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The Wiltshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers is a craft organisation that is dedicated to the preservation of traditional textile crafts.

We are currently focusing our efforts on a major exhibition that is scheduled to be held on the 1st - 4th August 2024. This will be an opportunity to showcase the incredible talent of our members and to share the beauty of our crafts with the public.

More details of this exciting project and exhibition can be found below.

BACKGROUND

The ‘Home Grown Textiles Project’ is open to all members of the Wiltshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers culminating in an exhibition of the work, to be held in Summer 2024. The project aims to give participants at least 12 months to complete their work prior to the exhibition.

 

The aim of the project is to produce a wearable item from materials only produced or processed within the South West region of the UK. The South West region is defined as the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire (also including Scilly Isles, Channel Islands).

As members of the Guild we already produce many items of good quality, sustainable clothing. However the idea of the project is to focus on where all elements of our clothes come from, as well as to challenge ourselves and extend our own knowledge of our local area, or ‘Fibreshed’.

WHAT CAN I MAKE?

The aim of the project is to make a wearable garment, examples of this are as follows;

  • Clothing: skirt, top, jumper, coat, trousers, socks etc.

  • Accessories:shawl, hat, gloves

    Items not included in this are: bags, hair items, brooches, jewellery.

Sewing groups only:  

Special dispensation has been made for our sewing groups who can make bags if they wish to. This should be using locally produced fabric e.g. Bristol Cloth and where the cost or availability of fabric prohibits the making of larger garment. These items should still adhere to categories A-C.    

CATEGORIES

 

To ensure as many members who wish to participate can do so, the project has been split into several categories;

Members can be free to choose their category of entry and also whether they want to make an item of clothing or a wearable accessory. Members are free to make one item or an entire outfit, however it is advised that an accurate record is kept of the materials used, where they have been sourced, preparation methods (either by hand or location of mill/source) and all the steps from start to finish. This information will be used in the exhibition and displayed alongside your exhibit.

HOME GROWN CATEGORY A

  • The fibre must be farmed and processed wholly within the South West Region (see map below)

  • All fibres must be natural.

  • Any dyes must be local and natural ​​ (non-synthetic). Good examples of this would be madder, woad or weld.

  • Any additional components such as fastenings should be handmade or locally sourced.

HOME GROWN CATEGORY B

  • The main fibre must be from your fibreshed but some processing outside of the region is allowed.

  • Any dye must be local and natural.  Good examples of this would be what can be grown in the Guild dye garden, e.g. Madder, weld, woad.

  • The items can include additional components such zips, interfacing and lining where local options are not available.

HOME GROWN CATEGORY C

  • The main fibre/materials should be sourced from within the South West Region where possible, however materials from outside the region but from within the UK are permitted. e.g. Fabric (raw material grown & processed in the UK). 

  • Any dyes must be natural (non-synthetic) however can be sourced within the whole of the UK. Good examples of this would be what can be grown in the Guild dye garden e.g. madder, weld, woad.

  • The items can include additional components such zips, interfacing and lining where local options are not available.  

  • Some recycling of fabric is permitted, however the materials must adhere to categories A-C e.g. old wool blanket. 

FURTHER INFORMATION

Members can be free to choose their category of entry and also whether they want to make an item of clothing or a wearable accessory. Members are free to make one item or an entire outfit, however it is advised that an accurate record is kept of the materials used, where they have been sourced, preparation methods (either by hand or location of mill/source) and all the steps from start to finish. This information will be used in the exhibition and displayed alongside your exhibit.

 

General allowances have been made for the following; 

  • Scouring products used for cleaning fleece.

  • Mordants & modifiers may be used for natural dyeing in all categories as long as the main dye stuff meets the criteria laid out in your category of choice. The mordant should be disposed of in a safe and considered way.

  • Oils used in the spinning process e.g. yarn spun at Rampisham Mill.

  • Sewing threads, lining, zips, interfacing may be used in categories B & C as these are not readily manufactured in the South-West region or generally the UK. These should still be natural fibres where possible.  

 

If you include any of the above allowances in your item, please consider including this as part of the description of your work. 

COLLABORATION

If you wish to, we encourage members to work together to make their items and members can choose to produce items for the exhibition in collaboration if they desire.

Those members who wish to can offer up their skills to others, for example if you are happy to spin or weave for another member. Please contact either Victoria Ross or Kath Steggall if you are able to do this or if you have a ‘skills gap’ that needs filling e.g. a spinner that needs a woven fabric. We will do our best to try to facilitate a collaboration. It is not expected that members learn new skills in order to produce their desired item.

RESOURCES

We will collect and add to the resources to help members as we go along. If you have anything to add to this list please let the organisers know.

South-West Fibreshed has several resources on their website for regional sources for materials. www.southwestenglandfibreshed.co.uk

Flaxland

Producers of flax and courses in flax spinning/ processing.

www.flaxland.co.uk

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Exhibitors are required to complete the Exhibition Maker Profile Document available in Word and PDF below.

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