Spinning demo and wool fashion and art set to wow at Newdegate

Email Shannon Verhagen
Newdegate farmer Fanny McDonald is hoping to bring something new to this year's wool fashion show.
Camera IconNewdegate farmer Fanny McDonald is hoping to bring something new to this year's wool fashion show.

Every year, the crowd at Newdegate Machinery Field Days is wowed by a spectacular showcase of woollen wares and this year will be no different.

Not only will ‘wearable art’ make an appearance on the catwalk for the Dyson Jones MerinoSnug Fashion Parades, but plans are afoot to take a step back to years of yore and watch the art of spinning.

For the past decade, Newdegate farmer Fanny McDonald has gone out of her way to bring spectators a unique show to remember.

And together with fellow fashion section co-ordinator Judy Butcher, they have assembled a myriad of creatives from across the State to showcase the many ways to use Merino.

Among them is award-winning Capel textile artist Val Hornibrook, who uses wool produced on her property to make “wearable art” by transforming the fibre into durable felt.

“It’s amazing,” Mrs McDonald said.

“She’s competed nationally and even internationally, so for her to call up and be really happy to be involved in the parade was really great.”

Val Hornibrooks' wearable art “Creative Corrugations” was inspired by farm sheds and will feature in this years' show.
Camera IconVal Hornibrooks' wearable art “Creative Corrugations” was inspired by farm sheds and will feature in this years' show. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

Mrs Hornibrook will be showcasing five pieces she has created over the past seven years, including an outfit inspired by farm sheds called ‘creative corrugations’ (pictured).

“I’m quite happy and thrilled to be asked to come,” she said. “They have just been at home and it will be lovely to wake them up and let people see what out-of-the-box things you can do with Merino wool.”

A new addition to the showcase will be demonstrations of the processes involved in turning wool from the raw product into a workable yarn, including carding — where the wool is combed and disentangled — spinning and weaving.

Upon putting her feelers out about the idea, she has since been overwhelmed by the response, with the phone ringing off the hook with creatives keen to get involved.

Now I have quite a lot of ladies who are involved in the creative industry, with growing their own wool, dying their own wool, spinning, and one is also a felt artist.

Fanny McDonald

“I think it’s really great to have these creative industries — they all work with Merino wool, they all love it, they’re coming to the Field Days, they’re doing a demonstration and being part of the parades and they’re super excited.”

With the array of artists involved, Mrs McDonald said the parades would be as “varied as it has ever been,” with wearable art, one-off creative pieces, activewear, casual wear and occasion wear.

Australian Wool Innovation will also provide a collection.

Perth-based feltmaker Lenore Fairfield will be supplying hats, jackets and other clothing items made from Merino for the shows, which she said she was looking forward to with “great anticipation”.

“I was very flattered to be asked,” she said.

I use fine Merino wool, mostly 18-19 microns because it felts beautifully with pure silk.

Lenore Fairfield

“I’ve been felting about 20 years — it’s a lovely hobby to have... which is useful, sustainable and biodegradable.”

Seven parades — which Quality Apartments Banksia Gardens Albany are providing accommodation vouchers for — will run over the two days, with four on the Wednesday and three on the Thursday.

And Mrs McDonald hoped to “amp it up” with some 1970s and 1980s tunes for the models to walk down the runway to.

We’re hoping for a really entertaining show as well as looking at the fashion and wowing people with the creativity that these artists can do with wool.

Fanny McDonald

Read the full Newdegate Machinery Field Days program here.

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