Wool Industry Showcase at World Champs

The best shearers and woolhandlers will headline the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Invercargill in February, but the event is about more than the battle for world titles on-stage.

A large variety of exhibitors will also make ILT Stadium Southland their home throughout the Championships in the Trade, Craft and Wool Expo to be held on the venue's Community Courts from Thursday 9 to Saturday 11 February.

Organising Committee Chairman Tom Wilson said the Expo was an important part of the World Championships.

"Right from the start of our planning, we wanted to make sure these Championships were a showcase of all aspects of the wool industry. We are delighted to have so many organisations from Southland and from throughout the country who are going to show the wares and their incredible creative talents for the thousands who will visit during the event," he said.

One such organisation is Creative Fibre Southland, who will be offering attendees the chance to try their hand at a variety of handcrafts.

Creative Fibre brings together people with a passion for fibre arts and crafts. The public will have the opportunity to try spinning, weaving, felting, tapestry work, wool needlepoint as well as other crafts.

Southland President Patricia Swale said the organisation's focus at World Championships was on letting people "have-a-go".

"We're going to have 10 to 15 people on-site every day because we want to cover all facets of Creative Fibre. There is so much that can be done with wool," she said.

"Some of our members have done very well in national exhibitions so we've really focused on quality. We'll be teaching spinning from a spindle and have a few older machines and a variety of wheels that people can try," Mrs Swale said.

A number of members will be working on a fleece-to-garment showcase which will take visitors through preparing the fleece, spinning, plying and on to the finished garment.

She is grateful for the support of the World Championship committee and sees the Expo as a great way to help keep the textile crafts alive.

"It does need an injection. We do have some younger members but most are older. Nowadays most people look for the quick-fix and you can buy things cheaply. In the past, it was done out of need when farmers' wives used to spin and knit garments for their families. Now people are so busy and you've got to have time when you craft. It's a time-consuming passion," she said.

Make sure you make time during World Championship Week to visit the Trade, Craft and Wool Expo as part of the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships, being held from 9 to 11 February at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill.


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