Wow, it’s been a year since I last wrote here and it’s flown by. It’s been very busy with the final year of my degree but the Grad Show is now up and open to the public for a week and I’ve finally got time to re-focus on other things I’m passionate about.
I left off having interviewed Rachel Atkinson, creator of Daughter of a Shepherd, a rather fabulous truly British yarn. It turns out that Rachel’s yarn and story inspired me massively, with mostly British wool featuring in all three modules of final year. Trends was the first module, and featured a lot of British wool fibres which I handspun and used to stitch or needle felted and appliqued onto Harris Tweed. It was an absolute joy to use Harris Tweed, and I really can’t wait to carry on working with it further.
After this came dissertation. I very nearly changed my mind at the last minute and considered writing about Lucienne Day and designers of the era, but as I sat in the tutorial I decided to stick with what I know….my dissertation title was:
“Are British Sheep Farmers Moving Away From the British Wool Marketing Board in Favour of Creating Ethical, Traceable Yarns?”
It was a fantastic opportunity, during which I got to speak to small farms, mills, and the Wool Board in search for an answer to my question. I’m not going to spoil it by revealing the answer now, as I’d love to share parts of my dissertation with you in a series of essays. The hard work I put into this paid off, and I achieved a first which I was unbelievably proud of.
Final Major Project initially started out as wet and needle felted landscapes using British Wools. However as time went on, it wasn’t working and I wasn’t getting the aesthetic I was hoping to achieve. I kept coming back to the work in the first module with Harris Tweed, and the technique I’d used.
Over time it evolved, and I create a capsule collection of landscapes using Wool fabrics and yarns, as well as some embellishment with British wool fibres. I know I’m not going to get the best grade for it, as I know there could have been a lot more refinement. But this does mean that I know where I want to take it, and I do actually want to continue working on this collection of pieces. Once I start working in the real world, I know I will have the budget to invest in using Harris Tweed again and sourcing truly British yarns, and I’m really excited about that.
So what next?
Well, I’ve been elected into a year long position of Vice President of the Student Union. I’ll be working mostly on Welfare issues, which is something I’ve been doing this year as the elected Mature Student Officer. It’s been a real curveball that I didn’t expect but has given me so many opportunities and I’m really looking forward to the opportunities that come my way over the next year. It means I get a more gradual exit from University, which is definitely more suited to me. I’ve been there so long, that I think I’m a little institutionalised!
I’m already knitting again, and if you follow me on Instagram or twitter, you’ll see the progress I’ve been making on my Rheinlust shawl. It’s been lovely to knit again, although I do feel a little bad that I’m not using a British yarn for it; I’m using lovely Madelinetosh which was given to me during the #getyouryarnwishesgranted season back in November.
I’ve really become an advocate for British Wool, so I’ve got a few posts lined up to go alongside my British Wool essays. I’m really glad to be back, and I’m joining the RBSA for a Blogging workshop this coming Tuesday to really get back into writing. I’ve even cracked out the ‘proper’ camera to up my photography game. I can’t wait!
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