Hand-woven goods in the form of rugs, lighting and table linens signal a renewed appreciation for a centuries-old craft.
Call it the Etsy effect, call it “smalling”—the term trend forecaster Faith Popcorn coined to refer to the rise of small-scale artisans and craftspeople in the retail economy—or simply call it nostalgia: there’s a persistent pull toward carefully made, hand-crafted objects. In recent years, that pull has led to a sea change in the food and beverage sector, moved through woodworking and ceramics, and now landed squarely in the looms of a new generation of weavers and sewers. Among them are Heather Dewey and Suzuna Nagamine. In 2016, the pair launched Wovenwares out of their neighbouring apartments in Victoria’s Dockside Green neighbourhood. A mutual appreciation for textiles had gradually evolved from a hobby into a thriving business with living rooms given over to LeClerc counterbalance floor looms of various sizes and vintages, along with baskets and baskets of yardage sourced carefully from far and wide. The resulting inventory, which includes clothing and household textiles, celebrates simplicity and reuse, says Nagamine. Linen squares woven in various sizes are a mainstay; small and medium sizes work well as handkerchiefs or for wrapping produce. “They are so useful!” she says. The provenance of materials is a critical piece of the work. Organic cottons come from Vreseis Limited in California; flax linen hails from Tap Root Fibre Mill, a grower and mill in Nova Scotia. “We’ve noticed that people are wanting to choose things where they know where they’re from,” says Dewey. “They’re applying that same mindfulness about what they eat, to what they bring into their homes.” Last fall, the pair added area rugs to their repertoire, using alpaca roving from Vancouver Island’s Hinterland Farm. The overall aesthetic is calm and restrained; each pull is visible in the final product, an imprint of the weavers behind it. (Note: Their pieces sell out quickly. A restock of household wares is coming in March; rugs will be available in their fall 2018 collection.)
Get the Look: A Fine Weave
We’ve observed traditional woven motifs in many recent collections, from custom kitchens in the U.K. to baskets sold at major retail chains in North America. Here are a few of our favourites: 1. Tres Vegetal is the latest iteration of Nanimarquina’s award-winning Tres collection of area rugs. The new pieces incorporate hemp fibres and are intentionally rustic and neutral in colour with “irregularities generated by the crossing of the fibres and their different thicknesses.” nanimarquina.com 2. Vancouver-based Lissu Linen stocks 100-percent linen bedding, towels, and tote bags in subtle shades such as maize, terracotta, and sand—all inspired by simple, Scandinavian living. lissulinen.com 3. Sebastian Cox’s design for Devol Kitchens features woven-wood panelling. The subtle detail is used on a custom island, as shown, and at the back of glass-fronted cabinets. devolkitchens.co.uk 4. Newly arrived at CB2, the Conway series of cotton rope baskets (from $119) have a super-sized inverted-V weave, giving it the look of crochet. cb2.com 5. From Mûr in Winnipeg (a shop we recently featured in a round-up of our favourite general stores), these woven jute trivets (from $24) are made in Japan and available in six- and seven-inch diameters. murlifestyle.com 6. After five decades out of production, Carl Hansen and Son recently reissued its CH23 side chair, one of Hans J. Wegner’s first designs for the company. It features the handwoven paper-cord seat used in many of his iconic pieces. carlhandsen.com