When the cold sets in and we retreat to our sofas and firesides, we want to create a deeply restorative space where we can hibernate and recuperate. With Mexican artistry and British herringbone cloth, our new fabric collection, ELVIA, offers warmth and charm as an antidote to the long months of winter.
“In the cooperative shop in St. Chrisotbal, we spotted a beautiful purse that had been left on a chair. We had already been through piles of cloth looking for colours and designs to suit a British winter but without finding what we wanted. And then there was this purse that had been exquisitely worked, and the feeling of the piece was exactly what we needed” –
An Heirloom Cloth – Handwoven and Hand embroidered
The original purse we found was hand embroidered on wool. We changed the backing cloth to a thick cotton, woven by hand on a backstrap loom, an ancient weaving technique that was used by the Mayas, and popularized in the 20th century by the Mexican artist, Frida Khalo. This heavyweight material in grey or navy gives warmth and substance to each cushion. The cloth is then hand-embroidered by the artisans. The design uses blocks of repeated closed buttonhole circles and a contrasting zigzag pattern. All the embroiderers work from the same colour palette but the rhythm of the stitched blocks and colours within the pattern is spontaneous. Each piece is unique and holds the maker’s mark on it.
Within the collection there is a choice of a subtle, soft grey cloth which brings calm and tranquility to the embroidery, and a dark blue cloth which punches out the colours of the stitching.
An artistic relationship
We source much of our embroidery from a co-operative in Chiapas, Mexico. Set up by indigenous women, it enables the embroiderers and weavers to earn a sustainable living, and over the last few years we have become one of the co-op’s main customers. It is an artistic relationship that we value.
Why is the winter collection named after Elvia?
We work closely with Elvia, the chairperson of the co-operative, and she helped us enormously with commissioning this cloth. Her impressive organizational and computer skills, and the ability to speak several dialects, enables her to manage the growing team of embroiderers and weavers. As we were working to create a collection full of warmth and colour for the long months of winter, we were thinking about names. And Elvia seemed to sum up everything we were hoping to create. A source of strength for her community, she is also full of genuine warmth and good humour.
Finished by hand in Wiltshire
In our workshop in Wiltshire we make the cloth into cushions using a dark grey Linen Union backing cloth, as well as upholster one off pieces and commissions.
Beautiful and practical
The cloths we commission are works of art. Each piece is unique and holds each maker’s mark within it. The stitching is hardy and the thick cotton means that the covers can be washed and the fabric wears extremely well on upholstered pieces.
Sizes and shapes
Commissions – The cloth is made in panels, and can be pieced together to create larger sized cloth for bespoke projects.
The cushions in the Elvia collection come in — Long Rectangle, approx. 35cm×90cm, Rectangle, approx. 35cm×60cm, and Square, approx. 50×50cm.