Norfolk rare breeds, extreme knitting and sheep on the green at Norwich Cathedral - exhibition highlights city’s link to textiles

Weavers, spinners and dyers national exhibition in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith Weavers, spinners and dyers national exhibition in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Thursday, May 22, 2014
11:15 AM

A wall of wool featuring some of East Anglia’s rare breeds is part of an exhibition at Norwich Cathedral, which runs until June 1.

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Weavers, spinners and dyers national exhibition in Norwich. Wooly woven by Dawn Willey. Photo: Bill SmithWeavers, spinners and dyers national exhibition in Norwich. Wooly woven by Dawn Willey. Photo: Bill Smith

Wool and fibres from breeds such as the Norfolk Horn and the Suffolk Punch are included in the display, alongside samples from alpacas, camels and angora rabbits.

The wall is part of Yarns in the Cathedral – the first time the city has hosted the biennial exhibition from the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.

The wealth of England was built on wool and Norfolk has a long association with textiles – from the Norwich shawl to the colour Norwich Red, with the pope even sending his robes to be dyed in the city. And there are plenty of people across the county who are carrying on the tradition – with guild members practising their crafts in their spare time.

The exhibition features work by guild members from across the country but also that of local spinners, weavers and dyers.

One such member is Sue Browne, from Wacton, who recieved the Lylie Smart award for a weaver of less than three years experience.

Her winning work is on show at the Hostry in Norwich Cathedral, alongside yarns that were dyed in the sun using chamomile. The wall of wool, based in the crypt of Norwich School, aims to celebrate the huge variety of animals living in the region.

Mary Watkins, who created the wall, said: “I have managed to get hold of most of the rare breeds in Norfolk, including the boreray and the balwen, which got down to one ram and six ewes at one point.

“We have got wool from Norfolk Horns at Gressenhall and camels from the Oasis Camel Centre.”

As part of the exhibition, there is a family day at Norwich Cathedral on Wednesday. There will be sheep on the green for the first time since about 1300 and activities including extreme knitting and the chance to weave some of a tapestry being made in Norwich Cathedral. It runs from 9.30am until 4.30pm. Yarns in the Cathedral runs until June 1.

Have you organised an arts event in our region? Email our arts correspondent Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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