Job: Weaver at Bute Fabrics Limited

Bute Fabrics Limited are offering a permanent, full time Weavers job on the Isle Of Bute (PA20), Scotland.

Company description
Bute Fabric Ltd pride themselves on their unique story. The mill was founded in 1947 by the 5th Marquess of Bute with the sole purpose of providing employment opportunities for service people returning home from the Second World War. Since then, they have  gone from strength to strength, cultivating markets worldwide and consistently pushing the boundaries of innovation.

Situated within the Firth of Clyde, the Isle of Bute is steeped in history. There is an astonishing array of different landscapes: heather-covered moorland, lush rolling hills, wild forests, sweeping beaches and an ever-changing seascape.

Bute is one of Scotland’s most accessible islands and is only 33 miles away from the city of Glasgow, with a 30 min ferry link to the mainland.

It is not just that  looms that are at the heart of Bute Fabrics, their people are too. It is their specialist skills and drive that make it possible for them to be leaders in an international marketplace. With their staff’s energy, enthusiasm, and dedication, they are able to produce some of the world’s most technically advanced woven textiles.

Job description
Reporting to the Production Director and joining a team of 6 weavers in a busy weaving department of 14 modern rapier looms. The successful candidate will have some previous weaving experience and will be required to carry out normal weaver duties of regular loom patrols, keeping a check on product quality, repairing warp and weft thread breaks, removing woven fabric rolls, etc. Applicants with previous industrial weaving experience is an advantage, but training will be provided to applicants who have general textile experience.

The role will suit someone who is quality conscious with an eye for detail and a flexible, ‘can do’ approach to their work. Training will be provided as required.

This is not a post that can be worked remotely. Continue reading →

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.

Continue reading →

Obituary: Julius Schofield

Tribute to Julius Schofield MBE
With the passing earlier this month of Julius Schofield MBE, the textile design world has lost one of its greatest champions.

The narrow, uneven staircase up to the offices of Indesign, the recruitment agency he started with his partner Joanna Neicho in 1968, were the first unlikely steps for many young designers into a career in the international world of fashion and textiles, a world that Julius knew so well.

He had a passion for textiles in particular, and saw it as the Cinderella of the fashion industry working unacknowledged behind the scenes to create glorious materials; he understood that without fabrics there is no fashion.  He was indefatigable in reaching out to UK textile design colleges, appreciating their importance in nurturing and teaching the next generation of talent so vital for innovation in the industry.

It was therefore a natural fit when, in 2004, Julius became Chairman of Texprint, later TexSelect, the charity that selected, mentored and promoted the best textile design talent graduating from UK institutions each year.  This is where his knowledge of the global industry and network of connections was invaluable in securing world-class designer names as sponsors and, often, involving the designers themselves in Texprint events.  He linked UK colleges to the Italian silk industry with the Como Scarf Competition which ran for 3 years, and established major Italian silk mills as long-term supporters of Texprint.

While at Texprint he set up the Chairman’s Prize which he personally sponsored, with judges such as Christopher Bailey and Sir Stuart Rose. He brought a professionalism to the Texprint London exhibition, which became a vital practice ground for the main event at Premiere Vision in Paris each September, where he secured eminent luminaries including Sir Paul Smith, Dame Zandra Rhodes, Diane von Furstenberg and Alber Elbaz as prize presenters.

Always immaculately dressed, no matter the temperature, Julius cut an instantly recognisable figure at British fashion and textile industry events over many, many years.  Dedicated to his work and so knowledgeable and respected throughout the industry internationally, his passion to nurture and promote young textile design talent was very special.  Julius was instrumental in connecting Texprint with world-class designer names, and his personal generosity made the Private Views one of the highlights of the year.

His wealth of knowledge, built up over decades, of an ever-evolving and complex industry, and the individuals involved in it, can never be replaced.  He retired as Chairman of Texprint in 2011, but continued to take an active interest for many years afterwards – TexSelect closed in 2019.

Exhibition: Pushing The Limits | A Virtual Shaft Weaving Art Exhibition

Pushing the Limits is a virtual shaft weaving artwork exhibition curated by former European Textile Network ETN president -and always a weaver- Lala de Dios (Spain) and textile artist Olivier Masson (France) who has also engineered the exhibition.

Weaving is one of oldest human industries -if not the oldest- and many kinds of looms or weaving devices have been accompanying humankind since the beginning of times. From the backstrap to dobby looms, the history of weaving has been an uninterrupted succession of technological inventions until the arrival of the first Jacquard hand looms in 18th century France.  The rest is history. Today we are living the digital Jacquard loom era. Contemporary textile artists use this tool which allows for an -almost- unlimited freedom to weavers.

This should not hide the fact that many of today’s artists and designers are happily enjoying weaving in shaft looms as weavers have been doing for hundreds of years. Not only to weave the functional textiles so often associated with the machine, but also works of art ; from Anni Albers’ pictorial weavings to Peter Collingwood`s macrogauzes to quote only two well-known examples from the last century.

The exhibition aims to highlight the incredible possibilities of that supposedly limited “machine” to create textile pieces that are works of art in their own right. Continue reading →

Happy New Year from The Weave Shed

Awards: QEST Scholarships

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) awards scholarship and apprenticeship funding of up to £18,000 to talented and aspiring craftspeople working in a broad range of skills, from farriery and cheese maturing to jewellery design, silversmithing, dry stone walling, glassblowing, textiles and sculpture. Our next application round is open 11 January – 15 February 2021

QEST celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2020 and since 1990 has awarded nearly £5million to 600 individuals working in over 130 different crafts. We define craft broadly and welcome applications from all areas including rural skills, contemporary craft, conservation, luthiery and much more. A directory of all our alumni can be seen on our website, along with more details on how to apply. There are two application rounds each year – in January and July.

Job: Humphries Weaving | Account Manager

Humphries Weaving is a renowned British fabric manufacturer that has earnt an international reputation for designing and weaving fine furnishings. Being a project/account manager at Humphries Weaving incorporates research, design and sales in both historic and contemporary arenas. Humphries put customer relationships and service at the forefront of everything they do and they are hiring for this exciting role.

The ideal candidate will have experience working in textile manufacturing or a customer facing role in luxury furnishings or an associated field.

Humphries are looking for an excellent communicator with confidence in both face to face and digital sales. Highly organised with the ability to prioritise workloads and manage multiple projects, working in sync with both internal and external teams. You should be self-driven and motivated to achieve team goals, have strategic thinking as second nature and a demonstrable capability to identify and develop new business, working within agreed timelines and budgets. Continue reading →

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 →