All these pieces are produced using material 100% grown and created in New Zealand that is totally natural and ecofriendly; from the sustainable way the animals are farmed, right through to the hand finished textiles. The fibres used are in totally natural colours only and there are no chemicals used in any part of the process.
The high personal involvement in all parts of the process between farm and garment results in products that are utterly distinctive.
The story starts with a small flock of rare grey sheep in Nelson, which had been brought to New Zealand from Denmark 20 years prior. These elegant and fine-boned breed of Grey sheep were traditionally farmed for their pelts and were not particularly sought after in the pragmatic south for their wool. The sheep historically originate from an island off the coast of Sweden, and their unique grey fleeces were perhaps adapted to keep out the keen north wind which scours this cold land. The wool was utilised by the Vikings for making the sails for their medieval longships.
The sheep were purchased and moved to a hill country farm situated in a picturesque valley in the Wairarapa, two hours drive from Wellington. The flock of blue grey sheep now have wool that is unusually silky, soft and lustrous. This is the result of many years of selective breeding and hard work, producing a flock of over twelve hundred animals with pure bloodlines.The flock is now a unique registered breed in their own right - the only flock of it's kind in the world and the rarest wool in New Zealand
The Owners personally attend the shearing, hand sorting and grading the fleece of each animal into three shades of grey as the sheep are shorn.The wool of the sheep comes in dark grey, mid grey and silver grey, and within these tones there is a whole greyscale spectrum which creates the marvellous, almost metallic sheen.
The fibre can be woven, knitted or felted, and these processes are used to produce the different designs we have available for you. If woven, then the yarn is taken to the historic weaving mill in Petone, Wellington.
The looms at the mill have their own special history. They date from the early 1890’s, came out to New Zealand in the early 1900’s and are the only six still in commercial operation in the world. Originally developed in England to make fine worsted textiles they are masterpieces of design and engineering. These were amongst the very first mechanical worsted looms ever designed at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and have the ability to still create heirloom textiles from a bygone era. The looms have require a large personal involvement as each loom can take up to two days to hand thread before weaving.Years were spent in the development of the undulating twill-derived weave, and the resulting fabric has a unique handmade and natural feel, quite different to other mass-produced commercial products. The rare lustrous grey fibres produce a fabric that has beautiful draping qualities, enhanced by the careful finishing to emphasise the lustre.