Issue 36 Roving
I DO HOPE YOU ALL had a great summer. Travelling across America (see issue 35) was everything I hoped it would be. A highlight was meeting our US readers, some that have been with us for years and others who have just found us and are taking advantage of the lower rates we now offer American subscribers. One of the most memorable parts of my journey was a trek through the Grand Canyon. Americans are justifiably proud of this majestic landscape and of the country’s National Parks. But while I was impressed by these vast areas of untouched wilderness, I thought fondly of Britain’s more domestically scaled landscape, our modest green hills and well-tendered farm land.
It was Bridgette Kelly from the British Wool Marketing Board who reminded me who we need to thank for our pretty countryside. Our landscape depends on grazing animals, particularly sheep, for its close cropped neatness. Without them our green and pleasant land would be much wilder. In the UK we have almost one hundred breeds of sheep who offer an amazing variety of wool, yet it is a handful of breeds bred for meat production that thrive while others are in danger of disappearing completely. The value placed on fleece is so low that farmers pay more to have their sheep sheared than they earn from the wool. Many factors influence the value of wool but if we focus on its amazing inherent qualities – it’s warm, wicks away moisture and is naturally fire retardant – surely we can trigger a renaissance of this fibre? Influential figures such as HRH the Prince of Wales and a growing band of supporters believe we can. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if British Airways joined in by using woollen blankets on their planes, if the government used wool insulation in new buildings, or schools required a wool blazer?
Maybe we could all help by investing in a wool coat next time we bought one? If you need wardrobe inspiration visit the Horrockses show at the Fashion and Textile Museum. I love prints with strong colour and confident lines, like Vera Neumann's work, currently re-printed by Anthropologie, and those designed by Gudrun Sjödén. Her long awaited store will open in London’s Long Acre this autumn. September is an exciting time for design in general. During the London Design Festival, there is so much to see it can be difficult to focus so we’ve created a guide to help you find the best of the many things on offer. If you are choosing just one, then please join us as we contribute to the Design Festival and stitch 500 London pigeons at the V&A...
Polly Leonard, Founder