TEXTILES TO KEEP YOU WARMby Blog Editor, Selvedge
There's nothing better than hunkering down with a cup of tea and a good book, (or your favourite issue of Selvedge), warm and toasty under your own lovely textile. We've rounded up some of the beautiful, artisan-made throws from around Selvedge to bring you some respite from the cold - that will warm your heart and home, and have a truly positive impact on the world around us too.
A throw, a rug, a wall hanging. The Groundnut Harvest Blanket, created by a collective of thirty women in Lawra, north Ghana, represented by Boon & Up, is designed to have multiple uses over many years. Each rug takes three weavers one week to create, and the inspiration for the patterns comes from the savannah land of the district where the weavers live. Each rug has two contrasting sides; a textured side with wool loops, and a flatter, more tightly woven side.
Over the decades the woven cotton fabric created on traditional narrow two-shaft looms has been used to create traditional men and women’s smocks that are seen across the north of Ghana. However, harsh changes in the climate of northern Ghana have led to an ongoing impoverishment of the region and demand for smocks has fallen. The collective adapted their looms so the weavers can now create wider fabric that is up to 110cm in width, suitable for overseas consumers. The weavers refer to a fabric book of forty different traditional patterns for all their inspiration, and the colours of the cotton yarn directly references the colours the Dagaare people paint their houses.
The River & Tree Rug is an abstract pattern that describes the Volta River as it passes through the Lawra district. Chilli peppers are farmed on the banks of the Volta as the river provides year round irrigation. The undulating surface is reminiscent of a rhythmic landscape, shaped by paths and contours of yarn.
Central Veredas is a cooperative of artisans in Minas Gerais, Brazil whose main activities are spinning, weaving and embroidery, in which they produce blankets, scarves, cushion covers, and embroidered buriti boxes. The older women are the bearers of the spinning and weaving work, while younger women handle the embroidery and the husbands of the artisans plant organic cotton. Weaving is done using natural dyes on wooden handlooms with four pedals, a process which was started by their ancestors out of necessity. The embroideries are always inspired by the regional fauna and flora. Illustration contests are often held in rural public schools in the surrounding area, selecting designs of students onto embroider their products.
The Central Veredas Dyed Popcorn Blanket would make the perfect addition to any living room. The large, pleasing spots of naturally dyed colour on the subtle ground of neutral organic cotton add warmth and joy to this textile piece.
Handwoven by Master weavers in Northern Côte d’Ivoire, represented by Five | Six Textiles, the Adjoukrou pattern is Indigenous to this region. Woven with predominantly weft motifs, the subtle pops of coral and ochre create a wonderful contrast with the ecru colored raw cotton and Indigo dyed threads. Raw cotton has a texture similar to raw silk and with use, the weave will tighten, patina, and soften.
Five | Six Textiles was founded after textile specialist Enna Wingeld met with the Dyula Master weavers of Waraniéné. Now they produce limited edition and small batch collections of home textiles that use traditional patterns to produce modern fabrics while also preserving a rare weaving culture.
Fundación Artesanías de Chile (Crafts of Chile Foundation) is a non-profit entity that since 2002 has preserved Chilean cultural identity and created opportunities for traditional artisans, especially in rural locations. Certified by World Fair Trade Organization (WTFO), they work with a network of artisans made up of 2,300 men and women from all over the country, repositories of cultural heritage of their country, imprint in each of their pieces. This Trarikan Makuñ Blanket is woven by the mapuche artisan Magaly Quintriqueo Llanquileo from Cholchol Village, in La Araucanía Region.
Aiming to change perceptions of the once nomadic people of Morocco, Artisan Project strives to honor Moroccan artisanship, improve the lives of craftspeople and their families and ensure hand-weaving skills continue to thrive. Known to most as Berbers, their true name is ‘Amazigh’ meaning ‘free humans’. Amazigh culture comes with a rich textile history, that’s deeply-rooted in nature and the landscape. For Morocco’s artisans, hand-weaving is sacred. Every textile has a life cycle that’s deeply connected to the land. Wool is ‘baraka’ a divine blessing - sheared in the spring, then washed, combed, and carded, before being spun. From knotting and weaving to cleaning and finishing, they oversee every part of the process and reinterpret our designs using age-old techniques.
Inspired by the traditional capes worn by women in the high Atlas Mountains and patterns from vintage Beni Mguild cushions, this Jibli throw is handwoven with wool commonly used for Moroccan men’s robes and embroidered with acrylic yarns.
Una Rozentāle handweaves large wool shawls and throws on an old traditional floorloom. The shawl is a traditional piece of Latvian clothing, which is still an essential part of the national costume. Rozentāle creates her own scarf designs, the original ideas of which are based on traditional scarf samples in folk costume books, but she is increasingly trying to expand the boundaries of her imagination. She experiments with colours, trying to find new combinations that create unusual moods. This Old House Near Sea blanket was inspired by the feeling of gazing out the horizon from an old cottage by the sea.
We couldn't write a blog about blankets without mentioning the Selvedge blanket by Wallace & Sewell, a textile design company that many Londoners will know already - even if they don't know it.
Travel on the Northern, Bakerloo or Jubilee lines and you will see the company’s colourful moquettes adorning the train’s seats as it snakes its way through the city’s tunnels every day. Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell are the duo behind this renowned studio. Wallace Sewell has been inspired over the years by the Bauhaus design ethos; carefully coupling the handmade with the mechanical.
The Selvedge blanket is a bespoke design incorporating our trademark grey, alongside a rainbow of other colours, reflecting the rich assortment of textiles featured in the magazines.
View all products created by artisans from the Selvedge World Fair 2021 here.