Friday, January 11, 2008
All things are turning towards wool at the moment and I am applying for lots of funding for the new project I am developing along with the Blackdown Hills Natural Fibre Group, namely feltmaking.....not the feltmaking where you card some wool and felt layers of carded wool by hand.....but acres of it! This is going to require some major work as we need to install a scouring machine to wash the wool and a drying machine to dry it. A machine to card it into huge sheets ready for processing either by wet felting where another machine presses and agitates it with the use of heat and water. Needle felting where the wool sheets are literally joined into each other dry with the aid of barbed needles and pressure felting which is self explanatory.....its squashed under great pressure!
We need lots of space to store wool, we have to work out how to dispose of our washing water in an environmentally friendly way and we have to do a lot of publicity.
And what will we be felting?.....well, sheeps wool mainly which is presently at the lowest price ever and is worthless.....except to those like us who know it is one of the most environmentally sound natural fibres on the planet. Also all sorts of other fibres such as alpaca for the fashion industry.
And what will we all be producing?.......well, at the start wet felt suitable for everything from jackets and bags to hanging basket liners! In the long term sheeps wool insulation similar to that produced by Second Nature, and sheets of felt for matresses, quilts, upholstery etc.
Are we mad? probably! Am I scared.....yes! Am I determined to see this succeed.....you bet! The project will be based locally in an eco business unit....one of the countries first environmentally sustainable, revamped, reused units complete with woodchip boiler burning locally sourced and produced wood chips and compost toilets! there may also be, in the future, a posibility of renewable energy being supplied!
Please get in touch if you want to get involved in this project. We also need investors and those who want to trial products for us. And if anyone can help put finishing touches to plans and projections I will possibly be applying to the Dragons Den.
The pictures are of 2 bags that I made recently out of wensleydale and shetland wool, hand dyed and hand made on the pegloom. Both now gone to good homes!