Monday, 29 July 2019

Welsh Vernacular – collaboration with Llio James

For a while now we have been making a range of stools and benches hand-made in oak and upholstered in British wool fabrics. Inspired by home-made furniture from Welsh farms from the 1700’s onwards, the legs are spokeshaved and ‘wedged’ by hand in the traditional way and the upholstery is handstitched to a piped edge giving a unique finish to each piece. The range is made from 100% sustainable materials, from the recycled wool felt stuffing right down to the line stitching twine.

Unlike most furniture, the slender bench tops don’t require a great deal of fabric so this got me thinking about working with a hand-weaver to design some fabric specifically for the range. I don’t know of any other fabric being designed specifically for a piece of furniture so it seemed a pretty unique opportunity. Step forward Llio James.

Llio’s hand woven designs struck me when I first encountered them at her MA show some years back and as she’s now back working in her studio in West Wales she was the obvious choice. Rooted in modernism, her designs seem to me to be somehow identifiably Welsh. Maybe it’s the influence of the nearby woollen mills that she uses to take some of her designs into production as cloth, or maybe it’s her Welsh language background, whatever the source her work turned out to be perfect for the job.

After some initial conversations about colour, fabric weight, wool and density Llio produced a fabric that I immediately loved. From there it was just a matter of working out how best to represent the design across the different bench shapes.

And here they are - designed, made, woven and upholstered in Wales.

Available to order in 4-6 weeks. Can’t wait that long? Tough luck, we have to weave the fabric for each and every one.