Monday, 5 May 2008

Wonderwool 1 (Before The Show)

This post is really about two people called Anne and Tony, a camper van called Aria and a fairly new business venture called Artisan Yarns.

Now just in case this sounds entirely random, I should explain that Anne and Tony make up one half of my four parents. Here they are - Anne (Yarnartisanne), Tony and Aria:

Without a doubt, my mother is my family’s true textile artist. I do not fib - when she is not textile printing, quilting, embroidering, sewing, knitting, dyeing or possibly, spinning - you will find my mother at her textile gallery, The Small Gallery, in Hereford.

My memories of growing up in my mother’s house are rich with the inherent disorder of works in progress, art supplies, fabrics, threads, wool (as we called it then) everywhere (needing to be heaped out of the day so we could eat at the dining table) and the smell of natural plant dyes heating on the stove.

Opps, I digress as usual. Last Autumn, I showed Anne around the hand dyed yarn stands at Alexandra Palace (she was really there to see the exhibition work). It seems that this trip helped to crystallise some ideas and Anne started to introduce some artisan yarns at her Gallery, just before Christmas. Since then, the yarn collection has been expanding and Anne has started to dye yarns again as well. In fact, here are some of her hand dyes in a box (alongside a pink Knitwitches silk yarn scarf), ready to go off to Wonderwool:
Except not many people know about what my mother is doing yet, as a Gallery website and blog are still pending... enter Wonderwool as an opportunity to start raising awareness about Artisan Yarns at The Small Gallery!

As an aside, just in case you think that Tony is the long suffering partner of an overtly creative person (he is, but still), I need to tell you that Tony holds his own on the creative front -he is currently the oldest Art Foundation student at Hereford Art College.

The third character in the photo above is Aria - a brand new camper van, manufactured in Brazil to the original VW specification - very cool on the outside, very plush on the inside and apparently, no power steering so a bit tricky to drive!

Now it turns out that taking to the open road in a camper van is something that Anne and Tony have always wanted to do, so they hired Aria for the Wonderwool weekend. Just on the basis that their accommodation for the weekend would double as a decent yarn transporter.

They were right too.

This is Tony’s study before the yarn was loaded into Aria:

This is Aria after the yarn was loaded for the drive to Builth Wells:

You will note that my parents were careful to provision sensibly for the weekend:

Aria loaded, Anne and Tony set off for Wonderwool. The Fella and I caught up with them at 7pm, when we helped them to set up the stand. By the time that 10pm had swung around, we were barely able to speak we were all so tired and the stand still had a few things left for us to sort out.

Now I haven’t been to a Knitting Event as an exhibitor before so I was very curious to see how things really looked before it opened its doors to the public.

You know, it really was a bit like, 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse':
So we crept out quietly to collapse - my parents at their camp site, the Fella and I at our B&B (a pub). However, we were all back by 8:30am on Saturday to finish off the stand and prepare for the 10am opening - fanfare please... this, for those of you who were not able to make it to Wonderwool this year, is Artisan Yarns, set up and sorted for the start of the show!

The rest of my Wonderwool Before the Show photographs have been uploaded to Flickr and I will post about the rest of last weekend in the next day or two!


Wye Sue said...

And now I know why Anne told me to look at your blog !!
And I recognise the man from the photos - he was in the gallery as well this morning ;-)

Robynn said...

Isn't it weird being on The Other Side at an expo? Your mom's yarn looks amazing. Truly. Also, I *so* love the idea of a brand-new original Volksie bus.

Yours disconnectedly
Random Robynn

PS. I have had some wine with my lunch. You would not believe how long it took me to type the word verification code correctly.

Kelli said...

Ooooo, fun. Wish I could have seen it in person. Your pictures are lovely though.

Brian said...

I have to say that even as a non-knitter, I found Wonderwool to be great fun! G's photographs convey the huge effort required to set up a trade booth at a 2 day expo in another city. We didn't have to wrangle live alpacas (at least this year) as some of the other exhibitors were required to do. I think for me, the best part of Wonderwool was being able to interact with the 'Yarn Community' face to face. Very friendly, interesting people, all sharing the same passion.

Mel said...

Love the VW camper. Friends were selling one like this recently and Carl wouldn't buy it for me!