• Claire Dunnett

Circular Newness!

Hello everyone!

 I am so excited to be writing this blog on this lovely sunny Friday as I have some really exciting newness to share.

A few weeks back now I hinted that Dad and I have been working on a new project.  Well it's been a brain numbing few weeks but at long last we've managed to work it out and I'm delighted to share my first 'Circular' masterpiece with you!

As the weather gradually improves and we get to venture out more I start to get itchy feet about wanting to do more Art work.  Over the Winter months I take lots of photographs and then during the Spring season I start to set to work on them.  So in-between making chunky knit home accessories for all of you lovely lot who have been re-vamping your houses so far this Spring, and working on new designs for Autumn/ Winter, hence last weeks chunky knit jumper, (deep breath), I've been keeping my dear old Dad busy once again.  

So what have we been up to?

Well, ever since I've been at school,  I've either worked on projects that have either been small or gigantic, basically 'not the norm' anyway!  From giant wall sized fresco style paintings for my final degree exhibition in 1992 all the way to my teenie, tiny detailed needle artworks in their lovely box frames with Dunnknit Designs,  I'm always at my sketch book looking for some divine inspiration in the hope that a sooper, dooper brainwave of an idea will one day emerge!  Well that's exactly what happened a few months ago now!

It started off with the usual conversation with Dad over the dinner table.  I wanted to combine his wood working skills with my giant wool to create a wall panel but wasn't sure if he'd be up for the challenge.  At first I thought about doing some kind of giant picture that involved weaving with my giant wool but there are so many artists working with weave that I wanted to do something different.  Plus the fact that Dad has never forgotten the time when I asked him to make me a giant wall sized weaving frame for my whole class to work on for an exhibition in Liverpool.  It was hard work, that's for sure! 

Anyway, I've had a fixation about designing some kind of wall panel ever since I started Dunnknit Designs as I simply want to showcase how utterly beautiful un-spun Merino Wool is, with it's super soft texture and stunning colours.   

So I trod carefully with my initial 'Dad chat' as I'm sensitive about going about new ideas and never want Dad to feel that he's having his 'arm twisted' to help me out.  Hence the discussions went well.  Dad loves a challenge and I've certainly put him to the test this time.  Honestly, I think he gets more excited than me about things sometimes.  He's loved every minute of this one and of course it took time because we had to get it right.  After all it's all in the preparation isn't it with any project?  The planning for this one and the work behind the scenes has definitely taken more time than any other project to date anyway!

So obviously I'm not going to give all of our secrets away of how we did it, but here is the result.

  Yes, it's a wooden backed, Merino Wool work of Art for a wall and this is my very first design that I have finished only this week and as always I couldn't wait to share!  

It's not been without it's stresses though.  Not only has the wood backing been a challenge but the tools to actually 'paint with wool' have been handmade too.  That one was Dad's idea to make my life easier and to make things a tad easier on my battered old fingers.  He's an absolute genius!

So how did we do it?  Well that's our secret.  I hope you like it though.  One thing I can tell you is that It's a very tactile piece and one of those items that when you see it, you just have to touch it.  It's so unique that it's almost difficult to describe and even more tricky to photograph in order to get the perspective and scale of it.  It's definitely one to see to be believed and understood.

Let me try.....

It's big and round (about 40cm diameter)

It's approximately 4cm thick

It has a wooden backing (approx 1cm thick) and a Merino Woolly front panel (approx 3cm thick).

It hangs on the wall

It's super soft to touch

It's definitely full of colour

And this particular design was worked from a beautiful photograph that my amazing photographer cousin took of a landscape with a stunning sunset sky.  The colours were absolutely beautiful!  

Like any project, we've had our fails and triumphs, but we've stuck at it and got there in the end.  The method of making these lovely Wall Panels is now 'in the bag' as Dad said and now It's all up to me to get my Artist's head on and have the best time working with such beautiful tools and colours.  

Over the next few months we're planning to make a full collection.  Time will dictate how many I get to work on as chunky knit orders take priority but we'll see where we get to plus the fact that they take 'Yonkers ages' to make.   What I do know is that each piece will be a combination of Dad's amazing wood-working skills, (let alone the tools that he's made for the job) and my artistic eye for design.  Each piece will be elliptical and a one-off work of Art, not to be repeated.   How exciting is that?  I might even be up for doing commission work like I do with my needle artworks.  We'll see! 

So that's it for this week.  After a busy bank holiday weekend last week here at Dunnknit Designs HQ and a rowing win in York it's been a quick and very busy four days.  Of course we've got the Royal Wedding looming and maybe something special on the discount front from little old me soon!  I'd best get my planning head on again.

Now where did I put my sketch book?

Oh and good luck with GCSE exams if your household is about to be turned into a few weeks of unavoidable stress like ours is.  (It's a good job working with giant Merino Wool is great therapy)

Until next time

Claire xx

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