Teeswater fleece wedding dress star attraction at Hawes farming and fashion exhibition

Inside the Teeswater Year exhibition at the Dales Countryside Museum.

A wedding dress made from Teeswater sheep fleece is the show stopper at a new farming and fashion exhibition at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.

Nidderdale textile artist Yvonne Le Mare has created the dress and other garments to demonstrate the potential for the local wool crop and show off the distinctive, curly locks of the Teeswater.

Her garments are exhibited with photographs taken by Melissa Peakman, who has documented Teeswater sheep and their breeders over the course of a year.

A Teeswater Year – Farm, Fleece, Fashion opened last Friday night, with a crowd of farmers in attendance, and will run until April 22.

Nidderdale documentary photographer Melissa Peakman said: “I’ve been following and photographing the Teeswater sheep breed for the last couple of years, visiting farms in North Yorkshire to put together images for the exhibition.

“The Teeswater Sheep Breeders’ Association and local farmers and sheep breeders have supported me along the way.  People have come together to crowdfund printing costs for the exhibition, which will promote Teeswater sheep to a wider audience.

“Also along the way I met Yvonne Le Mare. For the exhibition, she has created a seamless ‘nuno-felted’ wedding dress incorporating more than half a kilo of Teeswater locks as a show stopper piece.”

Museum manager Fiona Rosher said:  “A Teeswater Year will give people an insight into the life and traditions that the Teeswater supports, in fields, lambing sheds and show rings.

“Melissa Peakman’s sometimes gritty photos contrast with Yvonne Le Mare’s beautifully crafted, colourful feltwork.

“It is a must-see for anyone interested in farming or textiles.

“It was good that so many Dales people came in for the opening event on Friday.”

The Teeswater fleeces used by Yvonne Le Mare are from Andrew Fisher of Well House Farm in Low Laithe, Harrogate.

People can get in touch with Melissa Peakman through her Facebook page, MJ Peakman Photography, or via email at TeeswaterYear@gmail.com