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'Sheep – from lamb to loom' - must see exhibition
17
Jul '09
It's been sparked off by the highly acclaimed art exhibition “Sheep – from lamb to loom” by leading artist Kate Lynch and has inspired a host of local groups to add their own individual impressions of how sheep play such a vital role in the area's economy.

The exhibition is being staged at The Folly in Settle – an impressive 17th century residence in the centre of this Dales market town and which is now the home of the Museum of North Craven Life.

The main part of the exhibition comprises over 40 original paintings – the result of three years fieldwork as artist Kate Lynch travelled throughout the West Country capturing the essence of the lives of Somerset sheep farming families.

In her highly original and evocative style, Kate Lynch has portrayed on canvas every aspect of sheep farming and wool production in both Somerset and in Devon. As well as depicting sheep on the farm at all seasons of the farming year, her paintbrush and charcoals have chronicled auctioneers at local sheep markets and the journey taken by wool as it leaves the farm, heads for the grading depot and then moves to the spinners and the weavers.

A book entitled “Sheep – lamb to loom” has been published to accompany the exhibition's UK tour. As well as showing all the work included in the exhibition there's a wonderful narrative accompanying each image.

And visitors to the exhibition can relish an extra dimension to their visual enjoyment thanks to sound recordist Alastair Goolden. His carefully recorded sounds and voices relating to many of the sheep farming topics covered in Kate Lynch's exhibition add an element of realism and atmosphere.

Anne Read, Honorary curator of The Folly, said the Kate Lynch exhibition was proving hugely popular with both local people and summer visitors to this part of North Yorkshire. But she was equally delighted by the response from the local community who have added their own “take” on how important sheep farming is to this area.

“It has given many local people an opportunity to put their own stamp on the exhibition,” says Anne Read.

Local schoolchildren have provided a vast array of artwork with sheep as the central theme while local Young Farmers Clubs have produced a film about sheep farming in the region.

“We've had support from local auctioneer Ted Ogden from the auction mart at Skipton and local firms using wool have been keen to explain how important wool is to their businesses. As well as a local farmer who uses wool to insulate the boxes he uses to package and mail-out his meat orders to customers, we've had a firm of builders who use wool for house insulation and even a company that is now selling all-wool coffins.

“This is proving to be a must-see exhibition, especially for those who are visiting the Yorkshire Dales for a holiday and want to take away a real understanding of how important sheep are to these upland areas,” said Anne Read.

Tim Booth, product development manager with the British Wool Marketing Board, said the exhibition focused on the importance of sheep and wool to rural upland communities.

“Kate Lynch's exhibition is something that shouldn't be missed by anyone with an interest in sheep and wool but there's so much more to see at the Folly in Settle. It's a real Yorkshire celebration of wool,” says Tim.

Sheep – from lamb to loom

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