Yuli came to England from Moldefjord, Norway at the age of 5 and studied the low hills of the Devon South Hams, wishing they were a bit bluer, colder and higher. Dartmouth felt like a goldfish bowl after the vast expanse of the fjord. In her early 30s she came to live in Chagford, Dartmoor, and felt more at home.
Her passion for wildlife and farming eventually gave way to textiles and weaving as a career choice, but she sees these interests as interconnected, part of an holistic approach to her work. It’s not just about the wool, it’s about how the sheep fit their landscape, their resilience, their management, welfare and the environment they graze.
Wool has always been her comfort and passion, arising from her heritage of Norwegian knitting, embroidery and weaving. She loves its tactility, history, culture and ecology. This runs deep, in a place like Moretonhampstead where she rents a chapel as her workshop and where wool was the mainstay for trade and employment until the 19th Century. Her English ancestors, the Tozers, were wool merchants and sheep farmers here.
A 17th Century law decreed that the dead must be buried in wool, and this ancient tradition inspiredYuli to develop a modern alternative to imported wooden coffins. Much of her work is making shrouds and soft, woollen coffins. Bellacouche – meaning beautiful resting place – is the name of Yuli’s former workshop in Chagford and adopted for her business name.
At a time when we are bombarded with choices,Yuli wishes to make offerings that grace our lives with a simpler vision using materials that are already at hand, traceable, local and of course, organic!