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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Project aims to knit the wool back into Llan

* Gill Britten, right, and Cath Jones 
at the Gwlangollen spinning wheel.

A new project aims to put the wool back into Llangollen.

Gwlangollen sets out to bring together wool producers and users.

Through the use of traditional craft skills, suitable fleece are processed to produce unique, handmade, soft furnishings and gifts to be sold locally.

The project has achieved this by bringing together fleece producers who are interested in developing the necessary skills to process some of their own fleece, competent crafters who can pass on their skills to others, and volunteers who enjoy learning and making together.

Project spokeswoman Gill Britten said: "Shearing is an animal welfare issue which producers need to comply with. Historically fleece has been sold to the Wool Marketing Board (WMB). 

"In the past, the sale of fleece used to cover the annual farm rent. Today farmers are often receiving less than the cost of shearing and transportation costs to their nearest WMB depot.

"Gwlangollen has a keen awareness of the challenges faced by Welsh hill farmers and small holders, through rural and digital isolation, onerous workloads and often financial hardship." 

She explains that to date the project's research and development has been about:

The preservation and passing on the heritage craft skills connected with the local woollen industry to the next generation

Exploring the wider potential of locally produced fleece

Documenting the history of the woollen industry in Llangollen and its impact on the development of the town

Gill added: "We work closely with Lilly Rose Interiors in Llangollen. Jan markets our goods and ensures they comply with health and safety regulations and quality control. A ready market for our products has already been demonstrated. The project complies with Llangollen Town Council’s Cittaslow principles.

"Our supporters include crafters who are proficient in every aspect of using wool. Most are willing to pass on their skills either on a 1:1 or small group basis.

"Anyone interested, would be most welcome to join a Maker Day drop-in held every Friday from 10am-4pm at Pentredwr Community Centre. 

"Our next free event is our fleece sale and weaving event Saturday June 29, from 1-4pm, at Pentredwr Community Centre.

"It is your opportunity to see weaving demonstrations, or buy some fleece, talk to the producers and crafters. It's also a great networking opportunity and maybe the chance to try something new. Refreshments will be available.

"In order to develop, we are desperate for an affordable workshop, with a small area of outside space somewhere in Llangollen. We are very keen to contribute to the visitor experience of the town. If anyone has a creative suggestion to make, please do contact me on 07871 774651."

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