Wool Beach Lodge

04 . 07 . 19

​Our local beach of Porthtowan has an interesting new addition for the next week; Wool Beach Lodge is a pop-up exhibition presented by The Campaign for Wool showcasing wool as a performance related fibre and its extreme versatility. Hosted at The Boardroom (part of the Blue Bar at the top of the beach) and running until Saturday July 13th, as well as providing an exhibition space to show the best innovative and traditional uses for wool they are also running a programme of events that highlight the trans-seasonal versatility of wool from yoga and surfing sessions through to films, talks and a wilderness survival workshop.

Several years ago we worked with our friends Justin and Hannah at Solidwool to turn an off-cut from a sheet of their innovative composite material into a surfboard fin. Solidwool take wool from Herdwick sheep (that would have been used in the manufacture of carpets years ago, until the industry in this country declined and left large flocks of hardy upland sheep without much purpose) and set it in a bio-resin to produce a fibreglass-style composite material that can be moulded in to chairs or used in applications like knife handles or even surfboard fins. That prototype fin is being displayed at Wool Beach Lodge on one of our hollow wooden surfboards (an 8’0” Pieces of Eight shaped by Ian, one of our first workshoppers) and it’s great to be part of an event celebrating natural fibres.

As well as Solidwool products on display there are also garments by our friends at Finisterre who have done amazing work in recent years to help regenerate a flock of rare Bowmont sheep here in the UK. For British surfers wool is a great option because it is a great thermal regulator; it is naturally breathable and can absorb and release much more moisture vapour (twice as much as cotton and thirty times as much as polyester) helping to regulate temperature. Natural lanolin oils in the fibre make it water resistant and hard-wearing, so a wooly jumper or woolen base layers and underwear are a great choice for pre and post surf.

As well as the traditional and obvious examples of wool products (clothing, blankets and carpets) and the innovative (surfboard fins and chairs), there are also a few surprises, such as a large basket of tennis balls (sitting next to a screen showing Wimbledon) – did you know that the yellow felt on tennis balls was traditionally wool felt and still contains wool because of the natural elasticity and resilience caused by the crimp of the fibre.

Sheep consume organic carbon by eating plants and store this in their fleece. Fifty percent of a fleece’s weight is pure carbon stored in a durable, wearable form.

Highlights from the Programme of events at Wool Beach Lodge include a talk from Finisterre’s Product Director Debbie Luffman about how they use wool and their Bowmont project at 7pm on Tuesday July 9th, and the British military’s chief survival expert John Hudson in conversation (leading a walk and talk) at 11.30 and (walk) and 1pm (talk) on Saturday July 13th.

Our dear friend Ben of Woodfired Canteen laid one of his long tables for a press dinner on the opening evening.  What a view!

If you’re in the area over the next week then do stop by and check it out. And whilst you’re in Porthtowan, we’re only up the hill if you want to stick your head in the workshop and say hi.

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