A QUESTION OF (HAVE) KNOTS
2007 -2010, Oil on Linen, 85 x 220 cm
A (true) Australian Fairy Story.
A few years ago, two retired teachers decided to create the best wool in the world, the mythical Golden Bale. And by selectively breeding the right animals and nurturing them with special diets in sheds, by matching each sheep’s personalities with that of their room-mates (seriously!) and by fitting them with individually fitted jackets to protect the fibre, within a few years they achieved their goal. Even more rare than the prized Vicuña of the high Andes, this fibre is so fine it defies both conventional processing equipment and the parameters once thought to define the biological limits - indeed, it is half the thickness previously believed to the possible minimum.
This couple, in their 70’s, are an incongruous sight at the Milan fashion shows, but their unique product has earned them relationships with the world’s most respected fashion houses. They also produce their own garments. In a nondescript shed in Melbourne’s outer north, Ukrainian workers quietly craft the world’s rarest wool into knitwear. With heads bowed and nimble fingers dancing, this is no easy job, as the equipment was never designed for so fine a fibre. From Benalla to the boutiques of Bel Air, the finished garments retail for thousands.