Dumfries and Galloway based textile artist Caroline Townsend-Sawley of Elegant Originals recently helped get Dumfries and Galloway on the map when she faced one of her biggest challenges. She was commissioned to create 20 bespoke scarves that contained wool from 50 different breeds of sheep for the speakers at the International Sheep Veterinary Society Congress, Harrogate which was held on 22 – 25 May 2017.

Caroline told DGWGO in a recent interview “I attended a trade fair in Harrogate in 2015 and met Judith Charnley, She was part of the orginisation committee for the then up coming International Sheep Veterinary Society Congress being held in the UK. She had a vision and wanted a way to create a 50 Breed wool scarf as gifts for the keynote speakers at the congress. 
We got talking at the trade fair and she took my details. This started a discussion, then order for the 50 breed scarves. I’ve made various different scarves, bodices and dresses hand felting wool fibres, but nothing had prepared me for the steep learning curve and labour of love of the 50 breed scarves as I had not felted before with most of the breeds I would be using.”
She continued “Judith was amazing at getting hold of most of the harder to source breeds. Most of the breeds came to me raw, so needed washing and carding. This in itself was a huge task, keeping all the fibres separate at each stage. I then had to grid out the breeds on paper so I knew which breed was going where on the scarves and to allow me to make a legend to go with each scarf so the recipient could see which breed was which. There was also differentiation between the men’s and ladies scarves as the ladies scarves had Wensleydale curls at the ends giving them a more feminine feel. The colour variation of natural wool is beautiful and I tried to use this to full advantage in the scarf.
The scarves were a true labour of love; causing lost sleep, numerous emails to many different people, very sore hands and arms, long days and working late into the night. But through all that, the joy of handling the different fibres and the opportunity to really get to know the fibres was amazing. I am even more in love with working with wool that I ever was.  It has been a true honour to be given the chance to create such a unique thing. It’s true that not all wool fibres are good to felt, but it has been amazing to learn about and work with this most wonderful, natural and versatile fibre.”
Caroline finally told us ” 20 were made for the congress and one for myself as a keep sake.”

To find out more about Carolines work you check out her Facebook page HERE

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