Meet the trader – Oakhill Wensleydales

Today we meet Shelia, from Oakhill Wensleydales.

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Hello, please could you tell us about your business?

I  have been breeding pedigree white Wensleydale sheep for 25 years under the flock name of Oakhill Wensleydales.  My original aim was to help conserve and promote a rare breed and to this end I have sold quality  breeding stock to all parts of the UK and Northern Ireland. I have also shown the sheep and fleeces winning championships at many National shows, making full use of their wonderful fleeces has been a natural progression to promoting the breed.

What can we look forward to seeing at your stand at ESGWSD 2015?

At the Lewes exhibition I shall be offering for sale, fleece, locks, tops and yarn all of which are from my own flock and some of which has been dyed from plants grown here on the farm.

What are you looking forward to most about the event and/or visiting Lewes?

Having traded at the exhibition for a number of years I am looking forward to meeting many loyal customers and hopefully some new ones!

See you soon, Shelia!

Meet the Trader – MOMO

Today we meet Mo, from MOMO.

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Hello, please could you tell us about your business?

Hi, I’m Mo Jackson (business name MOMO) I was a graphic designer for 25 years but textiles were always my first love. I’m happy to say I’ve now left my computer behind and for the last seven years I’ve been a creative feltmaker and tutor.

What can we look forward to seeing at your stand at ESGWSD 2015?

I use both wet and dry felting processes such as needle felting and nuno felting to create wearable art. I use mainly hand dyed merino wool and silk. This year I will be including eco printed scarves using plants and rust which I’m really looking forward to experimenting with.

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What are you looking forward to most about the event and/or visiting Lewes?

I love this show, there is always such a buzz of creative excitement. There’s so much to see and buy, it’s get hard to stay on my own stand as I just want to keep looking at everyone elses!

Meet the Trader – Plant Dyed Wool

Today we meet Jane, from Plant Dyed Wool (http://plantdyedwool.co.uk/).

Hello, please could you tell us about your business?

I run workshops teaching wool processing, plant dyeing, peg loom
weaving, spinning, Brinkley loom weaving and felting.  I also sell the
wonderful and so simple to use Brinkley loom.  It takes 5 minutes to warp
up!  All my items for sale are dyed with plants from my garden.  And colour
is my passion.

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What can we look forward to seeing at your stand at ESGWSD 2015?

I will have an array of colourful woven shawls, scarves and throws on my
stall.  I will also be demonstrating my Brinkley looms and will have plenty
for sale.

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What are you looking forward to most about the event and/or visiting Lewes?

I have never been to Lewes so have no idea what is in store, but love
being near the sea.

See you in a few weeks, Jane!

Meet the Trader – South Downs Yarn

Today we meet Louise, from South Downs Yarn (http://www.southdownsyarn.co.uk/)

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Hello, please could you tell us about your business?

Hello, I am Louise Spong, founder of South Downs Yarn. We work with local shepherds to source Southdown wool from the South Downs. All our yarn is geo-traceable, meaning it can be tracked back to the flock it came from. It is woollen spun in England and naturally dyed in West Sussex using plant-based dyes. Our mission is to champion the breed, the Southdown, the place, the South Downs, and the people associated with both.

What can we look forward to seeing at your stand at ESGWSD 2015?

As well as showcasing our 100% Southdown wool from the South Downs in a range of colours reflecting the Sussex landscape from Downs to coast, we will be launching an exclusive limited edition knitting kit at the event in honour of Lewes. We will also have some vintage Southdown Flock Books and other associated Southdown information for people to look at, including a traditional Pyecombe hook – which I made myself!

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What are you looking forward to most about the event and/or visiting Lewes?

Lewes is a special place for me for a number of reasons, not least because of its historic association with wool, its former sheep fair, and the town’s proximity to Glynde where John Ellman started improving the Southdown breed in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. For me, the ESG event is part of a continuum from our local shepherding heritage to the modern day activities of those involved in all the different aspects of British wool production.

See you soon, Louise!

Meet our members – Chris

Hello, I’m Chris.

I have been a member of ESGWSD for the past five years. I took up spinning as a hobby after having lessons with Daphne (another guild member). I borrowed a spinning wheel from my next door neighbour of  27 years, Ruth. Ruth, who sadly passed away this year ten days before her 100 birthday, had been spinning for the past 40 years. Whenever I popped round to see her she was either in the garden or spinning on her Ashford spinning wheel that she had brought back from one of her many trips to New Zealand. I soon decided spinning was for me, and then I heard about dyeing – wow! What wonderful experiments you can have with an old saucepan, some dyes and washed fleece; this was truly satisfying. I soon had various hats and scarves in wonderful colours all spun and dyed by me!

Merino rolag hand-dyed using goldenrod

Merino rolag hand-dyed using goldenrod

Two years ago, I decided it was time for me to have a go at weaving and I joined Val’s weaving class at Clayton. Val lent me a loom and off I went (or should that be wove!). Now, weaving is a lot more complicated than spinning and dyeing; there are ‘Rigid Heddles’, four shafts, eight shafts etc, warps, wefts, raddles etc., etc. So for me, weaving has been a real challenge, with assorted pieces of poorly woven, if interesting, pieces of fabric! But finally, I am getting ther – I have made a few scarves and cushions. A hand bag (fingers crossed) will be my latest creation, which I hope to exhibit in our Exhibition.

My new loom

My new loom

Being part of East Sussex Guild has been a real inspiration to me; not only have I learnt to spin, dye and weave, but I have met some wonderful truly talented people. This year I organised our stand at the South of England Agricultural Show, with a lot of help from Sheila and Val, and we won ‘Third Prize’ in our section – amazing!!

A table runner woven using Japanese Washi (paper), which you can wash at 30 degrees centigrade!

A table runner woven using Japanese Washi (paper), which you can wash at 30 degrees centigrade!

So come on, visit our Exhibition, join our Guild and make lots of wonderful friends and learn some exciting skills.

Meet the Trader – Owena’s Farm Produce

In the next installment in our series with the traders who are supporting our October exhibition, we meet  Owena Lewis from Owena’s Farm Produce (www.owenasfarmproduce.co.uk)

Hello, please could you tell us about your business?

Baulcombes Barn produces wool from my Shetland and Jacob flock on a small care farm at Hamsey, near Lewes, East Sussex.

What can we look forward to seeing at your stand at ESGWSD 2015?

I shall be selling locally produced wool supplies;  I shall have brown and black fleeces from my shearling Shetland sheep; natural coloured knitting yarn, sliver and roving for spinning, felting, knitting and weaving; peg looms.  Plus some lovely tanned sheepskins.

What are you looking forward to most about the event and/or visiting Lewes?

I am looking forward to being at the fair surrounded by lots of wool and wool products!

See you in October, Owena!

Meet the Trader – Textile Garden

Today,  we meet Marguerite from Textile Garden, who will be among our traders at our exhibition in October.

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Hello, please could you tell us about your business?

Hello, I’m Marguerite and I’ve been running www.TextileGarden.com for 8 years.  I attend events around the country where hopefully I may have met a few of you.  My aim is to offer beautiful buttons, etc., many that aren’t available elsewhere in UK.  My new website will be up and running late summer.   I visit most of the factories that make buttons for me.

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What can we look forward to seeing at your stand at ESGWSD 2015?

Since the last ESGWSD I’ve got a lot of new buttons etc.  The majority of my stock is from European producers who make designs for me in colours I select, so not seen elsewhere in UK.

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What are you looking forward to most about the event and/or visiting Lewes?

I always look forward to the Lewes event as the organisers manage to create an atmosphere that is friendly and welcoming for both exhibitors and visitors.  Lewes is an interesting town with lots of independent shops and good transport links.  The other big plus is that unlike other events, I can go home in the evening as I live nearby in Steyning.

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See you in October, Marguerite!