A visual, literary and cultural study devoted to a celebration of the wonder fibre wool.
The Wool Lover

THE
WOOL
LOVER

ABOVE: Half shorn sheep.
Photo: Cary Wolinsky

The Wool Lover will be a contemporary and distinctive digital magazine that brings together stories from art and craft, science and technology and cultural history.

This is its prelude – an introduction to the intended content tone and manner; and an invitation to fellow wool lovers to join us.

IMAGE: Crane Brothers woollen suit.
Photo: Karen Inderbitzen Waller
and Delphine Avril Planqueel

Wool is the oldest fibre used by mankind, yet also the most contemporary and unsurpassed in its beneficial properties. Wool has an intimate relationship with the evolution of human history.

 

ABOVE: Patchwork Ends jumper by Harry Were, photo: Harry Were

ABOVE: Godfrey Bowen shearing, Manawatu.
Photo: Alexander Turnbull library

 

Exploring ideas such as the way we’ve used wool in acts of kindness; the way we have lived with wool in our houses and on our bodies; the cultural output it has helped shape; and the role wool plays in our economy and international relations, The Wool Lover will reveal rich insights about who we are, and our place in the world

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Kingdoms have been founded on it, fortunes made and lost because of it. Wool is the original cloth created and traded by man. Of all the textiles wool is the most versatile, the most commercial and the longest storyteller of people and their nations.

Cloth, Cassandra Ellis.

ABOVE: The Wool Parade by Doshi Levien for Kvadrat.
Photo: Casper Sejersen

Wool is a natural wonder fibre. The secret of wool lies in the structure of its fibres, which absorb moisture, insulate against heat and cold, resist flame, and maintain their resilience .

From Captain Cook’s red baize cloak to the development of a protein pill derived from the fibre itself, wool is inextricably wound up with New Zealand's colonial history and economic future.

We love that wool has an inherent emotional value. It comes possessed of meaning, of caring (all New Zealand’s gifts to royal babies have been crafted from wool), and speaks to us often of strong memories, a grandmothers cardigan, or the blanket spread underneath us as a teenager on a late night beach rendevous.

 

ONE: Texus Fibre wool respirator. Photo: Simon Wilson and Idealog
TWO: The All Birds Wool Runner designed by Jamie McLellan. Photo: Frasier Clements
THREE: Unidentified young Maori woman wrapped in a woollen blanket. Photo: William Harding, courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library

For 12,000 years wool has figured on the loom of civilization as an integral part of human life.

ABOVE: Wool dyed with indigo by weaver Rachel Long.
Photo: Rachel Long

Weaving together a tapestry of historic material with contemporary interviews and footage The Wool lover will look at wool with fresh eyes, whilst also saluting the heritage of New Zealand’s wool industry.

The Wool Lover will include history, culture, economics, romance, design, fashion appealing to young and old, urban and rural. It strides across traditional boundaries, to speak of themes such as connectedness, entrepreneurship, ingenuity, family, love, passion and art.

ABOVE: Docking Lambs 1950.
Photo: Archives New Zealand

Content

ABOVE: Godmother blankets woven with Stansborough grey wool, styled by Katie Lockhart.
Photo: Darryl Ward for Case da Abitare

The Wool Lover will consist of a series of visual, video and text based features exploring wool, and its influence or connection to a diverse range of topics such as science, culture, craft and technology to name a few.

ABOVE: Wool Tables, Horsley Downs. Photo: JD Lang

Writings

The Wool Lover will develop a series of in-depth articles exploring wool from known and unexpected angles. Such as investigating wool technology and innovation in the bid to add value to the fibre; wool in the modernist home; the design provenance of the mid century travel rugs (and their labels) produced by the New Zealand woollen mills; the impact of wool on tangata whenua; wool as an activator of memory; masculine culture told through woollen icons such as swanndris and black singlets alongside exquisite wool based mens tailoring; the New Zealand Wool Board Fashion Awards and their associated glamour and signifigance; the early weavers and the art of tapestry; wool in war, adventure and exploration; merino and the Italian connection – the long love affair that exists between New Zealand’s high country wool growers and Italian design houses; knitting for the community in New Zealand prisons; the growing of coloured wool for artisan designers; the art and science of dying wool.

BELOW: Blue Sheep Kaitangata. Photo: Robin Morrison
courtesy Dinah Morrison and Auckland Museum

The Wool Trails

the intrepid journeys of wool

New Zealand wool still rocks on the global stage. From Kvadrat to Smart Wool, from Comme Des Garcon to Edward Fields carpets, from the Italian state of the art mills to Brooks Brothers of New York, our wool is prestigious. We envisage this as the intrepid journeys of wool – video, still images and text. An exciting adventure, a modern day ripping yarn with wool as our lead character taking us to exciting corners of the globe. Interviews with designers and producers working with New Zealand wool internationally

ABOVE: Wool Classing.
Photo: Evening Post, Alexander Turnbull Library

BELOW: Handmade Knitwear by Areez Kakti for his Winter 2016 collection,
using organic Merino yarns hand spun in Hawkes Bay. Photo: Areez Kakti

Visual
Explorations

ABOVE: Fiona Kay as Toss in Vigil. Photo: Miles Hargest, courtesy Vincent Ward and John Maynard

Drawing on image archives, both still and moving, combined with contemporary practises.Woollen coats and cloaks since Cook; a pictorial gallery of our heroes in wool – Janet Frame, James K. Baxter, Ed Hillary, Peter Blake, the early All Blacks, all donned wool; the stylish wearing of blankets by Maori in the 19th and 20th centuries; an ongoing photographic style series of woollen objects for the home and body; great characters from New Zealand film that have worn wool; a gallery of scout blankets.

ABOVE: Kerry Fox as Janet Frame in An Angel at My Table.
Photo: Hibiscus Films

Image: Blankets by Godmother, photo: Neeve Woodward

Interviews
and Portraits

Interviews with - international companies using New Zealand wool eg Kvadrat, Camira, and Smart Wool; maverick knitters, artisan weavers and coloured growers; scientists and others doing the work of adding value to wool; fashion and interior designers who are passionate about wool.

Sheep shearers east coast circa 1965.
photo: courtesy John MacGibbon, Ngaio Press.

BELOW: BOBBLE JUMPER BY HARRY WERE. PHOTO: HARRY WERE

 

The Wool Lover will be a hub for everyone who is passionate about a collision of history, commerce and creativity by an exciting array of contributors who are active thinkers and makers.

Join the wool lover

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We are actively seeking support towards the commissioning of the written content, visual and video material for The Wool Lover. If you are a passionate about wool and/or culture, and would like to make a contribution towards the commissioning of high quality content for The Wool Lover please click here.

About

KIRSTY CAMERON (Creative Director)
Is a filmmaker and a costume designer with over 25 years experience. She has written and directed 5 short films including Cross My Heart (2008) and Swan Song (2012) which both featured in the NZ International Film Festival. She also directed the short film, Turncoats with Nom D for their fashion week presentation in 2009. 
As a costume designer she has helped make memorable some of New Zealand film’s most beloved characters including among others Paikea in Whalerider, In My Father’s Den, Rain,  Katherine Mansfield in Bliss, and Jean Batten. Kirsty has also developed the Godmother design label as a collection of limited edition woollen pieces for the home and body. 

VIVIENNE STONE (Producer)
Is a multi-media producer who has worked across the contemporary arts, digital, print and performance spectrum over the last 25 years. She’s worked as a producer both commercially (Head of Digital, Saatchi & Saatchi NZ 1998 – 2002) and culturally (producer in Pursuit of Venus, the video artwork by Lisa Reihana representing New Zealand at 2017 Venice Biennale, as well as co-founding and developing podgardening.co.nz). Through her commercial work she has extensive experience working internationally and alongside New Zealand’s corporate organisations. She produced Kirsty’s 2012 short film Swan Song. Kirsty and Vivienne have a long standing working relationship. In addition to their digital projects, they co-curated in 2013, along with designer Katie Lockhart, Objectspace’s Master of Craft Exhibition honouring Nanette Cameron (Kirsty’s mother) and the accompanying book and short film Nanette Cameron: Interior Design Legend.

THANKS

With thanks to Dinah Morrison and Auckland Museum, Brian Brake Estate and Te Papa, National Library of New Zealand, NZ Film Commission, Mark Smith, Vincent Ward and John Maynard, Kvadrat, Lottie Hedley, Areez Katki, Harriet Were, Rachel Long, Karen Inderbitzen Waller and Avril Planqueel, Tim Brown, Nick Davenport, Murray Crane, Darryl Ward and Katie Lockhart, Hibiscus Films, Cary Wolinsky and the NZ Merino Company for permission to reproduce images.

Big thanks to Kim Smith, Simon Oosterdijk and Rachel Lilburn.

Contact

This project has been in development for some time and in the process we have researched wool and all its many tangents extensively. For more information about the project and our contributors please don’t hesitate to ask.

Kirsty Cameron
021 775 456
k.see@clear.net.nz

Vivienne Stone
021 474 142
viv@frontier.net.nz

 

“It is our aim to be developing connective multi platform projects that have their heart in matters important to community and society; and that also have strong threads and relevance into business, education and cultural institutions. We feel confident we can present new stories about already explored subjects drawing on science, narrative, history and culture in ways that speak to a contemporary audience.”

Through their work in the film, digital and advertising industries Kirsty and Vivienne have extensive networks spanning stylists and photographers through to entrepreneurs and industrialists; and a track record for pulling together talented teams to collaborate delivering innovative projects of the highest standards.