Art at Freehold Yarn Co: Jill Wignall, our artist-in-residence

Our window at Freehold Yarn Co.

Our window at Freehold Yarn Co.


As part of Art at Freehold Yarn Co. we'd like to welcome Jill Wignall, our artist-in-residence. 

Working from her studio in Lancaster, Jill's work is known for it's woodland feel and depth of colour, not to mention her skill with the needle. You might have seen her mural on our window when walking by!

For the duration of her residency, you'll be able to view and purchase Jill's work from our shop on Middle Street, Lancaster LA1 1LE. 

This residency will be a great opportunity to see the artist work and watch the process behind the items you've purchased. Jill will be working in shop often, with displays changing in an organic fashion - don't forget to visit often else you might miss something!

We sat down with Jill to find out a bit more about her, her work, and what inspires her as an artist.

What inspires you as an artist?

I’m inspired by nature, community tradition and customs. My work is mostly inspired by the walks I take in woodlands, on hills, beaches and around the Lakes. I collect natural objects on all of these walks and take them home to turn into embroideries and drawings. Local heritage also plays a big role in my work, I love to hear stories about traditional ways of life and customs and these stories are often retold in my work. 


Your Instagram always displays the most amazing collection of things that you've found. Tells us about adventures to find these items.

Ever since was little, I’ve been a treasure hunter. Shells were my favourite thing to collect as a child and I had boxes full. Now I like all sorts of things, from pine cones and feathers, to seed pods and pebbles. I love to go on walks on my own and spend time slowly meandering, really stopping to look, and take in the feelings that nature gives me. I love to take a flask of tea and my current favourite place to go is Clougha in Lancashire. I go all year round and love exploring and collecting in the woodland and heathland there. I had an amazing experience experience earlier in the year when a hare leapt up in front of me. I see Fly Agaric in the woodland and once a flock of goldfinches surrounded me as I drank my tea. It’s a magical place.


What is the inspiration behind your collection?

The woodland I just described is the inspiration behind my most recent work. I love to use natural materials like wool and cotton as I think they compliment the natural subjects in my pictures. I have lived in Lancaster for a little over a year and I’ve visited that woodland all year round. It feels like a grounding place that I’m often drawn to visit. When I’m there I feel at ease and often inspired. I’m also inspired by traditional belief in nature spirits and I am learning about how our connection to nature has changed over time. In the past people believed in the spirit of nature and that’s why you’ll see those spirits, represented as gnomes, fairies and elves, popping up in my work. I’m inspired by peoples connections with nature.

How would you describe the feel of the materials used in your design?

Ooh, at the moment they are so warm and cosy! I love the feel of natural materials like wools, felt and cotton. I often use repurposed materials and I love the feeling of those fabrics. They have an added texture and another story to tell. I am loving Autumn this year and don’t have that fear of Winter that I sometimes have and I think that’s because I feel that deeper connection to nature and the changing seasons than I used to. So the wooly texture of my current work gives me great comfort and grounds me in the season. 


You use a lot of recycled materials, why is this important for you?

Using recycled materials is really important to me. One thing I love about textiles are the stories they tell. When I find an old blanket in a charity shop, and I use it in my work, I think a lot about who used it, how they mended it, where they got it... Having an awareness of who came before us really helps me to feel part of something much bigger, which I like. It reminds me that I’m not that important, just one human in huge cycle of life. Using recycled materials is also really important to me because I care so much about nature. I’m really aware that when I but new things I’m using resources and I’m affecting the planet. So often the things I need and want already exist, I just have to hunt for them in a charity shop. 

To see Jill's work, pop into our shop on Middle St, Lancaster, LA1 1LE where they will be on display.