The Nettle Dress at Regal Picturehouse | Green Screen

Greener Henley and Picturehouse Green Screen present this stunning documentary.

Picturehouse Team

30 Jan 24

Greener Henley & Picturehouse Green Screen are delighted to welcome director Dylan Howitt to a panel following our screening of his film, The Nettle Dressat Regal Picturehouse this February.

A modern-day fairytale and hymn to the healing power of nature and slow craft, The Nettle Dress is the story of textile artist Allan Brown, who spends seven years making a dress by hand just from 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 – and finds a beautiful way to honour her.

After the film, join us for a live panel discussion with the director and local experts Carol Crowdy and Romilly Swann, delving into the film's themes and exploring the wider issues. The discussion will be chaired by Felicity Bennett, Video Content Coordinator and the Head of Green Steering at Picturehouse. 

Director's Statement

Mark Rylance wrote that artists have a responsibility to tell 'love stories about nature…to awaken people to make a change'. 

I see our film as a love story about nettles, about connecting with the natural spaces where we live. It's about finding a slower, simpler, more connected way to do things. The value of mindful craft that is more in tune with the natural world. That very first day I filmed Allan picking nettles - splitting them to reveal their fibres and spinning them into thread - it seemed like something a bit magical. That sense of wonder never left me and kicked off a documentary journey that lasted years.

It's such a simple yet ancient process: making a beautiful very low-carbon dress by hand using a freely foraged plant. While making the film I filmed a whole series of transformations - from plant to fibre, fibre to thread, thread to cloth, cloth to garment. And in doing so showed how Allan himself was transformed in the process.

One audience member wrote: "The dress embodies something beyond anything as crass as monetary value, it is pure caring attention, grief, perseverance, faith and even magic". 

About Our Panellists


Carol has been spinning, knitting and making felt for over 25 years.  She has exhibited with the Henley Arts Trail, Oxfordshire Art Weeks and Craft in Focus, has chaired the Berkshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers and runs numerous workshops.
Carol is keen to encourage the use of local wool in daily life as a sustainable and versatile material. She established the Henley Show's fleece competition and has grown that into a good educational tool for both the public and farmers.  Making useful things out of locally available materials is good for our souls and good for the environment - we just need to work out how. 


Romilly is a specialist in native natural textiles. She grows and works with natural fibres and is a shepherdess, natural dyer, illustrator and writer living in South Oxfordshire. 
She has extensive experience in textile-related education and experimental archaeology. She is currently writing a book that uses natural dying and colour as a prism to look at our relationship with the natural world.


Dylan is a filmmaker with many years of experience telling compelling stories from all around the world, always from the heart. 
He's directed, filmed and edited for cinema, television, charities, artists and commercial clients and independently for his own company Softly Films.  His first feature film Out of Thin Air, for Netflix, was widely acclaimed and told the story of Iceland's most notorious unsolved crime case. 
Dylan's films tell stories both intimate and political, taking him to remote corners of the globe and so far earning him two BAFTA nominations. 


Greener Henley is committed to tackling the climate and ecological crisis using education, action & collaboration. 
Local people with a common aim: to work together to help build a greener, zero-carbon future for Henley and our villages.

Picturehouse Green Screen is a space to discuss environmental issues raised in the films we show, embedding sustainability into our communities in collaboration with green groups and local businesses. Everyone is welcome to continue the conversation after the film in our cinema meeting spaces – enjoy a free tea or filter coffee when you bring a keep cup!

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