Wool conference coming to the Isle of Man

By by Courier reporter newsdesk@iomtoday.co.im Twitter: @iomnewspapers in Other News

A conference about wool is coming to the island this autumn.

Karin Flatoy Svarstad, an artist specialising in 3D sculptures in felt, began the travelling conference to highlight the problems facing farmers of the rare Viking breeds of sheep, which can be found across the North Atlantic.

As man-made fibres become more popular, blankets being replaced by duvets and wooden floors by carpets, the fleeces are becoming worthless.

In the Faeroes, the fleeces were routinely burnt.

This waste of the unique fleeces moved Karin into action.

Her response was to bring like-minded people together.

In the Faroes, this has already made a big difference as markets have been found for the fleeces.

This year, the seventh in the series, the conference is coming to the Isle of Man.

Based at the Manx Museum and the iMuseum, the conference will be a combination of lectures from international speakers, farm and mill visits, fairs and a fashion show at University College Isle of Man.

Delegates will visit Laxey Woollen Mills and the loaghtan exhibition at the Hodgson Loom Gallery.

Spread over four days, delegates are already booked from as far as California, Australia and South Africa with many more coming from the UK, Scandinavia and the Western Isles of the North Atlantic.

Organisers say that it is the aim of every conference to make a difference to the local economy, both with concern of their own particular breed and among the wider population.

A big part of the conference is concerned with expertise and the widening of contacts and markets.

It will boost local hotels and restaurants along with the retail trades. With progress well underway, the Conference is looking for sponsorship to help build a lasting and positive legacy. One ambition is to follow next year with a ’fleece, fibre and food’ event on the island.

There are a few spaces left for the full conference and day tickets will be released later this month.

For more details, ciair www.viking-sheep.org or contact either of the organisers pat.rhaa@gmail.com or npattinson@mcb.net

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