Skills Unearthed – Devon Kersey
Rather wonderfully earlier this year I was awarded a bursary by Bhaam, to create new work based on the skills and industry of the Blackdown Hills. This has allowed me to expand the research I did last year to create a length of Devon Kersey. While I can’t vouch for the absolute historical accuracy of my fabric, I am weaving a rather sturdy fabric which would be suitable for working men’s or women’s clothing as it was in the 15th and 16th centuries. Tiverton was in particular the centre for Kersey production by 1600 due to the hard wearing qualities of the Devon Longwool fleece used.
The weave draft I have found for kersey produces a double-sided fabric, which has allowed me to use two colours for the two warps reflecting the colours of the local area. I’m nearing the end of the length of fabric and I’m now looking forward to working with Sarah George, a photographer, to create images of my work in the landscape linked to the woollen industry. We have our eyes on a waterwheel that would allow my fabric to hang inside it! I am quite prepared for my kersey to look quite muddy and scarred by this process, but then that’s how kersey would have been treated by someone wearing it while ploughing the fields!