The story behind the yurt
Gill Greany in the yurt
I have a traditional Mongolian yurt in my garden filled with some beautiful textiles from around the world. I spend many happy hours here working on different textiles projects of my own and run small workshops teaching different styles and techniques of embroidery from India, Bengal and Pakistan as well as spinning, tapestry weaving and free warp textile sculpture.
My life-long love of textiles began when I was studying textiles as a student in Brighton and discovered an artist, Tadek Beutlich, who was producing large textural woven wall hangings using what were considered unconventional materials in the early 70’s such as sisal and jute. His work really inspired me and developed a passion for weave which wasn’t included in my art textiles course, so I started to teach myself by wrapping wools around chair legs and knitting on enormous needles to try and recreate some of the amazing work I had seen. I have since been lucky enough to work with Tadek on several occasions learning about his ‘free warp tapestry’ and also organised a three day workshop with Tadek in Countesthorpe.
Whilst still a student I went to an inspiring exhibition called ‘The Turcoman of Iran’ where they had set up a traditional yurt filled with fantastic Central Asian textiles and artefacts from the different Turkman tribes. So began my love of tribal textiles and led me to eventually setting up a yurt in the back garden.
I am a regular visitor to the Turkman Gallery in London where I have bought some beautiful textiles including a bridal hanging traditionally hung in the yurt and have learnt so much from Omar who runs the gallery.
I have travelled to some interesting places, including Papua New Guinea where we lived for two years and where I learnt about bark cloth. I most recently visited India and was lucky enough to learn some traditional embroidery techniques from Laylu, a Rabari woman, in a village in the Kutch and also collected many lovely textiles along the way. Whilst in Kolkota we visited the West Bengal Crafts Centre and met some outstanding embroiderers who showed us their exquisite kantha work. My family have also collected textiles for me on their travels and as a result I have some exquisite silk ikat from Uzbekistan, old pieces of Banjara work from India, pulkari embroidery from Pakistan, kantha work from Bangladesh, Miao embroidery from China and some Bedouin costume from Oman!
I have taught creative textiles in schools for many years and enjoy using traditional textiles as a starting point in my teaching. I have always loved teaching and have always been inspired by those I teach.
Wendy Doughty in a workshop
Wendy runs inspiring workshops teaching fairisle knitting and hooked rag rugging in the yurt.
"As a maker with a particular interest in using vintage fabrics to create stylish, functional objects, I consider myself to have a keen eye for detail. I trained in Illustration, worked for designer, Zandra Rhodes, and as a retail merchandiser for Habitat before becoming Head of Textiles at a large secondary school."