Jenny Wilkinson (venue 58)

Hudley Mill, Charles Nr. Brayford EX32 7PY
01598 710300
poor access
parking at venue
children welcome if accompanied by adult

Shetland sheep graze permanent pasture and provide raw material for textiles. Riverside, woodland, small meadows, hedgebanks, waterwheel and millpond are some of the features.

We can start with the waterwheel and millpond, walk up through steep woodland, through small fields of permanent pasture where the aim is to lower fertility and increase species diversity, see hedge banks managed by a cycle of laying in winter, and return through Steep Meadow and the stream side.

On the way we can identify trees, look for wild flowers, discuss habitats, seek evidence of deer and badger, spot birds including buzzards, find anthills, observe bees, and if time explore the wetland in the valley floor. Regular visitors include, trout, heron, wild duck, red and roe deer and feral cat. We have seen newt, stoat, badger, signs of otter, and moorhen nesting on the pond. We can walk through the multi-coloured Shetland sheep, and just view the cattle who do me a service by eating the long grass.

You will know about slow artisan food. This is slow textiles. I have several commissions to complete, two indigo rugs and one in autumnal colour. This involves days of dyeing with natural indigo, a process where the temperature must be carefully controlled on the range, the damp yarn is dipped and then aired on the line numbers of times until a satisfying hue is achieved.

A kilo of yarn takes a day to produce, and then needs to be washed by hand and dried. Some of the reds and terracottas use different processes but also need to have the temperature held steady over time. Just one example of what goes into a finished rug. Then I am free to follow my inclination, to make what prior consideration or whimsy prompts, to catch the spirit of the moment or search my inner world. Meantime there is last year’s wool to sort, spinning to commission, sheep to clip, yarn to wash and dye, and weaving to plan and undertake. 

SPECIAL EVENT - Saturdays 21st and 28th September. Full details HERE