Weaving stunning shawls and blankets from named animals
The Country Smallholder|September 2023
Jack Smellie meets the very talented Bec Briar who works with her own flock's fleeces from her land on the edge of Exmoor.
Jack Smellie
Weaving stunning shawls and blankets from named animals

When I asked Bec what was the most important aspect of her life with sheep and wool, her answer spoke volumes. 'I want other people to experience the absolute joy in learning to work with their own fibre, to encourage them to thoroughly explore it, to learn from it and to understand how to match the wool in their hand to a perfect final product.' This desire to be as inclusive as possible and to celebrate what surely has to be one of the most under-rated materials we know, underpins all that Bec does.

GORGEOUS PRODUCTS FROM NAMED ANIMALS

Bec's workshop on the edge of Exmoor is a little like the Tardis, tiny to look at but inside, full beyond imagination of the most amazing fibre and woollen products. From here she produces shawls, blankets, scarves, yarns, drop spindles, plant dyes and a huge variety of weaving kits. She also teaches, offering one-to-one and small group tuition in a variety of spinning and weaving techniques as well as wool processing and preparation.

Her woven shawls are truly exquisite. You cannot help but run your fingers over them, following the intricate patterns and noticing the fine relationship between warp and weft. Watching her warp her floor loom, a stunning Dryad Counter Balance that is, she proudly announces, as old as she, is a lesson in patience and total concentration as she manages different colours of warp, hundreds of metres at a time, and ensures they get threaded though heddles and the reed, in exactly the right order.

This story is from the September 2023 edition of The Country Smallholder.

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This story is from the September 2023 edition of The Country Smallholder.

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