About Us

Wildcraft: inspiring crafters since 2008

Wildcraft was set up and is run by me, Karen Tesson. I've been a fibre crafter and smallholder for a number of years, alongside my current day job as a website programmer. I work from home, so am always on hand to deal with any livestock crises, or to scoot off for a day's dyeing when stock gets low! Very recently, I've branched out into jewellery making and working with torch-fired glass.

Wildcraft began for a number of reasons. After taking a break from breeding sheep while I completed a PhD in eco-psychology (I'm nothing if not eclectic!), my existing flock of Suffolk ewes was starting to dwindle in numbers as age took its toll. Eventually, we ended up with just one Suffolk ewe who was getting rather lonely. So, having completed my studies, I took the opportunity to start afresh with some ewe lambs, and to add some different breeds of sheep to the flock. I now have a flock of pedigree Coloured Ryeland and, (as of February 2011) Shetlands, and a variety of crossbred lambs from them.

At the same time, I was reviving my interest in spinning and knitting, and without a ready supply of fleece from my own sheep, it wasn't long until I became frustrated with the lack of availability of interesting spinning materials in the UK. At the time I started Wildcraft, there were a great many web-based shops selling beautiful rovings and wool batts for spinning, but most of them were physically located in America, making shipping costs and times quite high. In any event, I'm keen to source my crafts materials locally whenever I can. So I decided to start producing my own painted fibre and blends, and to offer them for sale.

Our philospophy at Wildcraft is to use British sourced materials whenever possible. Some of our fibre is produced from my own sheep, but until we have a bigger flock, I'll be sourcing my wool tops from other British suppliers. 
We use chemical dyes for dyeing our fibre, principally because this produces very little chemical waste. We will be experimenting with natural dyes in the future. I am somewhat cautious about this, as contrary to the popular belief that natural dyes are safe and non-polluting, some of the mordants used to fix natural dyes to the fibre can actually be quite toxic environmental pollutants.
I draw my inspiration for my crafts and items for the shop from the natural world. My colourways are always inspired by colour combinations found in nature, much of it from the beautiful Dorset countryside where I live.

During late 2008 we also began making a variety of drop spindles and other spinning tools. Many of the wooden items are made by Gerthe Tesson (my mother), who makes them from locally-sourced timber on her wood-turning lathe. I also make lightweight spindles with whorls made from plastic resin, with a variety of natural (and sometimes not so natural) items embedded inside.

 In 2010, Marion Dolton joined the Wildcraft team, as chief parcel packer, and importantly as the source of a wide range of preserved local wildflowers, which she collects from her own garden and surrounding countryside, for inclusion in our resin spindles.