Issue 68 Carnival (Digital only)
I AM OFTEN ASKED WHERE I GET THE IDEAS FROM FOR EACH ISSUE. In the words of Sir Paul Smith: “You Can Find Inspiration in Everything – And If You Can't, Look Again.” That is true: in this instance my inspiration came from Penny our events organiser. She took a sabatical in the summer to travel in Colombia – I am inspired by her courage and by the stories she has told of her adventures. Then Nelson Sepulveda, a talented stylist, spoke to me with such passion of his native Chile and of the designers Valentina Hoyos and Veronique Rolland Valdes – who are working with indigenous people in South America to create socially responsible textiles – and the Carnival Issue seemed inevitable. While curating the magazine my journey of discovery introduces me to many sources of inspiration. This is as likely to come from another time as it is another place. Dani Trew comments on the designers working today who have taken inspiration from the political landscape of the 1970s, as well as its craft aesthetic. We are introduced to contemporary artists making statements with crochet, the most flexible of textile techniques. The texture and sculptural qualities of crochet are also evident on the runway in the work of Helen Rödel and Kate Jenkins.
A mountain of alpaca blankets! They must be only in black or white or possibly a salt & pepper mix. They come from Chile or Bolivia and I spread them everywhere; my bed, my sofa... I love being at home in winter. When I am out I wear a big cashmere shawl from India or Nepal, wool knitted sweaters and socks; all natural dye only. And on top it is always either a felted chechia from Tunisia or a simple black beret from Basque, Spain.
My study at home is north facing so it can get pretty cold in winter. To keep off the chill I pull on my all-encompassing camel-coloured cashmere djellaba haggled for in the souk in Marrakech, Morocco. At least, I did until I recently gave in and bought the ubiquitous Uniqlo lightweight down jacket. It is so neat and easy to wear it’s unbeatable at keeping me snug. It also makes the perfect travelling companion as it packs up into a tiny ball that fits in my handbag. I never leave home without it.
So as the year turns I resolve to walk the Inca trail from Cuzco to the ruins at Machu Picchu, following in the footsteps of Annie Zander who tells the story of how she turned her inspiration into a thriving business, Peruvian Connections, twenty-five years ago. Make our stories part of your story in 2016: and whether you are inspired to bake a cake, take a craft holiday or design a range of rugs, post your pictures on instagram using the hashtag selvedgestories.
Polly Leonard, Founder