slow wool

spinning wheelWool and the way we interact with it are subjects very close to my heart. I love experiencing wool with all of my senses, both in it’s natural form (on the sheep) and lovingly crafted by human hands. Working with wool brings me joy, it calms and uplifts me. I am also passionate about discovering more about this wondrous natural fibre and the inspiring stories of the folks who grow & work with it. Every new discovery brings me a great sense of awe and wonder, and helps me move further along in my own wool work. If our individual interactions with wool can each be described as a “journey“, then the pace of mine has been intentionally set to slow.

Slow wool expresses first and foremost a personal love affair with a natural material which has been quietly unfolding since I moved permanently to France in 2012.

But why wool, you might ask? Wool is a natural resource. It is 100% sustainable, biodegradable and renewable. It can be utilized in an infinite number of uses. To insulate our homes. To stuff the mattresses on our beds. To weave the carpets beneath our feet or the cloth on our backs. It’s fibres can be rubbed together to produce felt, for making blankets or hats or mittens. Or twisted together to produce yarn, which in turn can be transformed with knitting needles, crochet hook or loom. In almost all cultures on the world, wool has been the golden thread running through our shared histories.

Wool in all it’s many beautiful forms can be processed in a way which is respectful to the land on which it is grown. To the sheep from whose backs it is shorn. And to the human hands which skilfully work with it to transform it from raw material into finished item. Or not.

Slow wool is therefore partly my own quiet resistance to mass production. To fast fashion. To disrespectful treatment of the land, of animals and of fellow human beings. It is a conscious decision to embrace the art of authentic craft and pure raw materials, to seek the stories behind the fibres that run through my fingers. To create not only with my hands, but also my head and my heart. It was born of my dismay at many of the current realities of the wool industry both locally and world wide. It also grew from a desire to make a deeper connection to the landscape and sheep rearing traditions of the Pyrenean valley where I have chosen to make my home.

And on a more personal note,  slow wool also serves as a reminder to myself to be more mindful in my making. To refuse to be rushed. To pace myself. To not put too much pressure on myself to produce.

Acceptance of slow is essential to create beautiful things. But also for me to live well and sustainably within the confines of my chronic health condition, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Refusing to be rushed, slow wool is therefore also a conscious reminder to myself to take things one step at a time

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