Amgueddfa Blog: National Wool Museum

National Wool Museum’s Exhibition of Hope… Exhibition Launch Date! 

We are very pleased to announce the Exhibition of Hope will open to the public at the National Wool Museum on the 2nd of October 2021 and will be on display until mid-January 2022. The opening will form part of the Museum Wales digital Celebration of Wool Event taking place between the 2nd and 3rd of October. Click here for more details about the event. Celebration of Wool | National Museum Wales 

The Exhibition will also be displayed at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea between July 2022 and October 2022. 

Thank you to all those who contributed to the creation of rainbow coloured squares. Contributions for the Exhibition of Hope closed at the end of March 2021. Since the initial call out for squares in April 2020 at the beginning of the nation’s Covid-19 lockdown, we have received nearly 2000 squares! Participants used any materials which were readily available to them at the time such as wool or acrylics to create their squares. From knitted squares to crocheted squares, the response has been fantastic!  

Crisis charity (South Wales), which supports homeless people, shared the Exhibition of Hope information on their Facebook pages and created physical packs including wool and instructions to send to services users to support them to take part. The Exhibition of Hope was featured in Adult Learners’ Week 2020 and two videos were released of National Wool Museum Craftsperson Non Mitchell giving a demonstration on how to create a felted and woven square. A collage of photographs documenting the Exhibition was submitted as part of the Connect to Kindness Art Project, a project which is run in partnership with the Connect to Kindness Campaign and Carmarthenshire Association of Voluntary Services, which aims to capture community kindness and support during the pandemic.  

Nothing about this past year has been predictable and we have all had to adapt to huge changes. While we had originally planned to create one giant rainbow blanket from the squares, we have, on reflection, decided to create a number of smaller blankets instead. This is because we have received such an amazing number of squares and due to Covid-19 restrictions volunteers were unable to meet at the Wool Museum. National Wool Museum Volunteers and Museum Wales staff have therefore been joining the squares from home, creating wonderful unique blankets.   Following the Exhibition, we still plan on donating the blankets to charities to be used as they wish, whether that be for example, as blankets or as pieces of artwork. More blankets mean more flexibility for display, and we are working on some exciting display plans! 

Whilst our wonderful volunteers and staff have been busy creating the blankets, we have also been working on another aspect of the project. Over the past year we have received so many varied and beautiful squares from people up and down the country and it has been lovely to hear from many who have found that creating the squares has helped during the unprecedented and challenging times. We have therefore decided to capture some contributors’ experiences of taking part in the project. ‘Stories behind the Squares’ will be a brief interpretation video within the Exhibition and available online, documenting the thoughts and feelings of those taking part in the Exhibition. 

We are thankful to Ysgol Penboyr, the local school in the village of Dre-fach Felindre, where the National Wool Museum is located who have created a beautiful rainbow handprint artwork which will be displayed in the Exhibition too. 

Rainbows are often used as a symbol of peace and hope and as we know, they often appear when the sun shines following heavy rainfall. They serve to remind us that following dark times, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. The Exhibition aims to reflect spirit, hope and community during these challenging times. It is designed to be an immersive experience, a symbolic hug of kindness of the love that has been placed into every stitch and is created as a tangible embodiment of hope. 

As part of the Exhibition, there will be an online page on the Museum Wales website. The page will include, amongst other things, the Exhibition of Hope ‘Stories of the Squares’ video as well as a brief walk ‘round of the exhibition itself. 

We look forward to welcoming you to the Exhibition very soon. In the meantime, here is a brief video about the Exhibition of Hope, documenting some of the photographs that have been taken since the Exhibition was launched. 

Keep an eye out on our social media pages to find out the latest information. 

Thank you to The Ashley Family Foundation and Community Foundation Wales for their support with this project. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many industrial processes are inspired by nature, and can be seen as a mechanised extension of a traditional hand process using tools from the natural world. The Teasel Gig is one such invention. Here's a little about this extraordinary machine which is a mixture of the natural and man made.

Teasels were traditionally used to ‘comb’ the surface of damp woollen cloth by hand to

Teasel Gig

make it soft and fluffy. This process is called ‘raising the nap’.

The Teasel Gig machine was invented to make this process faster and more efficient. The teasel gig contains 3000 prickly teasels in an iron frame and is powered by electricity. The cloth is passed over the teasels, giving it a more even, fluffy finish.

The Teasel Gig is a curious mix of the natural and man-made. It combined the hand processes of the past with precision engineering – the future of the textile industry

Teasel Gig with Teasels at The National Wool Museum, Drefach Felindre

A ‘Teasel Man’ travelled from mill to mill renewing the teasels in the gigs. It was a very skilled job as the teasel heads had to be carefully arranged to ensure the cloth was finished evenly. Most of the teasels came from specialist gardens in Somerset

These are unprecedented and challenging times for everyone, and we hope you’re keeping safe and well. Creativity and a sense of community can support us through this difficult time. The Museum therefore has launched the Exhibition of Hope which aims to be a tangible form of Hope for everyone.

People, including Museum Wales staff and volunteers, from across Wales have been taking part in creating squares which will form part of giant rainbow knitted blanket and will be stitched together by our wonderful National Wool Museum volunteers. In addition, we’re also collecting photographs of people’s radiant rainbow creations which have been adorning windows up and down the country. These will then be made into one piece of artwork and displayed alongside the giant rainbow blanket.

Rainbows are often used as a symbol of peace and hope and as we know, they often appear when the sun shines following heavy rainfall. They serve to remind us that following dark times, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Following the Exhibition smaller blankets will be created from the giant blanket and donated to charities.

Everyone can take part in this Exhibition. We’re inviting people to create an 8” or 20cm square in any way they would like, whether that be knitted, woven, felted or crocheted, in any pattern and any rainbow colour. As well as this, participants are invited to send in photographs of their wonderful rainbows. For more information on how to take part please visit our Exhibition of Hope article.

The National Wool Museum has many craft volunteers and gardening volunteers who maintain the Museum’s Natural Dye Garden. They have been busy contributing to the Exhibition. Garden Volunteer, Susan Martin created natural dyed yarn which she spun herself. The rainbow colours are from woad, weld and madder which Susan blended together with white to give a lighter and tweedy effect and all these plants can be found in the National Wool Museum’s Dye Garden.

Ball of wool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some wonderful creations by Cristina, a craft volunteer at the Museum:

 

Row of knitted squares
Multicoloured knitted squares


 

 

 

 

 

 

and by craft volunteer Amanda:

A row of multicoloured knitted squares

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to everyone who is taking part. For the latest information on the National Wool Museum’s Exhibition of Hope and photographs find us on Facebook or Twitter @amgueddfawlan.

Augusta Hall, Lady Llanover (21 March 1802 – 17 January 1896) was a strong advocate and supporter of the Welsh Woollen Industry and Welsh traditions. At the National Eisteddfod in 1834 she submitted an essay titled `The Advantages Resulting from the Preservation of the Welsh Language and the National Costume winning first prize. She took the bardic name "Gwenynen Gwent" 'the bee of Gwent'.

Gwenffrwd Woollen Mill

In 1865 she commissioned the building of Gwenffrwd Woollen Mill on the Llanover estate near Abergavenny. The mill carried out all operations for woollen production and produced heavy flannel cloth that was made into clothes for the house and estate workers to wear.

Harpist's Costume from the Llanover Estate

Material from the mill was also made into clothes for lady Llanover and her friends styled on her own ideas of Welsh traditional Costume. The mill continued in production until the 1950s using equipment installed by Lady Llanover.

Worker at Gwenffrwd Woollen Mill

VE Day Celebrations in London, 8 May 1945

8th May 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Victory in Europe Day in 1945 celebrated the end of World War Two when fighting against Nazi Germany came to an end in Europe. Celebrations erupted throughout the western world, especially in the UK and North America, with more than one million people taking to the streets, village greens and town centres to celebrate across Britain.

The National Wool Museum had a VE Tea Party planned to mark this day, but as we’re all staying safe at home, our team would like to share some of their delicious VE Tea recipes with you in the hope that you can create your own celebration to mark this important occasion.

 

LEMON SPONGE

Lemmon Cake

8oz. margarine

8oz. castor sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten

9oz. self - raising flour

1 dessert spoon lemon juice

 

TOPPING

2 Tablespoons caster sugar

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

 

​Preheat oven at 180°C  350° F  Gas mark 4

Grease and line 11" x 7" tin.  Cream butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then beat in the eggs.  Add a tablespoon of flour with the last amount of egg to prevent curdling.  Add the lemon juice.  Fold in the rest of the flour with a metal spoon.

Place in tin and bake for about 45 mins​.

Meanwhile make topping by mixing lemon juice and castor sugar.

Remove from oven, prick all over with a skewer and spoon topping over the hot cake.  Leave to cool in tin until topping is absorbed.

 

SCONES

Scones

1 lb. self- raising flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 oz. butter

2 oz. castor sugar

½ pint milk

beaten egg to glaze

For the filling:

strawberry or raspberry jam

quarter pint double cream, whipped

 

Preheat oven 230° C  450° F  Gas mark 8

Sift flour and salt into a bowl.  Rub in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add castor sugar and mix to a soft dough with the milk.

Turn onto a lightly floured table, knead quickly, then roll out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut into 20 rounds with a 2½  inch cutter. Place scones on greased baking trays and brush tops with beaten egg or milk. Bake in oven for 8 - 10 minutes.  Cool on a wire tray.

When cold, split and serve with jam and whipped cream.