Wool House at Somerset House

HRH Prince Charles’ Campaign for Wool launched the biggest ever celebration of wool this March with its Wool House taking over the entire West Wing of Somerset House. A flock of woolly guests drew attention to the exhibition that presented wool as the ultimate versatile, sustainable fibre for fashion, interiors and a variety of artisan and craft products.

Sheep style: sheep spotted in the courtyard at Somerset House

Sheep style: sheep spotted in the courtyard at Somerset House // Sweater No.3 and Scarf No.6 from Julia Ramsey’s PELT collection: described as a second skin, these are hand-knitted from raw, unspun organic superfine merino wool

Use of wool in industry first properly caught my attention after a trip to the Lake District, starting me off on my ethical, sustainable mission. After an exploring mission that took us literally up hill and down dale I wondered how it was possible that we make such little use of something that used to be a key part of the UK’s history and economy. It astounds me how we moved so easily away from something that has worked for us for so long and let the wool industry slip into such a decline that farmers actually lose money when they shear their sheep. With this in mind, it’s exciting to see The Campaign for Wool reintroduce wool and all its benefits for creating diverse and innovative fashion and interior products.

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Sculptural wings and Shauna Richardson’s crochetdermy bear greeted guests as they entered the exhibition

Interior designers created a series of radically different rooms showcasing the versatility of wool. We saw everything from sculpture to sound-proofing, vibrant wall coverings, mattress fillings, intricately-patterned carpets to crochet ‘taxidermy’ and much more. Thanks to its natural structure wool is even useful in containing moisture and dust particles while trapping and absorbing contaminants from the air, making it great for home use.

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The bedroom by Kit Kemp// The natural room by Josephine Ryan

For an industry that rarely considers the end of life of a product, Wool was also showcased as the pinnacle in sustainable fashion fibres. It’s grown rather than made and will biodegrade at the end of its life as opposed to synthetics, which hang around for decades after they have reached the end of their commercial life. Pieces were exhibited by some of the biggest names in fashion: Vivienne Westwood, Mark Fast, Christopher Raeburn and Giles Deacon.

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Hummingbird wallhanging by Alexander McQueen // Structure and surface texture by Anne Kyyro

Wool House confirmed that constant improvement in wool processing throughout history has provided us with one of the most versatile wearable natural fabrics. Not only sustainable, but also full of creative possibilities.

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Composition yellow tapestry by Claudy Jongstra// Bio resin and felted wool composite chair with mixed fleece from Devon and Somerset

http://www.campaignforwool.org
http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/wool-house
http://www.woolmarkprize.com

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