The Story of Wool Exhibition

ISSN 2207-001X  9th May, 2017

The Autumn months of April and May are popular times in Australia for Craft Festivals and “Ag Shows”. For our overseas rug hooking friends that’s an abbreviation for Agricultural Society Shows/Events/Field Days        i.e. County or State Fairs.

 Last week in Albany, in the southwest of the State of Western Australia, Kira Mead’s collection of blankets was prominently displayed at the annual  Vancouver Street Festival in the Vancouver Art Centre.     All but about 5 of the blankets used in the exhibition were Kira’s and all were originally from the Albany Woollen Mills.

The theme for the 2017 Festival  – was  “The Story of Wool”  so it was no wonder Kira’s works created from recycled blankets, fitted in so well!  Kira sources these now hard to find blankets, from friends, family and Op Shops around town. The Albany Woollen Mills, the only woollen mill in Western Australia, was built in 1924 and closed in 1996. Those of us who grew up here in the West remember well the distinctive, mostly pastel, plaid blankets.

Kira photographed her creations made with her hand-dyed blankets, many of the works featured her wool quillies.

Kira said  ……..   “I really like what they did with my blankets. “The Story of Wool“ exhibition was beautifully set out as you can see from these images taken by  Isobelle Mead.

Blankets lined the entry into this room where two video’s were playing regarding Shearing. One by Bob Symons and the other by Ron Kowald. There was also a video in the Spinning Room, also by Bob Symons.  Blankets were also used as backdrops for displays in other rooms.

A crocheted version of a coral reef.  It was a project undertaken by many in 2010. 

This installation was created by Anne Walmsley, a contemporary fibre artist and was an entry in a previous years Sculptures by the Sea at Cottesloe.   Anne Walmsley also created this installation of woollen blanket “squares” in the limestone wall of the Vancouver Art Centre.”

Above more blankets and displays.  

Albany has an impressive natural deep-water harbour and is surrounding by scenic coastal vistas.

The Vancouver Arts Centre coordinates, curates and hosts touring and local exhibitions, artists in residence, school holiday programs, adult and children’s workshops, community projects and a range of engaging cultural events across multiple art-forms.  The centre is home to a number of active arts and craft groups and independent artists, it is well used by the local community whilst also welcoming all visitors through its doors.

For anyone interested in history, there is a self-guided heritage trail allowing visitors to explore the building’s unique heritage value; built in 1887 and designed by architect George Temple Poole, the sandstone brick building originally served as the Albany Cottage Hospital until 1962.

This information was taken from the Albany Gateway website, where more information can be found about what to see and do in the area.

Kira Mead, the Accidental Rugmaker with one of her vibrant rugs. Picture: Lata Photography

        Many thanks to Kira for the update on this exhibition.    Jo Franco, Editor

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