Wool Week: Christopher Duncan & Joe Yen

We love wool, and this week is Choose Wool Week, so we thought we’d get involved by doing a series of little interviews featuring some of our favourite New Zealanders working with wool.

Wool is a renewable and biodegradable fibre source, it’s beautiful, warm, versatile, natural, local and just plain lovely…

Christopher Duncan and Joe Yen of Tur agree:

How does wool feature in your work?
Chris: I like to work with fine black and natural-coloured merinos. As a warp, wool is surprisingly easy to handle, and it creates rich texture in the weft.
Joe: Wool is used throughout the clothes I make, from fine merino to wool gauze to heavy wool for coats.

What is it about wool you love?
Chris: I like that once washed, the fibres go crinkly like they were on the sheep.
Joe: I love the texture of wool, also all its functional properties such as preserving heat etc.

Can you remember the first woollen item you made?
Joe: It was a large merino kimono with a over-extended band in the front. I made it three years ago.
Chris: The first fibres I wove with were wool, they were a gift from a friend and were all odds and ends and differing colours – teal, yellow, variegated browns and a black. This piece still hangs on the door to my bedroom.

What was the most recent woollen item you made?
Joe: Funny enough I just finished making another one of those kimonos for a customer…
Chris: I recently completed a handwoven kimono, it’s a fine merino wool, black, with ecru-coloured merino and silk detailing.

Is there anyone using wool you particularly admire?
Joe & Chris: Our friend Lela Jacobs up the road at the keep. She is very intuitive with her fabrics, which is always a pleasure to see and touch.

Photos by Meighan Ellis

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