Close your eyes. Picture your living room. Now imagine removing every piece of textile and fabric in that room. Take away the curtains, the rugs, the throw, and cushions. Now feel the sterility and the impersonal atmosphere of the space. A room for living that is without fabrics is truly a naked room.
Of all of the elements which bring the personal and human to interior design, textiles are the most important. They create comfort, intimacy and pleasure. David Adjaye, a world renowned architect, recently designed his own fabric collection, and spoke of the intimate emotional response he felt and produced when creating his African inspired range.
Fabrics are also functional. They provide insulation, keep us cool in the summer and warm in winter dependent on the fabrics. Fabrics can provide privacy, they reduce noise and improve the quality of speech and music in spaces. They are the most versatile of materials.
“Textiles are not just a pleasure to look at, they are a marvel to be experienced with all five senses”, Reiko Sudo
One of the oldest and richest forms of fabric creation is hand-woven textiles. The essence of hand-woven cloth is the fabric which is created by the combination of 2 sets of yarns or threads, the warp and the weft, with the aid of a loom. The method in which these threads are inter-woven affects the characteristics of the cloth. It will contain irregularities and textures not seen in industrially made fabrics. And it usually is made with the singular creative vision of the makers on their own looms.
It’s almost impossible task to try and highlight just a few of the many weavers of intelligent and beautiful textiles worldwide. But using the FOUNDiiD filter of cultures and a philosophy with meaning to us, here are 3 we particularly admire.
Mourne Textiles, Ireland.
A family run business; Mourne Textiles was started by an extraordinary woman, Gerd Hay-Ediw 60 years ago. Gerd set up her textile workshop and design studio at the foot of the beautiful Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. Mourne Textiles are the last remaining production hand loom weaving workshop in Northern Ireland. Today Gerd’s grandson leads the company with a vision which blends the original designs of his grandmother and the hand-weaving skills of his family with a freshly contemporary approach.
An Athenian boutique enterprise started by Renia Paxinou, Arakna, creates lovely hand-woven pieces, including clothing and homeware. Renia is an architect who, with a long felt love and admiration of the weaving craft, was drawn to the continuous challenge and pleasures of creation through a new medium. Enhancing her self-taught weaving skills Renia went on to study woven craft in Sweden. She continues to seek inspiration and techniques for her craft from other cultures, including from afield as Japan. Arakna fabrics are a reflection of the self-driven creative passion and philosophy of Renia herself.
Julia Astreou, Cyprus.
Julia is based in her own 19th century home in the stunning narrow windings streets of Kaimakli in Nicosia. It is there Julia creates elegant and surprising hand-woven textiles on her own 4 looms. Using her expansive knowledge and experience in Cypriot textiles, Julia blends traditional woven approaches with a fresh and forward looking eye to design, patterns and textures. In Kaimakli, and online Julia offers a unique range of home accessories including lampshades, cushions as well as clothing and accessories.
These 3 makers have their own personal stories which are reflected in the textile products they create. What unites then is not just their dedication to hand-woven materials. It’s also a celebration of a craft which both reflects their heritage and, in their hands, is transformed into distinctive, and modern home furnishing design.
Paul – Researcher