Wildcraft: inspiring crafters since 2008
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.
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.