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Two unique exhibitions to be unveiled at Wonderwool Wales 2022

Alice in Wonderwool exhibition.

Two stunning and unique exhibitions will feature as Wonderwool Wales 2022 returns next month after an absence of two years during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Buoyed by support from the Wales Cultural Recovery Fund, the organisers are looking forward to welcoming visitors to the 16th show at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells on the weekend of April 23 and 24.

Celebrating all that’s great about Welsh wool and natural fibres, Wonderwool Wales 2022 will feature special exhibitions in Hall 3. Visitors will have the chance to see work created by Coleg Sir Gâr’sCarmarthen School of Art textiles students and graduates throughout the pandemic and a zany, hand crafted interpretation of Alice in Wonderland.

Alice in Wonderwool exhibition.

Lockdowns and disruption did not stop creativity at Carmarthen School of Art. Supported by the art college throughout the pandemic, students kept working on their briefs at home to create exciting and challenging work.

Visitors can expect to see an insight into their design process as well as beautiful textile outcomes in knit, weave and mixed media.

Coleg Sir Gâr’s BA Textile Programme director Nia Lewis said: “Wonderwool Wales has always been hugely supportive of our graduates and we are delighted to have this opportunity to showcase the work undertaken through this time. We are so proud of our students’ resilience and creativity.”

The Wonderwool Wales Bursary has been running for several years, awarded to a BA Textiles Knitting & Weaving graduate.

The massive, specially-created ‘Alice in Wonderwool’ installation features an array of captivating characters, all crafted from felt and fibre. This exhibition will be raising money for this year’s Wonderwool charities which include the Wales Air Ambulance.

Show regulars, Alex Johnstone and Kathy Smart, joined forces with felting and fibre art friends, including prolific knitter and crochet enthusiast Terry Moncion, to recreate Alice’s dreamland journey and her marvellously wacky tea party. Janna Turner from Flock2Felts was project lead and felting advisor.

Show visitors will meet a manic and frantic white rabbit that is always late, a perpetually grinning Cheshire cat and a contemptuous caterpillar. As their adventures are set in Wonderwool, all of the characters are made using felt and fibre.

The characters, scenery and flowers, food, crockery and woodland creatures are made of a mixture of wet and needle felt techniques, knitting and crochet with a bit of sewing and embroidery thrown in.

With several new faces amongst the 210 exhibitors, there will be plenty for visitors to see and do at Wonderwool Wales, which was judged best event in Mid Wales at the inaugural Mid Wales Tourism Awards in 2019.

The show was also Highly Commended for the last two years in the Best Event category at the Let’s Knit British Knitting & Crochet Awards.

The organisers are aiming to fill the halls with beautiful, hand dyed yarns and fibre, along with equipment and quality finished products, giving visitors an opportunity to stock up on supplies.

For those seeking creative inspiration, there will be demonstrations and have-a-go sessions hosted by some exhibitors. When the shopping is done, there will be plenty of tea and coffee stops and a tempting selection of refreshments from Street Food vendors.

Visitors can also pre-book to attend one of the ever-popular Woolschool workshops and learn or perfect their skills with help from an expert.

“We’ve gathered together a range of skilled tutors to lead a choice of four morning and five afternoon workshops on both days,” said Chrissie Menzies, a director of Wonderwool Wales. “The topics have been carefully chosen to appeal to a wide range of interests and levels of ability – there should be something for everyone.”

The Woolschool workshops include the following morning sessions: Spinning with a spindle for beginners led by Freyalyn Close-Hainsworth, Colour wheel Bargello with Tina Francis, Needlefelting with Sam Loughlin from Mum’s Makery and Delightful decorative crochet baby boots with wool felt soles led by Amanda Blackwell from Joe’s Toes.

The topics for the afternoon workshops are: Creative freeform knitting and crochet with Lisette Webley, Core spinning for light and airy textured yarn with Amanda Hannaford, Beautiful bee buttons and brooches with Lydia Needle, Natural weave macrame wall hangings with Alice Thomas and Wet felting – ‘The Solitary Tree’ with Susan Mulcock.

Developed to promote the market for Welsh wool and natural fibres, Wonderwool Wales was first held in 2006 and has grown in scale and popularity alongside a knitting, crochet, felting and textile craft making boom.

Tickets, costing £12 per day or £22 for the weekend, must be purchased online in advance at www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk. There will be no tickets for sale at the gate.