Thursday, April 25, 2024

Fashion designer Liz Mitchell calls for a wool revolution

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Designer falls for felting, creating vessels, clothes and rugs.
Liz Mitchell says she wants to ‘place New Zealand strong wool back on the global stage, in our homes, and in our everyday lives, using a design-led process’.
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Fashion designer Liz Mitchell MNZM is so passionate about New Zealand wool she’s starting a revolution: The Wool Revolution – Powered by Liz Mitchell. 

Known for using wool in her bespoke fashion business, during lockdown Mitchell began exploring what could be done with felting NZ strong wool. Felting is the oldest textile-making technique in the world, and uses soap, water and massage to create a strong, durable material.

Mitchell was given some undyed coloured wool by farmers, and she let her artistic side take flight. She fell in love with the way the material could be transformed. She began creating vessels, pet pods, and works of art. She experimented with wet-felting larger items, creating rugs. Mitchell also looked at how needle-felting could be used for everyday household items, like cushion covers, nomadic loungers, and living fleeces.

Now Mitchell is sharing her work in an exhibition at Corban Estate Arts Centre in Henderson, Auckland. This Raw Material features her clothing, homeware, and an interactive space where people can reconnect with wool. It runs from October 27 to December 9.

“Wool is amazing. It has so many properties that we need in our everyday lives. It’s antimicrobial, wicks moisture away from the body, has insulating properties, is low-allergenic, is naturally fire-retardant, and repels waters. It’s also sustainable, regenerative, recyclable, and biodegradable. But it’s fallen from favour over the past few decades, replaced with synthetic oil-based materials that have overwhelmed us in every area of our lives,” Mitchell said.

“I want to place New Zealand strong wool back on the global stage, in our homes, and in our everyday lives, using a design-led process. Wool can be beautiful. Since I’ve been on this journey I’ve met some wonderful people who are just as passionate as I am about wool. I believe it’s time for a revolution, which is why The Wool Revolution – Powered by Liz Mitchell has been launched. I’m only one person, but there are thousands of us hungry for more wool in our daily lives.”

Mitchell was given some undyed coloured wool by farmers, and let her artistic side take flight.

Mitchell is also opening a Wool and Natural Fibres Textile Hub at Corban Estate Arts Centre, with wet and needle-felting machines funded by AGMARDT, to enable people to experiment and research, and develop more ways to use NZ wool. 

To support this, Mitchell has created a PledgeMe campaign with a range of woolly rewards.

“I really hope people will support our PledgeMe campaign. The crowdfunding gives us the opportunity establish a vibrant hub of enquiry and research with New Zealand wool and natural fibres. We want people to come and discover the potential of this amazing fibre.

“I think the time is right for us to take New Zealand’s strong wool and show the world just how beautiful and useful  it can be. It deserves to be in our furniture, on our floors, and on our walls. We have a huge opportunity ahead of us to make a positive change with New Zealand strong wool – that’s why we need a revolution,” Mitchell said. 

“Join The Wool Revolution – Powered by Liz Mitchell today!”

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