Tuesday, 22 March 2016
Solidwool - Wool Reimagined
Wool as Furniture
The last time we mentioned Cumbria's native Herdwick sheep it was to discuss wearing the British Isles on your head courtesy of excellent friends Cherchbi.
Well there's no keeping a good sheep down, only you might not believe the use of their wool this time. Wool is amazing, and time and again it proves to be an excellent material for almost anything you can imagine. I guess we'll never see cotton fields in the Lake District, but we can be self-sustained in wool from that location, and should use it at every opportunity. The value of the strong and wiry wool from the proud Herdwick (and the livelihoods of those that shepherd them) should be recognised and put to use. And opportunity knocks this time in the form of SolidWool of Windy Corner, Rattery, Devon, England. The name may be giving it away, but SolidWool take the Herdwick wool and make furniture from it. How so? Solidwool (their product) is a composite made from wool and a bio-resin that creates a quite unique material that the company wishes to be 'considered as a sustainable alternative to today's petrochemical based structural reinforced plastics.'
Look at it used on the Hembury chair (above and below). It looks very definitely woolly and natural, the nature of the wool undiminished and wild looking, with dark grey and lighter fibres, yet locked in.The chair is based on the timeless Eames fibreglass chair.
And other British artisans are recognising the versatility of solidwool.
Blok Knives - English Handmade Knives
Derbyshire artisan Ben Edmonds of Blok Knives makes kitchen knives by hand. He is so successful that there's a waiting list as long as his tattooed arm. Keen to try the material, Ben produced a Woollen Edition knife with a solidwool handle and matt blade patina. Beautiful-looking thing. (Daniel Dytrych took the photo of the knife above.)
Fan Optics Sunglasses
Guillaume Furminger's Fan Optics (whom we featured last summer) design their sunglasses in Amsterdam (see Tweedy's notes on the city) and manufacture in England. Last summer they used solidwool for the frames of a range of sunglasses, with Carl Zeiss lenses. They look great.
I hope we see yet more innovative uses for this versatile material.