The Nettle Dress

Feature Documentary Showing

Saturday 28th September, 11am

Manchester Craft and Design Centre

‘Exquisite, beautiful and inspiring’ Sir Mark Rylance

THE STORY

Textile artist Allan Brown spends seven years making a dress by hand, using only the fibre of locally foraged stinging nettles. This is ‘hedgerow couture’, the greenest of slow fashion and also his medicine. It’s how he survives the death of his wife Alex, which leaves him and their four children bereft, and how he finds a beautiful way to honour her. ‘Grasping the Nettle’ is at the heart of this story.

The challenge of making zero-carbon clothing means relearning ancient crafts: foraging, processing, spinning, weaving, cutting and sewing. Making a dress this way becomes devotional and healing. ‘While making the dress over all these years, I felt like I was being transformed by the nettles rather than the other way around, ’ says Allan. ‘When Alex was ill and going through chemotherapy, as soon as I began spinning yarn, I felt calmer. It became much more than just a piece of cloth; it’s been woven with the stories of people who know and love you.’

The dress is made up of 14,400 feet of thread, each one representing hours of loving attention. Finally, the dress is worn in the woods where the nettles were picked, by Oonagh, one of Allan’s daughters. Director Dylan Howitt says: ‘This is a story about the deep value of creativity and imagination and a slow, mindful craft that is more in tune with the natural world.

THE NETTLE DRESS a feature documentary UK 2023 / 68 minutes / BBFC 12A PRODUCED, DIRECTED, FILMED AND EDITED BY DYLAN HOWITT FORAGED, SPUN, WOVEN AND SEWN BY ALLAN BROWN

EVENT INFORMATION
Saturday 28th September, 11am
Space2, Ground Floor
Tickets £9
BOOK ONLINE
Suitable for ages 12+. Under 16s to be accompanied by an adult

THE NETTLE DRESS from Dylan Howitt on Vimeo