All my bespoke items are handwoven on a table loom in my studio in North London. Many painstakingly slow processes are undertaken in the weaving story.
I start with a sketchbook. I am drawn to textures and bold colours in my surroundings and take photographs for inspiration in my day to day life. I use these as a starting point and take out the information that I am drawn to by drawing textures, shapes and repeats in pen and ink. These usually lend themselves to a particular weave structure and material that I will then take to design the first warp.
Once I have a weave structure in mind, I create yarn wraps to work out colour combinations and stripe repeats in the warp. The warp is the set of threads that are placed lengthwise on a loom through which the weft threads are woven. This is the skeleton of the fabric and describes whether the end fabric is light and gauzy or heavy set and firm. The way in which it is threaded will define the end pattern of the cloth.
Making the warp and dressing the loom
Once the design is finalised, I make the warp. I take the threads and use a winding mill to create a warp of several metres in length. This is then spread out across the loom and wound around the back beam. After this process, I can thread each strand through the heddles to set the design. The yarn is then threaded through the reed at the front of the loom, which defines the end feel of the fabric. The reed has been described as the precision tool of weaving. After this, I tie on the warp and start weaving. All these stages are done by hand, slowly and methodically. The whole process can take anywhere from two days to a week determined by the width of the warp and how fine the yarn is. A very fine silk warp can be several hundred threads across.
After the above stages are complete, I am ready to start weaving. A hand weaver on a table loom can weave up to two metres in a day depending on the complexity of design and fineness of material.
After the fabric is woven, the material is described as loom state. It does not become cloth until it has been washed. This is where the magic happens. The yarns relax and nestle into each other. Wool fulls and thickens to fill the gaps to create a beautifully soft, cosy material.
I sew the material in my studio to create the finished product.