A SIDDINGTON weaver got the opportunity to meet Prince Charles last week at the Cambrian Mountains Wool International Design Challenge.

Rebecca Connolly’s interest in provenance led her to submit a design to the competition earlier this year and was selected as one of their designers to be featured at the event.

The event was staged by the Cambrian Mountains Wool Group at Nanteos Mansion near Aberystwyth to showcase the pieces designed and made by their 38 selected designers, of which Rebecca was one, with her low bench upholstered in hand-woven cloth.

Invited guests included business partners who collaborated in the Challenge, such as the British Wool Marketing Board, and businesses playing a part in taking this ground-breaking concept forward.

The appearance of Prince Charles was not known to Rebecca until close to the day itself.

“In the lead up to the event we were asked to provide details for security clearance and the invitation now called the event a ‘VIP Reception’,” said Rebecca. “We were left guessing.”

When Rebecca and other designers arrived at the isolated country house where the event was being held, they were met by a swathe of security staff.

The event opened with coffee and the opportunity to talk to other designers and to view all the pieces crafted from the same wool, before the guest of honour arrived.

“On the arrival of HRH Prince Charles, we stood by our work and he was escorted around the room, each designer being introduced in turn,” explained Rebecca.

“We shook hands and talked about the colours and patterns of my design originating from a visit to Iceland.

“He enquired about the space needed for the tools of my trade, my looms.

“He was most amused that my son was impatient to reclaim the conservatory for his bikes, currently being shared with a big old loom.”

Rebecca completed an AS/A2 qualification in Textiles at Cirencester College and has been studying part time for her degree for over six years since then. She graduated from Bath Spa University with a first class honours degree in Textile Design, specialising in weave this week.

She has also been selected to exhibit at the New Designers showcase in The Business Design Centre, Islington last month.