Australia produces the worlds finest wool. The Australian Merino and particularly the “Peppin” Merino is the basis of Australia’s fine wool industry. More than 80% of all Australian sheep are pure Merino. In the Middle Ages the Spanish Merino was highly prized and jealously guarded. The Australian Merino derives its name and basic appearance from the famed Royal Flocks of Spain. The first Merino sheep arrived in Australia in 1797. John Macarthur and Samuel Marsden were notable early pioneers of the wool industry. They immediately began selective cross breeding of their Merino’s with other breeds in the colony. The Australian Merino we know today is the product of two centuries of careful selection and crossbreeding by Australian woolgrowers.
The Australian Merino is not a single homogenous breed but a number of “strains” of sheep bred for and conditioned by Australian unique climate and environment. The “Peppin” Merino is the dominant strain running through the Australian flock. As many as 70% of today’s Australian Merino sheep are said to be directly descended from the sheep bred by the Peppin Brothers at their “Wanganella” Stud in the Riverina.
Our Brilliant Wool Merino garments start with fine pure wool Australian Merino knit or woven fabric. Lengths of natural merino knit or woven fabrics are stretched over painting frames. The wool is hand painted with special dyes which give the wool the “Brilliant” colours normally found in hand painted silks. The painted wool is left to air dry and then steamed in an autoclave. This steaming process “fixes” the colours, pre-shrinks the wool and gives the fabric a lovely sheen and soft cashmere like handle.
In 2002-2003 Brilliant Wool was chosen by Austrade (The Australian Government Export Agency) to be showcased in North America. The hand painted “Brilliant Wools” were showcased in Toronto, New York and Los Angeles. The painted wools in particular generated international interest. Today Brilliant wool produces stunning hand painted woven and knitted pure woollen fabrics. These master crafted wools are carefully hand tailored into a range of jackets, wraps and scarves. Drape, colour and a “cashmere like” handle are the hall mark of the painted wools. Brilliant Wool combines the brilliant colours and lustre of hand painted silk with the elegance, drape and warmth of fine quality wools. Our range of hand painted wool scarves, shawls and Ruana is unique and world class.