Cambrian Wool Challenge - Woolly Thinking

The National Wool Museum at Drefach Felindre and the whir of its spinning frame  is practically within hearing distance of where I live and so it has become a favourite place to spend time drawing the machinery, patterns and artifacts associated with the weaving industry. Childhood experiences of trips to the Ffestiniog railway and driving my fathers miniature steam trains have encouraged a fascination with large oily machines and industrial archaeology in general.
Combine these two facts with an obsession with making books, both for use as a sketch books or 'artists' books' filled with prints, sketches and ephemera based around a common subject, and the idea for my book began to evolve.

I began by gathering together material from sketch books  and taking photographs of anything related to  wool and weaving. Having built up a bank of images, textures and patterns they were digitally enhanced to create  positive, black and white  stencils which were used with light sensitive emulsion to transfer the image onto a silk screen ready for hand printing.

The prints were made on heavyweight watercolour paper, hand torn to create attractive edges. Printing intuitively,  pairs of pages received multiple layers of images using translucent water based printing ink, before drawings and moving elements were added.
The  woollen fabric covers for the book were similarly printed before they were stretched around rigid grey-board supports  and finished with a blanket stitch border. Coloured tapes inserted between the cover boards and across the  spine  support  the pages. Decorative stitching secures the pages to the tapes and adds visual interest to the outside of the completed book.

The whole book can be viewed here

Film: Glenn Ibbitson

More information about the challenge, the other artists involved and their finished pieces can be found at

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