guild in Wales and her work can always be found for sale in its gallery in Cardiff Bay Wool Works This exhibition has prompted a return to the theme of architecture which was a familiar feature of Susan Smith’s work in the 1980s, when she frequently incorporated specific buildings into samplers, or stitched ‘house portraits’ for individual clients. The chapel has traditionally formed a key element of Welsh Society, ranging in style from the simple to the flamboyant, the Classical to the Gothic. In recent decades dwindling congregations have meant that many chapels have fallen into disuse and disrepair resulting in their demolition. Some, however, have been restored and/or converted to an alternative use and so can still be seen in both urban and rural towns and villages throughout the Principality and further afield. By depicting some of their delightful facades in cloth and stitch, using a various techniques and incorporating Welsh wool fabric, she has attempted to give a new lease of life to some of these familiar and well-loved buildings which form part of Wales’ cultural heritage. 40




Alison Taylor began her career as a knitwear designer back in the 1980’s when she ran her own business and manufactured in Wales and Scotland. Selling all over the world, she cultivated many famous clients and even designed for television. America was her largest market where customers included Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman. In the UK she sold to Browns and Liberty London and in Japan Takashimaya was a regular stockist. She designed for Bill Gibb, Tommy Nutter, Ralph Lauren and Burberry and continued to pass on her expertise as a lecturer in Fashion and Textiles. Co-author of ‘1,000 DressesThe Fashion Design Resource’ published by Thames and Hudson she continues to develop expertise in fashion and textiles and more specifically digitally embroidered textiles. Alison has most recently returned to her roots and has started to revive her love of wool and knitted textiles. Wool Works The prospect of working with wool has led me back to my textile design roots. Having spent a number of years developing my ideas through embroidery it is time to bring the knitting needles out of retirement. Combining embroidery with knitting became a focus for my work back in the 1970’s so returning my attention to researching and experimenting with a contemporary application of traditional techniques has formed the hub of a new body of work. I have investigated traditional Nordic and Celtic patterns and images in order to develop a symbiotic marriage between our culture and traditions. 42

My work was included in the 1987 book ‘The Textiles of Wales’ by Ann Sutton artist, designer and author and is a history, resource and guide to the traditions and directions of the Textile industry in Wales. During that period I was asked to design a knitwear collection that complemented Ann Sutton’s fabrics developed and woven in a Welsh mill. Through researching Welsh blankets and making various trips to The National Wool Museum in Drefach Velindre I have revisited a knitted response to traditional woven fabrics.




For many years Elspeth’s passion has been fashion & textiles and in July 2001 she graduated with a BA(Hons) in Contemporary Textile Practice from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff. Since graduation she has used her extensive skills to earn a living, primarily as a designer/maker and tutor running various craft workshops. Elspeth loves to create surface texture, whether through heat manipulation or stitch manipulation and hand or machine embroidery. Her work continues to be influenced by natural landscapes, fauna and man-made landscapes such as modern architecture. She has exhibited extensively in the United Kingdom and internationally as part of a touring exhibition in Canada Wool Works The English definition of the Welsh word ‘cwtch’ is ‘cuddle’ or ‘hug’ but it means so much more than that. In Wales a cwtch can mean a hiding place; for example, the small, enclosed area underneath a staircase is known as a cwtch. The word functions as either adjective or noun - if you are hiding an object you are ‘cwtching’ it; if you cwtch someone or give them a cwtch you are effectively giving them a ‘safe place’. No translation shares quite the same affectionate sentiment as this word so beloved of the Welsh and my piece is designed with this in mind. By recycling my grandmother’s wool blanket, I have created a wide shawl to wrap around and envelop the wearer, providing both warmth and comfort. Using digital and hand embroidery I have embellished it with traditional Welsh quilt designs/patterns combined with Finnish motifs which were traditionally used on interior accessories and sleigh blankets as observed at the Craft Museum of Finland in Jyväskylä. During my recent visit to Finland I also noticed similarities between Welsh and Finnish textiles, most notably the use of the colours red, black and white or cream; I have chosen this limited palette to interpret my design. 44


Exhibition venues

28.9. - 10.11.2019

The Makers Guild in Wales Craft in the Bay The Flourish Lloyd George Avenue Cardiff CF10 4QH Wales

18.1. - 28.2.2020

CraftCorner Helsinki Eteläesplanadi 4 00130 Helsinki

15.3. - 5.4.2020

Finlayson area Vooninkisali Väinö Linnan aukio 13 33210 Tampere



WOOL WORKS 2019 – 2020 Claire Cawte Henni Eliala Pauline Hearn Johanna Hernesniemi Niina Hiltunen Mirka Laine Saija Lehtonen Jane McCann Alison Moger Sirpa Mörsky Mandy Nash Merianne Nebo Kukka Rantanen Laura Saarivuori-Eskola Lynda Shell Sue Shields Susan Smith Alison Taylor 48

Elspeth Thomas