Our Design Inspiration
From the ancient woollen industry of Wales to the even more ancient mining history of the Cambrian Mountains, inspiration is all around us in this wildly beautiful part of the British Isles – one of the last bastions of the original Britons, whose language still exists in Welsh.
The Medieval monk, Gerald of Wales, may have been slightly less than flattering when he described the Welsh as a people ‘expert in woollen manufacturing, but with no attention to industry or commerce’…. but the weaving is still going on today, although the days of wool processing in nearly every parish have long gone. Using old weave drafts, and the iconic motifs of Welsh tapestry blankets that gained popularity with the rising tourist markets of the 1950’s and 60’s, we can draw on a myriad of intriguing patterns, large and small, for stranded and mosaic knits.
The rugged landscape of this region is not just about sheep though – from the Bronze Age through to the early 20th century, minerals were mined here: silver lead, zinc, iron and even gold. And there are links too with Cornwall and even Italy, as miners with particular skills were brought in to make the most of these valuable commodities. The stoney wastes and ruined buildings provide inspiration for local artists like Barbara Matthews, who in turn inspired us when thinking about yarn colours and knit textures – moss stitch and pebbley knots, dots and spots, with a bit of slip and tuck for good measure. Connections with Italy give us coloured glass and mosaics to add to an eclectic and cosmopolitan mix.
The old hill and wayside cottages and remote farms – tribute to a sparse life drawn from the unforgiving landscape, provide inspiration too. The traditional red oxide paint of doors and window frames, the old corrugated tin used to replace leaking thatch and crumbling slates, the single roomed interiors made homely with huge hooded hearths and crogloffts for additional space. The hiraeth of belonging and longing, a yearning for what was, and the little comforts that brighten our lives.
So sit and knit (or crochet) a while, just for pleasure now, and dream a little of our wild hills.