WITH Wool: The Art of the Possible
A Collaboration between Emily Carr University of Art + Design and Providence Lane Homestead
January 5, 2023
Biodegradable wool burial urns? How about 3-D printed felt acoustic panels? Wool tents?
Why not? . . . No, really. Why not??
Despite being entirely biodegradable, its abundance and its superior thermal qualities, wool continues to be largely under-used or even wasted in Canada, an undesirable by-product of the lamb industry.
WITH Wool: The Art of the Possible, a collaboration between Providence Lane Homestead and Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, is looking to uncover the potential of wool and inspire a new generation of designers, artists, engineers and forward-thinking problem solvers. By providing the basic building block – raw, untreated fleeces – and as much access and support as possible, Associate Professor and co-founder of the Material Matters Research Centre, Hélène Day Fraser and Tara Klager, shepherd and farmer at Providence Lane Homestead in Alberta, aim to spur research and innovation, recovery of past techniques and “future-steading” processes to reinvigorate the design community’s - as well as the public’s - perception of wool. With an eye on what can be achieved and the policy and governmental support needed to bring wool into the future of a progressive, regenerative, ethical and economically viable framework, WITH Wool: The Art of the Possible will be a community and a conversation. It will be equal parts laboratory and exhibit, weaving together art, agriculture, industry and craft.
With the saturation of synthetic, petro-based textiles refusing to decompose now filling landfills across the globe, the return to full-circle fibres grown out of and returning to their landscapes, seems inevitable. So what’s stopping Canada from taking its place in this cycle of growth, use and regeneration? For this initiative, participants will receive fleeces sourced in Western Canada and subjected to all the usual conditions of Canadian wool – nothing fancy, nothing exceptional. Under the instruction and with the support of Day Fraser, they will begin their own fibre journey, understanding the unique capacities, conditions and potential in the material they’re working with. With further hands-on, in-the-field expertise provided by Klager, participants will be given enriched opportunities to understand the impact of place on wool – the role sheep play in regenerative land management, animal welfare, the Western Canadian context and more. During the course of the project, this humble fibre will become the web and the foundation participants will use to connect past, present and future as they build out their vision of the art of possibility.
For more information or to speak to Hélène Day Fraser or Tara Klager about this exciting collaboration, please contact: