A couple of months ago, I read about an exhibition taking place at the Rheged Discovery Centre in Penrith, Cumbria. It was called WOW: Wonder of Wool and the Art of Knit and Stitch, and was to showcase the work of twenty contemporary British artists and designers who use wool in their work. Imagine my delight, then, when I realised that we could combine viewing the exhibition with a visit we were planning to make to some of Jim’s family in Aspatria, just north of Cumbria.

I’d never been to the Rheged Centre before, and was very pleasantly suprised! Very modern, with three wholesome cafes, two lovely gift shops and a huge exhibition space, the centre has been designed with great care. This makes it a truly enjoyable place to stop off, with none of the usual depressing aura of the motorway service station in sight.

And the WOW exhibition wasn’t disappointing, either. The variety of work on display was fascinating! I wasn’t sure quite what to expect but the different ways the artists used wool was eye-opening, and took the viewer way beyond simple garment knitting. There were pom-pom sheep made by local schoolchildren, an aural display featuring noises from a working farm, and even knitted houses of horror – miniature knitted buildings where murders had taken place. Wowzer! I especially liked 3000 Hours, by Susan Crawford, which demonstrated the painstaking work involved in designing knitting patterns. I loved that she included a nearly-finished cup of tea in the display!

Here are some of my favourite pieces…

For more photos head on over to my Flickr set. Unfortunately the exhibition has finished now, but you can see more information on the Rheged Centre website here.

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