Mission: HATTERS EXTRAORDINAIRE!
One of my favourite festivals is Smallworld which is held in Headcorn, Kent. Early one morning just as the sun was coming up I met Zara and Paul. We shared a sunrise together and then chatted about wool as Zara was wearing this amazing crochet hood, and when she told me she had hand-spun the yarn I instantly fell in love! She told me the name of their company but with a hazey early morning festival head on, I totally forgot it. I spent many hours trying to remember and searching different things online to find it (I remembered it was something to do with spinning or spirals) but no luck, It was only by chance that another crochet artist I follow called Of Mars shared a photo of something that she had made with Innerspiral wool that I was reconnected with these beautiful people!
Paul and Zara met at a party in 2008 and got together soon after. They had been going out for about a year when they went to a friends house to learn how to knit. It was a revelation for Paul, Zara said “I have never seen anyone become so obsessed with anything ever so fast in all my life. One minute it’s knitting, the next it’s, ‘this yarn is no good, I want real wool!’ So the next thing I know, we have this super duper Majacraft spinning wheel so he can spin his own.”
They went to Boom Festival in 2010 and Zara was completely entranced by a stall selling handmade felt. “I couldn’t get enough of this tactile, beautiful, alive feeling material. Very quickly we realised this is wool, we have LOTS of wool, we can make this ourselves! Felting started as a hobby, and then suddenly a hobby out of control, and then a life! We’ve been evolving and developing on this mad spiral – ever since and it just gets better and better.” Zara said she’s known her whole life she wasn’t cut out for the office lifestyle, and would always be an artist of some kind. “We have turned our art into a lifestyle, a brand, a living and it’s taken on a life of it’s own.”
After getting married in 2011 they moved into an old stone cottage that was once part of an old candle making factory in Somerset. “We have converted it into our perfect zone for living and working. The second bedroom is our studio and wool store, then we have a small outbuilding which we are converting this year to be our new dye studio.” In order to achieve their dream lifestyle they had to overcome some big challenges. “There’s that point where you have to go ‘this is happening’ and leave the safety net behind. Whether that’s the security of living with parents, a job, your friends, or a life that makes you unhappy. Over thinking it, then waiting for the right time is impossible. If you have an idea of what you want to do with your life, make it happen and get involved straight away otherwise that dream will fade faster than you realise.”
Now reaping the benefits of all their hard work Paul said one of their proudest moments was “selling a felted pixie hood to Brian and Wendy Froud at 3 Wishes Faery Festival in 2012, it was pretty amazing!” Recently they have started doing collaborative projects with OfMars and Erin from The Red Thread Weavings, their US stockist. “They are fibre artists we really admire for their unique styles. Full of epic colour, texture, shape and general awesomeness in their different approaches.” They also admire the work of Designs by Amber, Girl With a Hook, Folk Owl, and TPF Faerie wear.” Zara also spoke of Katwise – who is a lady I myself have been following over the last couple of years. “She has marketed herself and her beautiful clothes incredibly well, and she is like a great big shining light in the tunnel for the rest of us. I call her Queen of Etsy. We would love to make her and her fella a felted hat each!”
Innerspiral have big plans for the future and are planning a trip to the USA to collaborate with OfMars and Erin. Aside from that, they will be attending a number of events this year with their boutique. “We’re planning on doing a couple of festivals and some big fibre events. We are also hoping to go back to the 3 Wishes Faery Festival again with our good friends Trixie, Avalon and Bubbles, otherwise known as the Seelie Court Faerie Circus. It is amazing to have friends who inspire you and then you re-inspire them, like a constantly self re-enforcing spiral of awesomeness. ” In the long term they are hoping to start an open studio and fibre art space where they can exhibit, make and sell their work alongside others.
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