“I was born in Norway and although I have lived most of my life in Devon, the traditional weaving and knitting heritage of Norway has deeply influenced me since I was old enough to hold needles to knit with.
I trained and worked as a weaver in the 1980’s, some of that time worked as a researcher at Coldharbour Mill Working Wool Museum. At the end of that decade I switched to felt making when the craft was relatively unheard of. The Devon Guild of Craftsmen had to create the category for me! At that time I made all the felt by hand, using the ancient process of applying water and friction to the wool, to make the felting happen.
I made my first shroud in 1999, in response to an exhibition entitled “Treading Lightly” – illustrating how makers can work in a sustainable way within their craft discipline. The question that came up for me was “how can we humans connect with the true natural state if we are so disconnected with the concept of our own deaths”? The thought terrified me, but I found the very physical process of making a large papoose for a human body unexpectedly cathartic.
~ Yuli Sømme M.A. (Textiles), Feltmaker & Bellacouche Owner
This is my ‘bunad’, the national costume of Norway, made for me by my Aunt and which I wore for dancing and special occasions.
About Iah Michel
Originally from Scotland, Iah moved to Devon 12 years ago.
“My love affair with textiles started when I learnt to knit at age 4 years. From there I learnt all the skills which I still depend on today, sewing, crochet and felting. My ethos for life is to live as sustainably as possible, which encompasses my personal life as well as my career.
I’ve been working under Yuli’s guidance for 2 years now and have progressed from general assistance to producing Leafcocoons as an apprentice. With my involvement in this business as well as working at a re-use centre and running my own textile/craft business I feel I am achieving my goals to create and be happy in my work.” ~ Iah Michel