Farfield is a restored Victorian woollen mill with four floors of displays and exhibitions. It houses a history of the local woollen industry – from the Terrible Knitters of Dent through to the restoration of the mill as an arts and heritage centre – and arts and crafts exhibitions. I of course started downstairs in the Weavers’ Cafe! One toastie and tea later I worked my way up through the building. But sorry folks no photos as I respected their policy of no photography inside the centre.
Leaving the cafe (noting the sign for their regular weekly Knit and Natter sessions) I tootled through the building passing the HUGE warping mill – my old warping board seeming very puny – and took a peak at the Dobcross Power Loom which came to Farfield in 1965. The centre is lucky enough to have a weaver to operate the looms, if you want to see him and the loom in action I think he is there at weekends, and the mill sells beautiful blankets woven on site.
Scuttling upstairs I headed for the first temporary exhibition PagePaperStitch – Fold beautifully sculpted paper and books created by three textile artists – Annwyn Dean, Joan Newall and Elizabeth Shorrock – who love bookbinding.
Next door was a stunning exhibition Working The View created by brother and sister team Mark (photographer) and Sarah Butler (writer). Through photographs and interviews they have brought together something like 40 Yorkshire Dales landscapes chosen by locals along with the stories behind those selections. In amongst the names of the participants were two I know (so I got very excited!): Annie Hamilton Gibney Community Archaeology Project and Development Officer who chose Mallerstang Edge Ruin and said that she felt these views “take over a little of your soul” and Jan Hicks Textile Artist and small-holder whose choice was Howgill Fells from above Raisbeck where she likes to take her sandwiches to eat her tea and look at the view.
Finally visiting the Howgill Gallery I enjoyed a luscious selection of weaving entitled Metamorphosis by The British Tapestry Group (Scottish Branch). I loved these tapestries: the rich colours, textures and individual takes on the theme of change.
Of course one of the best features at Farfield are the artist workshops where you can watch artisan felters, weavers, knitters, sewers, furniture makers and more making their wares and selling them too. Many beautiful things to drool over.
Time for a walk and what a lovely stroll I had.
Following the path, passing pretty cottages, admiring the delicate hawthorn and looking down to the fast flowing river it was refreshing to be able to stride and trip (I am the most clumsy walker) along the short cut to Sedbergh. I looked out for the packhorse bridge
I was quite startled by suddenly coming upon this field of alpacas – further up the road I saw a sign saying they belong to Why Not Alpacas – and couldn’t help but laugh with glee at their beautiful faces especially when they all trotted towards me. Not I suspect my charm but rather the thought that I might be bringing treats.
Lining the hillside like the ‘Indians’ in an old fashioned Western I’m sure I heard them sniggering.
purchasing some cinder toffee en route to the library where I met up with AW and one of her regular patrons local author Jean Briggs (JC Briggs to her readers). JC’s latest book The Murder of Patience Brooke will be published in paperback by The History Press in August 2014 and features Charles Dickens as author turned detective. Talking to her was a real insight into the novelist’s craft and her impressive passion for her subject was inspiring. You always meet the most wonderful people in libraries.
its not gi-normous (this is a dinner plate)
but it has the makings… although a bit of rummaging through the airing cupboard looking for old t-shirts is called for.
Until we meet again. Moke