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Zoë Quick

Making Mends: Weaving Woollen Wastes

Zoë's residency, ‘Making Mends: Weaving Woollen Wastes’, brings the ‘lost’ custom of woolgathering to the Custom House as a means to collaboratively explore relations between customs and wastes, places and times, with visitors, school children and local community groups.


Acknowledging relations between the vast mountains of textile waste generated in the west today, and the sharp decline in the value of British wool, Quick refers back to a time, at the peak of the Exeter Wool Trade, when Welsh wool was woven into Exeter Cloth. Exploring what it might mean to weave a Welsh yarn into the fabric of Exeter today, she frames her residency materially and symbolically around the acts of weaving and reparation.


Over the course of a week,  Zoë will process ‘waste’ wool from the Welsh uplands into yarn for making mends, inviting visitors to the Custom House to try their hand at carding and spinning and to join her in collaboratively mending a pile of blankets woven from ‘shoddy’ (reconstituted waste wool).  Zoë’s acts of mending during this residency will also include weaving Welsh yarns as stories and songs, as well as textiles, into the built fabric of the Custom House, in a performance that incorporates fragments of an old Welsh ballad.


She heartily invites you to join her! Come along and collaborate in our mending project, sharing skills and stories, and reflecting on the broader meanings of making mends with woollen wastes at the Custom House.


Could our tiny textile acts of repair have a ripple effect at the scale of a landscape?

Part of a pilot programme of artistic interventions curated by Honeyscribe for Exeter Custom House.
Generously funded by Exeter Canal and Quay Trust

Back to Residencies.

Public Events

Wednesday 5th October, 12.30-5pm 

& Friday 7th October, 10-5pm
Come and meet Zoë Quick in residence at Exeter Custom House  

Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th October, 10-5pm

Live performances at 12pm & 2pm
Zoë will be presenting live performances at 12pm & 2pm over the weekend.

Visitors will have the chance to chat to Zoë, learn some new skills and learn how the wool trade passing through Exeter Custom House played a key role in the cities history.

About Zoe Quick

Zoë Quick is an artist, architect and educator with over 20 years’ experience of working with cultural archives, landscapes and institutions, in the UK and overseas. Moving between texts and textiles, her work engages performance, storytelling and craft to enact relations between archives, communities and landscapes. Zoë is currently working on a practice-led PhD at University College London, which summons the old Welsh custom gwlana (woolgathering) as a means to address current debate over the future of the Welsh uplands. Following gwlana, this research seeks to tell ‘other stories’ of the British wool trade by gathering and transforming its wastes, exploring the transformative potential of woolgathering in the context of climate change, biodiversity loss and urgent questions of social and environmental justice.

Alongside her practice work, Zoë teaches on the Masters in Sustainable Architecture at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth. 

5-9 October 2022
Zoe Quick in residence

Exeter Custom House, 46 The Quay
Open daily 10am-5pm Free entry

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