Janet Hughes has a BA in Industrial Design (textiles) from the Scottish College of Textiles and has run her business Balgarvie Handloom Weaving since 2014. Her geometric Esher-inspired designs are immediately recognisable and she sells her work in gallery spaces across Scotland and USA.
Janet will show new work as part of her Soil to Skin range of hand loom woven fabric. This particular collection will be made from yarn spun from Cheviot fleece with a notable difference. Cheviot sheep are bred for both their meat and the quality of their fleece and are perfectly suited to the Scottish climate, which results in a fabric well suited to our own needs in this environment. The sheep produce a predominately white fleece, and it is one of the main breeds for wool fabric production in the UK.
Every year, however, there are a few ‘Brockie’ – lambs born with dark-coloured wool – not suitable for yarn production as their fleece would contaminate the white processing for level dyed yarn. While white Cheviot fleece sells for a very low value of about £0.97 a kg, grey or dark wool is valued even lower – if it is bought at all.
Through making contemporary work that deliberately incorporates the beautiful tones of grey and brown of the Brockie wool, it is Janet’s aim to raise awareness of this unnecessary wastage and to get a sustainable and higher price for Scottish farmers.