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The world is set to flock to Wonderwool Wales

24 Feb 2024 5 minute read
As assortment of multi-coloured wool (Creative Commons)

Overseas visitors will be travelling from as far away to Australia, America and Canada to attend this year’s Wonderwool Wales, the award-winning show that celebrates all that’s great about Welsh wool and natural fibres.

The popular two-day event, held at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells on April 27 and 28, has sold all 220 stands for exhibitors, which has delighted the organisers.

First held in 2006 to promote the market for Welsh wool, the festival celebrates the green credentials of Welsh wool and its versatility as a material for creative crafts, designer clothes, home furnishings and more.

The crowd at last year’s Wonderwool (Credit: Wonderwool Wales)

The event covers everything from the start to the end of the creative process – from exhibits of sheep, through raw and hand dyed fibres, yarn for knitting and crochet, embellishments, equipment, dyes and books to superb examples of finished textile art, craft, clothing and home furnishings.

The success of the first showcase, a highlight of the Royal Welsh 2006 Smallholder and Garden Festival, prompted organisers to set their sights on something bigger, better and bolder in 2007, when the event was run as a separate festival and doubled in size.

Initially set up with European funding via the Welsh Assembly Government by Glasu, the LEADER+ Programme in Powys, since 2009 it has been run by a small group of part of the original steering committee and who formed Wonderwool Wales Ltd, (a not for profit company), to ensure the show’s continuation.

Starting by predominantly featuring wool and wool products, the showcase has broadened to include a whole range of natural fibre items, including alpaca, mohair, angora, hemp, flax and silk. The organisers aim to expand the show each year with new ideas, whilst maintaining the standards, ethos and enthusiasm of the festival.

One of the star attractions this year will be an engaging Flock2Flight display of static and flying wet felted and needle felted birds made by fibre artist Janna Turner and two friends, Alex Johnstone and Deborah Taylor Dyer.

Shepton Mallet based Janna, who runs Flocks2Felts, and Alex are no strangers to Wonderwool Wales. Janna was project lead and felting advisor and Alex contributed with others to a special, eight-metre long exhibition entitled Alice in Wonderwool in 2022.

The eye-catching, hand crafted interpretation of Alice in Wonderland installation featured an array of captivating characters, all crafted from felt and fibre.

This year’s event will see nine Woolschool afternoon workshops each day which has required the organisers to book extra space on the showground. Some of the Woolschools, which give visitors the chance to learn or perfect their skills with help from an expert, are already sold out, but check availability on the Wonderwool Wales website.

The workshops are:
An introduction to drop spindles with Marianne Larcombe and Jo Glenn
Improving your spinning with a drop spindle with Freyalyn Close-Hainsworth
Wet felted leaf brooch with Svetlana Lilley
Drum carding with Jill Shepherd
Macrame dream catcher with Alice Thomas
Botanical dyeing and Shibori resist techniques with Siân Lester
Backstrap weaving using rigid heddle with Helen Deighan
Introduction to needle-woven tapestry with Joanna Helm
Needle felted busy Mr Mole with Steffi Stern.

The audience at the Sheep Walk fashion show last year (Credit: Wonderwool Wales)

Another popular feature, the Sheep Walk fashion show, will keep the audience entertained on both days.

This year, all Wonderwool Wales visitors are being encouraged to knit, crochet or make and wear their own beanie or hat to add colour to the event. Stewards will be awarding vouchers to the best hats on both days.

Wonderwool Wales 2023 Bursary winners Jade Carey Holt, from Aberystwyth and Kay-lee Davies, from Capel Dewi, near Llandysul, will be exhibiting their work on stand C1.

New exhibitors are the Museum of Welsh Textiles from Knighton and Glamorgan Smallholders’ Great Glamorgan Sock Project, which involves members making a pair of socks from each sheep breed in the county.

To tantalise the tastebuds, the organisers have added some new street food caterers to provide a wider menu for show visitors.

Exhibits of sheep, raw and hand dyed fibres, yarn for knitting and crochet, embellishments, equipment, dyes and books can be found alongside superb examples of finished textile art, craft, clothing and home furnishings.

For those seeking creative inspiration, there will be demonstrations and have-a-go sessions hosted by some exhibitors.

“It promises to be another memorable Wonderwool Wales, with all 220 places for exhibitors sold out and another 10 on the waiting list,” said director Chrissie Menzies.

“A group of around 20 people will be jetting in from America and Canada with Rowan Tree Travel and one lady from Australia has arranged that her trip to see family coincides with our event.

“We are encouraging all visitors this year to make their own beanie or hat to engage our supporters and add a little bit of colour and fun.

Tickets for the 18th show, which traditionally attracts more than 6,000 visitors, can be purchased online in advance HERE

There will also be tickets for sale at the gate costing £12 per day or £22 for the weekend. Young people aged 16 years and under have free admission.

Find out more about the 2024 show at www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk

Like Wonderwool Wales Ltd on Facebook or follow on Twitter @wonderwoolwales


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

A bit ‘crass in sheep’s clothing, given we have had Truss and now Badenough making the worst sheep deals since we asked the Saxons over to sort out the Picts…

Last edited 1 month ago by Mab Meirion

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