Image: All photos courtesy of Frances V.H Mohair Rugs.
In the sixth of our ‘Tea and Textiles’ chats - streamed live on Instagram every Friday afternoon - we spoke to Frances van Hessalt, founder of Frances V.H Mohair Rugs about her love of mohair. Having grown up on her family’s Angora goat farm in the town of Prince Albert at the foot of the majestic Swartberg mountain range, van Hasselt has a close affinity to the fibre. Read on for an extract of the article about Frances V.H Mohair Rugs that featured in our latest issue, Issue 99 Home.
Mohair, a premium, speciality fibre, is obtained from the fleece of long-haired Angora goats. It is one of the most ancient natural fibres - also called the ‘diamond fibre’, due to its sheen and strength. Mohair speaks of luxury. South Africa is proudly home to the majority of the world’s production and processing of mohair.
Defining features of this natural fibre are its lustrousness, smoothness, and softness. The inherent characteristic of mohair is its breathability; hollow fibres reduce weight and trap insulating air. Naturally curled fibres impart elasticity, adding to its comfort factor. Mohair holds dye and colour beautifully, providing a deep saturated and rich colouring to finished products. In addition to this, its lustre enhances and retains colour helping to reduce fading. Mohair fibres do not pill or matt together, giving end-products a sleek and sophisticated finish. It is celebrated for being crease, crush and odour-resistant as well as being non-flammable (mohair will not burn unless exposed to a direct flame). Mohair is practical and easy to maintain; it resists soiling and a simple shake or brush will remove most dust and dirt. As a natural fibre it is incredibly strong, resilient and durable, and if cared for mohair textiles last to become heirlooms. At the very end of its life, mohair is biodegradable.
Frances van Hasselt’s mohair rugs are hand-made from start to finish, in single colours or patterned and are all reversible. Her focus is on developing African textiles that preserve, honour, and celebrate traditional craftsmanship, ensuring skills and know-how is passed onto future generations. Design inspiration comes from the Karoo, a geographic region in South Africa that has a particular concentration of mohair production. Karoo is a bushman word meaning ‘dry place’. Here, a topography of semi-arid desert with wide skies and horizons has a far-reaching landscape of desolate plains, shrubland, and flat-topped hills backdropped by impressive mountains. A striking place with gravel mountain passes, streams flowing down from its mountains, river banks, craggy pinnacles, and interesting rock formations. Colours range from light and subtle pales - whites and greys to saturated and bold ochres, reds and yellows…
Read the rest of ourarticle, The G.O.A.T: Frances van Hasselt’s Love of Mohair - The Diamond Fibre from South Africa, in Issue 99 Home.
Watch Polly and Frances’ Tea and Textiles chat over on our Instagram account.