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Artist creates wool coat for Cumbria barn

Sheep's wool is being used to transform a remote barn in Cumbria into a giant art installation.

As part of the National Wool Week initiative, the 18th century building near Brough is being covered by fleece from Swaledale sheep.

Artist Steve Messam said his work, Sentinel, will celebrate the breed, and its role in changing the landscape.

It is part of a series of wool-based events throughout the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

These include one at the North Pennines Centre in Lanehead, Weardale, on Tuesday afternoon, spinning and weaving demonstrations at Stocksfield Community Centre, Northumberland, on Saturday, and a workshop in Allen Mill, Allendale on Sunday.

Steve Messam said: "This is one of the last barns of its type, which were known as 'hogg houses' because year-old sheep, or hoggs, were gathered in them overnight or during the day if the weather was particularly bad.

"In many ways the hardy Swaledale brought about the demise of barns like these, because they were so tough they no longer needed protection from freezing winter weather.

"I wanted to somehow link the barn with the sheep breed.

"It clings to the hill like the sheep, but I also like the relationship between the barn and the reed as points in the history of agriculture and this landscape."

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