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Louise Walker from Chelmsford talks to Amie Mulderrig about her woollen creations
Mention the word knitting and images of novelty Christmas jumpers, over-long striped scarves, and scratchy mittens laboriously crafted and gifted by family members immediately spring to mind.
They are often worn for a day and relegated to the back of the wardrobe.
But not for 22-year-old Louise Walker from Chelmsford, who is hoping to spark a knitting revolution with her woollen creations.
“It started about two years ago,“ she explains. “I was doing my degree in commercial photography at Arts University College, Bournemouth.
“I loved what I was studying, I was good at taking pictures, but there was something missing. That something was knitting.
“As soon as I learnt to knit, it got to a point where I was knitting all the time. I decided there was nothing for it, but to combine the two.“ In fact, what Louise decided to do was to knit a series of wigs from wool, basing the designs on vintage Hollywood styles, and take photographs of them for her final project under the title Wooly Head.
“I turned to my mum Carol, who is a hairdresser, for help with the designs,“ says Louise. “She drew little pictures for me and explained how to create finger waves for a 1920s flapper hairstyle in pink wool, and described how 1960s beehives were built up, so I decided to use wools with different textures and colours to create depth.“ The result of Louise’s endeavours was a first class honours award and a series of incredibly creative wigs, which are rapidly becoming popular.
“It started out as nothing more than a personal project for me to pass my course, but it’s turning into something else completely,“ Louise laughs. “I’m in talks with a knitting magazine to create patterns for them and I’m looking to create my own wig patterns to sell to people.
“A lot of cancer and alopecia sufferers have been in contact and it’s great to think I’m giving them confidence through my creations. I like the fact it’s giving them a halfway point between an itchy wig and a hat and that I’m helping people.
“Some people have said they’d like to wear them in the winter time as an alternative to woolly hats, which is great too.“ At present Louise is juggling her time working for a small knitters’ in Camden and fulfiling orders for her creations. As well as wigs, she creates animal-inspired scarves, and as such, is now in talks with a luxury brand to create her own children’s line of goods.
“Photography has taken a back seat,“ Louise says. “I like taking pictures, but only if they feature knitting.
“People spend their whole lives trying to find out what they want to do and at 22 I’ve discovered exactly what I want : knitting is my whole life, it’s my passion.“ To find out more about Louise Walker visit: www.louisewalkerphotography.com