From sheep shearing to the small screen: Bath Spa student features on BBC 2 showThursday, 24 May, 2018
Part-time Bath Spa University MA Design: Fashion and Textiles student and full-time shepherdess Katie Allen recently took to the small screen as she and her British woollen textiles company, Loopy Ewes, featured on BBC 2 show, Back to the Land with Kate Humble.
Cotswolds-based Katie balances her studies with real-world experience by running her own business. She owns a flock of rare breed Portland and Castlemilk Moorit sheep that graze the valleys around Cirencester in Gloucestershire; Katie then works with their wool to produce hand-crafted, contemporary, artisan homewares including cushions, throws and sheepskin rugs, which she sells online.
During the TV show, presenter Kate Humble took viewers on a tour of the UK to meet Katie and other inspirational entrepreneurs who are spearheading a rural revolution.
Katie said: “I am beyond amazed and proud to be among a group of fantastic rural businesses described as ‘passionate, headstrong, pioneering trailblazers’! I don’t come from a farming family, so it’s been a tough journey to follow with lots of highs and lows, but this is such a wonderful validation of all my hard work.
“Every day I feel like I am learning more, both as a shepherdess and as a maker. The support and guidance from tutors at Bath Spa University has been invaluable and the course has given me the opportunity to understand my practice and the market I need to take my work into, on an entirely different level.”
“The film crew that spent the day with me were very talented and they captured the genuine and passionate story behind my business – I’m so lucky to be able to share my wool journey with others.”
Through her partnership with the Natural Fibre Company in Cornwall, Katie’s fleeces go through a scouring, carding and spinning process to become her chunky knitting yarn. The yarn is then organically dyed to her colour specification.
Katie added: “I knit with the yarn in my studio using a hand-powered knitting machine to create very special pieces with authenticity and provenance. It is very rewarding to work with such beautiful and sustainable material. I really enjoy connecting my customers with rural skills and the feeling of owning something truly handcrafted and evocative of the British countryside.”
In 2017, through a University programme, Katie was shortlisted for a National Trust ‘Emerging Designer Maker, Artisan and Craft Award. She was also highly commended in the 'Best Rural Clothing and Accessories’ category for the Rural Business Awards 2017, and received a commendation for 'enhancing the versatility of British wool' in Bradford Textiles Society's 2017 Design Competition.
To find out more about Katie’s business, you can visit www.loopyewes.co.uk or search for ‘Loopy Ewes’ on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
You can watch Back to the Land with Kate Humble on iPlayer and follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #backtotheland.
Interested in studying Design: Fashion and Textiles?
The MA Design: Fashion and Textiles course is taught at Bath Spa University’s Sion Hill campus and offers ambitious individuals the opportunity to become designers, designer-makers or textile artists, either within the professional industries or to set up small businesses working independently or in small teams.
The programme of study allows students to freely develop creative design practice and thinking in conjunction with valuable marketing and business skills, building comprehensive understanding, vision and direction.
Visit the course page for more information.