Jane Erskine Howard
Working with natural materials has always had a fascination for me. As a child I learnt to weave on a rigid heddle loom. I used fleece which I found caught on a barbed wire fence while on holiday in Cumbria. I twisted this into yarn and wove a small piece of cloth.
More recently in 2008, I kept a small flock of Herdwick sheep. After they were shorn, I had their wool spun by the Natural Fibre company in Cornwall. I dye the wool with acid dye and also natural plant dyes.
I weave the yarn into floor rugs, which are hard wearing, and colourful. The natural grey colour of the wool enhances the dyed yarn and harmonises the colours.
I use a Scandinavian weave structure called Krokbrogd, for my design source. This enables me to weave colourful patterns with just three shafts.
I also hand spin Romney Marsh, sheeps wool. I dye this two ply yarn with natural dyes to weave into blankets. This is a slow and painstaking task, which produces a warm and comforting material, which is ethically produced.