Sunday 21 June 2009
At 5.20am on Sunday morning, the summer solstice, the first of three Jacob sheep was shorn. By 5.30 the spinners were spinning the yarn. At ten minutes to midnight that same day, the handloom weavers threw the last shuttle on their three metres of woven hound’s-tooth twill cloth.
Sponsored by Arts Council England, the Worshipful Company of Weavers and the Clothworkers’ Company, Coat in a Day was a contemporary ‘spin’ on a wager that first took place in 1811 between a landowner and a cloth merchant.
The original challenge was to get the fleece off the sheep and washed, the wool spun, the cloth woven and a gentleman’s hunting coat cut, stitched and lined in the span of a single sunrise to sunset.
Fiona Haser, artistic programmer at New Brewery Arts said, “ the original wager would have been an industrial-sized challenge to match. On our smaller scale we were delighted to be able to complete our cloth in the day.”
Instead of sticking slavishly to the original style of the coat, our resident textile designers Dorothy Reglar and Liz Lippiatt designed a thoroughly modern garment.
Twenty-five members of the Gloucestershire Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, led by ace spinner Frances Taylor, combed and spun the fleeces for a solid thirteen hours in front of a crowd of fascinated onlookers. Exhausted but happy they left at 8pm as the weavers, Sarah Beadsmoore and Tim Parry-Williams, continued their task into the night.
We demonstrated these ancient textile processes in front of a public audience and our coat was finished and shown in the main gallery at New Brewery Arts from 29 August until 10 September when it was auctioned as part of our Charity Arts Auction.
NEWS UPDATE: the coat, fittingly, was bought by the daughter of a traditional weaver.
See a video on Cotswold TV here.
More photographs on these links:
For information on New Brewery Arts or for press releases contact:
Annie Gould, Press Officer