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Company Profile: Christopher McEvoy

Christopher McEvoy founded his woven studio in 2017 after graduating from the Royal College of Art, London.  

Being a born and bred Glaswegian, with the backing of Deutsche bank’s DBACE award he returned to the city and opened McEvoy Textiles, becoming the first hand weaving mill in the city for over a century.    

Being based in Scotland was always important to Christopher as his heritage and cultural identity has often infomed much of work. A firm believer in the beauty and breadth of Scottish textiles, the studio has made these techniques central to its collections which have been sold all over the world.  

Offering a range of design, production and consultancy services, the studio became known for a contemporary take on Scottish heritage textiles and a championing of new fibres and processes  being applied to traditional techniques.  A way of thinking that has seen the studio produce work for major fashion houses, cultural institutions and automotive market disruptors.

In 2019 in a move to expand the weaving industry in Glasgow, Christopher teamed up with fellow weaver Chantal Allen to found a new mill in the city – VEVAR– offering power loom production on a small accessible scale within the city. The development of Vevar has allowed Christopher to reimagine the purpose of McEvoy Textiles leading to the rebrand and relaunch of the studio in 2021. 

Now under the eponymous label of Christopher McEvoy the studio will continue to produce a seasonal collection of designs each year for sale as well as hand woven lengths of cloth for the luxury market. However there will be an increased emphasis on craftsmanship, process and materiality. 

This celebration of weaving savoir faire is intended to highlight the breadth of the craft.

As well as championing the process of making itself, this will be applied not just in the studios’s collection, but in an increased level of public engagement through workshops, exhibitions and projects.   

Christopher McEvoy Instagram  Continue reading →

Company Profile: Lark & Bower

Sarah Ward is a hand weaver based in Essex, mostly known for her work as The Aviary Studio. Now she launches Lark & Bower, a new endeavour born during the Covid pandemic.

Most of Sarah’s weaving career since 2010 has been spent producing seasonal collections of hand woven swatches which she sold as design ideas, working closely with brands to develop woven concepts and colour stories for their collections.

The ‘enforced pause’ that came with the pandemic, though initially turning the studio on its head, was an opportunity to evolve and diversify, to re-evaluate a weavers place in the industry.

The idea of ‘off-loom’ weaving was conceived during the first lockdown in 2020, when Sarah didn’t have access to her loom or studio. Desperate to weave, she started using leftover yarn and a needle and thread to make small studies of woven structures; twills, hopsacks, houndstooth, waffle.

Now, despite having access to both, she has continued to work on these small, intricate offerings, whilst pondering why woven structure isn’t more celebrated.

Hand-weaving is an often forgotten art, and one which deserves to be appreciated without necessarily being part of a functional or ‘throw away’ item.

As an ancient craft, weaving is deeply connected to what it is to be a human. Like music, weaving developed in many parts of the world simultaneously, long before civilisations had communication with one another – an idea often forgotten in our new digital and industrial world.

Rejecting the constant demand for newness and instead supporting slow-design and sustainable practice, Sarah plans to use these woven pieces to raise awareness about waste and the impact of the textile industry on the environment, and to shine a spotlight on craftsmanship and woven structure as an art form in its own right.

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Woven Textile Designer: Milou Voorwinden

Milou Voorwinden is a woven textile designer based in the Netherlands. She graduated from the product design department of ArtEZ University of Arts in Arnhem in 2016.

Voorwinden currently runs her own textile design and research studio and works as a jacquard designer and product developer at EE Exclusives.

She specialises in weaving three-dimensional structures and one-piece woven products on the loom. Voorwinden is inspired by traditional weaving techniques and aims to rediscover, renew and apply the techniques in an innovative way using contemporary digital tools.

The Space Between
The Space Between explores the creation and application of knitted and woven spacer fabrics. The project is a collaboration between Milou Voorwinden, Suzanne Oude Hengel and  the Functional Textiles Unit at Eurecat in Spain. By working alongside the machines and closely with the technicians Francesc Mañosa and Francesc Pera of Eurecat, Oude Hengel and Voorwinden are able to engineer each step of the process, allowing for functionalities to be built directly into the fabric Continue reading →

Social Enterprise: AMMA Natural Textiles | Sri Lanka

AMMA Natural Textiles, is a social enterprise championing the tradition of hand weaving in Nuwara Eliya, a tea estate region in Sri Lanka. AMMA was founded by Josie Mackenzie who was curious to explore the role natural dyes play in the Sri Lankan textile industry and how, when used in combination with handloom could contribute to providing livelihood creation for women living rurally.

This innovative business empowers marginalised women by employing them to make handwoven zero waste garments and accessories. AMMA’s current Kickstarter Campaign is raising money through maker made rewards so that they can continue to keep their workshop doors open and their artisans employed on full salaries. Continue reading →

Company Profile: Vevar

Vevar is a new studio developed from years of passionate interest in both woven cloth and the rich history of Scottish textiles. The product of two award winning designers, Christopher McEvoy-Barton and Chantal Allen, coming together to develop a modern micro mill in the heart of Glasgow’s East End – an area itself steeped in textiles history.

Services available include design and consultancy with expertise in both Dobby and Jacquard cloth design and manufacture; a range of production services for all projects and budgets – from couture handwoven, to larger lengths produced on in house power looms; and professional and career development where skills and expertise is offered to develop knowledge of the world of design, production and micro manufacturing.

With over 20 years’ experience of design and manufacture between them, Christopher and Chantal are equipped to tackle any project with expertise – creating woven textiles across Art, Design and Architecture. Continue reading →

Art Quill Studio & Blog | Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Art Quill Studio: A website featuring glossaries & articles relevant to Textile Art

Marie-Therese Wisniowski works as a full time studio artist, researcher, author, curator, university lecturer and is the former co-editor of Textile Fibre Forum art magazine.

She is the Director of Art Quill Studio & Blog. Her first post on the Art Quill Studio blogspot was published on August 26, 2010 focussing on the first ArtCloth exhibition in Australia featuring international and national textile artists and was titled – ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions and featured important textile artists such as Norma Starszakowna (UK), Joan Schulze (USA), Joan Truckenbrod (USA), Cas Holmes (UK), Jane Dunnewold (USA) and Ken Kagajo (Japan) – amongst others. At the present time over 500 posts have been published.

At the outset Art Quill Studio blogspot was designed to educate as well as to entertain. The education posts were titled, Art Resource, under the header of the post. At the time of writing more than one hundred Art Resources have been published. These are mostly published in the first week of every month. In order to access these resources more quickly, in the ‘Preamble’ of every Art Resource post are links to all of the other Art Resource posts on the blogspot. Example:  One Hundreth Art Resource. Continue reading →

Company Profile: Pink House by Rebecca Cole

Pink House by Rebecca Cole collection is championing the traditions of Aso-oke hand weaving in the Yoruba region of Nigeria to the Interior Design Industry. The influx of cheap, imported textiles and mass-produced European style clothing has drastically diminished the artisan weaving industry in Nigeria leaving fewer weaving communities able to make a living from their craft.

By taking an innovative approach to using the beautiful striped and patterned woven strips, as a form of passementerie for interior design, textile designer Rebecca Cole has identified a way to support the traditions of weaving that she first encountered in the 1990’s.

Whilst on an introductory visit to her husband’s family in Nigeria “I fell in love with not only the magic of Nigeria but also the sense of heritage and family contained in the textiles that had been created and safeguarded by my mother-in-law from every family event. There is family history attached to each piece of As0-oke she has kept.”

The traditions of Yoruba weaving date back to the 10th and 12th Century in Nigeria. The Aso-oke cloth is traditionally woven by men in the Southwestern region of Nigeria on horizontal looms. As early as the 17th Century, Aso-oke cloth was recorded as a valuable trading commodity with the British. Continue reading →

Profile: Orkney Cloth Company

Orkney Cloth Company
Orkney had a rich heritage of textile weaving which had been lost for over 30 years, and the Orkney Cloth Company is hoping to revive it once again.

Weaving in Orkney completely disappeared in the mid-1970s, when the two mills, Argarden and Sclaters closed. Orkney’s cloth was once more renown than Harris Tweed, well regarded for its softness and lightness, and sold all over the world. Unlike Harris Tweed, without a well known tradition of weaving, Orkney tweed weavers were able to create new and contemporary designs, using bold accent colours.

However, by the mid-1970’s the industry had moved on, with the arrival of ready to wear garments and synthetic materials. Their reluctance to invest in wider looms meant that Harris Tweed had the competitive advantage, and both mills closed down.

The Orkney Cloth Company was started by India Johnson, who aims to revive the industry once again. After arriving in Orkney on a graduate weaving placement with ScotGrad and Orkney Creative Hub in October 2018, she began teaching hand weaving.

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Makers’ Tales’: Catarina Riccabona

‘Makers’ Tales’ showcase: Catarina Riccabona at the Guy Goodfellow Collection Showroom

 In celebration of the London Design Festival, textile artist and weaver Catarina Riccabona will be joining the series of  ‘Makers’ Tales’ showcases in the Guy Goodfellow Collection showroom.

Cartarina loves working with her hands. She enjoy the flexibility, the spontaneous changes and the direct contact with the materials that is possible when weaving by hand.

She makes one-off interior pieces, mostly throws, and, more recently, wall hangings.

Her textiles are often large compositions featuring areas of juxtaposed weave structures.

Catarinas’ practice is based on environmental values. She works with a well-researched selection of yarns. She predominantly use natural (unbleached, undyed) linen in her warps. For the weft yarns she likes to work with linen, hemp, wool, alpaca and second-hand or recycled yarns.

Her favourite supplier for plant-dyed wool is a woman in Finland who grows all the ingredients in her own garden and dyes small batches of local rare breed wool by hand.

Every time her results differ slightly, and Catarina loves these subtle and unpredictable nuances.

Recycled linen can be another source of colour and also Catarina buys it from a UK company that re-spins industrial surplus into new yarn. The colours are limited and depend on what is available at any given time. She enjoys this challenge of finding solutions within a set of limitations.

Catarina also collect warp remnants from weave colleagues which she knots them back together to form a continuous string to be used in the weft. During weaving the little knots appear all over the cloth and form a distinct feature that is reminiscent of elements in tribal textiles from all over the world.

This hand-made and natural character that is typical of tribal textiles has always had a strong appeal for her.

‘Makers’ Tales’ showcases invited artists and makers in a series of exhibitions designed to celebrate the fine traditions of artisan design and production.

The latest showcase “Catarina Riccabona Hand-woven Textiles” is on from 17th September to 12th October. She will be at the GGC showroom on the 20th September for a “Meet the Maker” day to discuss her work and explain the ethos behind her practice.

Guy Goodfellow Collection Showroom.15 Langton Street, London SW10 0JB
www.guygoodfellowcollection.com   Tel: 020 7352 9002

Text and images, with thanks to Catarina Riccabona

Première Vision Designs: The Aviary Studio

Launched in the Spring of 2016, and now in their third year of business, The Aviary Studio make their debut in the Première Visions DESIGNS hall 5, stand no: 5SW46 this September 2018.

The Aviary Studio is a UK based hand weaving studio and design consultancy founded by British designer and established weaver Sarah Podlesny, a Central Saint Martins alumni who has a clear vision to inspire, and to fill the constant demand for newness in an age where ‘copying’ has become standard practice.

Fabric design is often overlooked in favour of the cut and style of a garment, wovens often overlooked in favour of print, and with this in mind, it is The Aviary Studio’s aim to put the spotlight back on wovens, celebrate their cultural importance, their versatility and the invaluable talent and craftsmanship of their makers.

Each season, extensive trend, colour and materials research is gathered, interpreted and applied through the medium of hand weaving, in order to offer a collection of directional fabric ideas that are integral to the design process within mainstream and high end retail. Continue reading →