02 Feb A Visit from SWE Fibreshed
On a beautiful crisp snowy morning in late January 2021, Emma Hague from SWE Fibreshed and Hatty Bell, film maker and photographer braved the icy roads to visit Hampen. SWE Fibreshed is part of the wider organisation Fibershed that began in the United States. It is a movement that is concerned with natural fibres grown and processed in an ethical and sustainable way which ultimately biodegrade to feed rather than pollute future growth. In much the same way as the food industry, people have become disconnected from the source and the lifecycle of the textiles that they wear and live with. There is widespread ignorant of the appalling damage that the synthetic, petroleum hungry textile industry is doing to the earth and as with food production, radical change is necessary if we are to combat the climate emergency and improve the health of the planet and ourselves.
Like many other sheep farmers, I was appalled at the perceived lack of worth of fleeces, the standard price offered being less than it cost to shear the sheep. Wool, this wonderful resource had become a cost to the business rather than an asset, it is hard to believe that the wealth of the Cotswolds was built on wool. For this reason and my love of all things woolly, I began my adventure from farm to yarn and at the same time highlighting the rare Devon Closewool breed. It was a chance meeting at Stroud Farmers market where I was selling my wares that I first met Emma. The timing was perfect and I was delighted to become a member of SWE Fibreshed. Emma aims to reconnect farmers and growers to processors, makers and designers all sharing the same ideals and working as locally as possible. She is producing a sourcebook of fibres grown/produced regeneratively in the southwest of England which will create a much-needed link between the fashion world and farmers! It was for this book that Emma and Hatty spent the morning at Hampen meeting the sheep, taking photographs and finding out about the farm. Emma asked what my dream was, that was easy to answer, to sell yarn to a local designer/maker (knowing it would be valued and cherished as a garment or interior accessory) and to have enough left for myself to continue plant dyeing wool and yarn to sell at Stroud and to use for weaving projects here on the farm.
I am greatly reassured that it is becoming recognised that the way forward for both food and fibre industries is to be regenerative and locally sourced and I would encourage everyone to get involved and support local food and local fibre whenever possible.
To see our wool, visit our Produce page HERE.
More information about South West England Fibershed can be found here: https://www.southwestenglandfibreshed.co.uk