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Making more of Welsh organic wool

Wool is a wonderful, versatile, natural renewable resource but it is often undervalued. Llynfi Textiles, a design and clothing company, Ystrad Traditional Organics and Organic Centre Wales (OCW) have been working together to try and change all that. The team have been busy drumming up interest in wool through the Organic Wool Wales project, and are now organising an open day on the 9th of October in Carmarthenshire for sheep and wool businesses to see how they can build on the enthusiasm.

The Organic Wool Wales project, which has been running since 2011, commissioned 100m of fabric to be made from organic wool supplied by Ystrad Farm in Brechfa near Carmarthen to and then invited designers and garment makers across the UK to submit their ideas for showcasing the fabric. The result was a collection of Organic Welsh Wool including dresses, boots, bags, jackets, upholstery, a rocking chair and even a pair of bloomers!

'We wanted to show that we could produce fabric of the highest quality from Welsh organic wool and to demonstrate the range of uses it can be put to', said Sue James of Llynfi Textiles. 'The designers really did us proud; the collection is just stunning and really shows what can be done.'

This collection has been exhibited throughout the year at events all around Wales and the UK, and it has been attracting interest from designers, textile agents and retailers from around the world. The next stage is to bring organic businesses together to develop a supply chain to meet the demand of this exciting market.

'That's what the open day is all about; bringing together a group of individuals to create a working supply chain', said Tony Little from OCW. 'I am very excited about the prospects for Welsh organic wool. At the moment we are looking at the top end of the market, but if we can build up to a level where we are processing in batches of between 1-2 tonnes of raw fleece, we can bring the cost of production down significantly and the products will be within the reach of many more people.'

The open day will take place on Wednesday the 9th October between 10am until 4pm at Ystrad Farm, Brechfa, Carmarthenshire SA32 7QW.

Contact Tony Little for details: 01970 621632

Next story: 2013 Welsh Organic Producer Survey

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