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DAY 6+7/7 Wool Masterclass @ Bergerie National, France

Perhaps this should have been part of Day 1/7, anyway...

La Bergerie Nationale de Rambouillet was created as an institution by Louis XVI (16th !) to become a model farm for the development of innovation and agriculture.  In 1786 the Bergerie acquired the renowned Merino sheep.  In the 19th century this flock came to play an important role in the improvement of sheep wool in many European countries and in the southern hemisphere through the export of its rams as sirens. Today, the Bergerie Nationale is a state domain, located 50km southwest of Paris and occupying 250 hectares of the 1,100 hectare estate.  The beautiful buildings have a strong likeness to Marie-Antoinette's estate at Versailles - my favourite part of Versailles ! I know she certainly visited the Château de Rambouillet (in seeing it apparently she exclaimed 'How could I live in such a gothic toadhouse!') with her husband, whether she made it up to the farm I don't know but I like to think she would have favoured it...

This was our home for the week.

Day 6 and 7 were spent working on our collective blog and we were also introduced to Paris design due LaboPull.  We were split in to groups of 3/4 during the week and each group was given a focus point, a descriptive word which we were to explore:



Elementary Design



______________ ______  _____

Which one was I part of??!


Mix of Materials
These were the words we originally brainstormed as a whole.  When we broke down to our smaller group we tried to dig more out of these words, really explore what stories and ideas could come out of these words.  We were all quite struck with the contrast of handmade/machinemade and this led us to look at more contrasts particularly anthropologically. The idea of place and what this constitutes and what are the connotations of place - rural/urban, city/suburb etc.  and then connecting this back to design we began to look at colour.  What would happen if you combined bright, artificial colours to the countryside ?? We were looking at this in terms of wool and how wool could be promoted to generations (younger in particular) that may not appreciate it's properties as much as older generations would.  How would colour positively alter wool's appeal?? 

We thought about how we could show this through imagery.  We could use photoshop to change the sheep to bright colours thus putting them in the context of the countryside but having the colourful element of the city?  This is what happened...

Some Google/Pinterest searching and our story began to unfold for us.  These sheep have been dyed by farmers, some out of desperation (to prevent thieving), some for decorative purposes (Tartan Day).  So the sheep have gone from being relatively inconspicuous to standing out a mile ! So much more can now be explored on this subject and I don't want to give away to much just yet! Back soon...

And to end this WONDERFUL week below is a photo of all the Irish cailíní in Paris on our final day (8/7 technically !!) Deirdre has been very indiscreetly photoshopped in by yours truly.  Think I'll stick to the wool.....

l-r (Fiona DalySinead Kane, Deirdre Duffy, Fiadh Durham, Ciara Harrison)

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