Stitch by Stitch - Contemporary handmade textiles from India & Nepal

Contemporary handmade textiles from India & Nepal

Fresh Spring Blues

We recently introduced this fresh new blue on blue colour way to our embroidered Indigo Kala Cotton Cushion Collection.

Our embroiderers are self-employed and paid a fair wage for their beautiful work.  The organic kala cotton is woven specially for us by a group of farmers and weavers in Kutch, India, and dyed with natural indigo. 

You can read more about the kala cotton initiative here and here.

Continuing the blue and white theme, our Kala Cotton Towels and Scarves, also from our kala cotton weavers, are available in natural indigo too.

If you'd like to keep up to date with new products and other news, join our mailing list here!  We'd love to keep you posted.

The End of February

Akiko Hirai's Moon Jar, with radhi rug at Flow Gallery

Akiko Hirai's Moon Jar, with radhi rug at Flow Gallery

Well, thankfully, it's almost the end of March, but "The End of February" is the title of a new exhibition of Akiko Hirai's ceramics at Flow Gallery in London's Notting Hill.

We absolutely love Hirai's beautiful pieces, particularly the gorgeously textured Moon Jars made using the Kohiki technique.  So we were thrilled to have been asked by the gallery owner to show some of our indigo kala cotton textiles, and a radhi rug alongside these fabulous vessels.

The title of the exhibition is inspired by a chapter in The Pillow Book, a classic of Japanese literature written a thousand years ago, in which the changing of the seasons are observed and expressed through the art of Waka poetry (put very simply: a poem of two halves).  

Hirai believes her ceramics to be only half finished, to be completed by the person who uses them, and in the way in which they are used.

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Thus, she suggests that the completion of her Moon Jars would be the addition of the owner's flowers.  Her cups are not cups until the owner drinks tea from them.  It's a lovely, humble concept.

These bottles are inspired by the still life paintings of Giorgio Morandi.  Hirai again explores the theme of the painter "completing" the objects by their way of seeing the objects.  

Hirai's method for injecting a sense of character into the bottles is to throw them freely, allowing the necks of the bottles to lean asymmetrically which gives them almost a human "posture", reflecting life into lifeless objects.

Stitch By Stitch indigo cotton textiles on display at Flow Gallery

Stitch By Stitch indigo cotton textiles on display at Flow Gallery

"The End of February" is at Flow Gallery, 1-5 Needham Road, London W11 2RP until 20 May 2016.

Social Fabric: African Textiles Today

Nelson Mandela capulana, 2008, copyright: Trustees of the British Museum

Nelson Mandela capulana, 2008, copyright: Trustees of the British Museum

Always on the look out for interesting textile exhibitions, we recently learnt of this new show which just opened at the William Morris Gallery in north London, Social Fabric: African Textiles Today.  

It explores how printed and factory-woven textiles of eastern and southern Africa mirror social change, changing fashion and tastes in the region.  The exhibition brings together kanga from Kenya and Tanzania and schweshwe textiles from southern Africa, and reveals how African tastes have been shaped by global trade.

 

'I did not join the struggle to be poor' by Lawrence Lemaoana, South Africa, 2015.  Copyright: Afronova Johannesburg and Lawrence Lemaoana

'I did not join the struggle to be poor' by Lawrence Lemaoana, South Africa, 2015.  Copyright: Afronova Johannesburg and Lawrence Lemaoana

Also featured are contemporary artworks and fashion inspired by the textiles in the exhibition, such as this artwork above by Lawrence Lemaoana, who uses kanga to express notions of power in post-Apartheid South Africa.  

The varied patterns and inscriptions are thought provoking and often humorous. They often convey thoughts and feelings which can't always be spoken out loud.  The fabrics are worn in both secular and sacred contexts.

London-based fashion label CHiCHia is inspired by proverbs from Tanzanian kanga, like the example shown below.

"I may be quiet, but there's a lot in my heart", Kenya, early 21st century.  Copyright: Trustees of the British Museum.

"I may be quiet, but there's a lot in my heart", Kenya, early 21st century.  Copyright: Trustees of the British Museum.

Social Fabric: African Textiles Today, is at the William Morris Gallery, Lloyd Park, Forest Rd, Walthamstow, London E17 4PP, until 29 May 2016.

It is a British Museum touring exhibition supported by The British Museum and The Dorset Foundation.  Thank you to the William Morris Gallery for the images.

 

REWILD YOURSELF, AT MAISON ET OBJET!

We're off to Paris this week to exhibit at interiors trade fair Maison et Objet.  This will be our fifth time!

If I can get away from the stand I always make a point of visiting the Inspirations section at the show.  This is a regular changing exhibition exploring current interior design trends, brought to you each season by l'Observatoire de Maison et Objet, and it's always worth a look.  

This season, the theme is WILD, with scenography by Elizabeth Leriche and Francois Bernard, and I've shared here a short film which introduces the exhibition.  You can also purchase the book here.

In our increasingly urbanised world, where technology plays a huge part in our everyday lives, the WILD exhibition explores the notion of the basic human desire to reconnect with nature and the natural landscape, and inspires us to re-wild ourselves! 

We hope you enjoy the little film - let me know your thoughts below. 

We hope to see you in Paris!

Maison et Objet, 22-26 January 2016, Paris.

Home Visit: Selvedge Magazine meets Graham at his Quirky Apartment

The definitive magazine for textile-lovers, Selvedge, recently paid a visit to Stitch by Stitch founder Graham Hollick's "eclectic, imaginative and unexpected" East London apartment.  

We're delighted to be able to share the article with you here.  This will appear in print in the July "Pop" Issue no.65. 

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"There are intriguing objects everywhere...."

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"Colour is a big thing for me...but never really strong colours" says Graham.

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"Stitch by Stitch collections evolve gradually, blending respect and admiration for traditional skills with a knowledge of what will stimulate demand"

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A "Victorian shipwright's bench serves as the kitchen island - oil, salt and other condiments sit in the furrow that years ago would have held shipbuilding tools."

 

Elsewhere in the press recently, our indigo Desi Pom Pom blanket was featured in House and Garden's July issue (item 3 on the jolly elephant's back, below).

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And Elle Decoration did a nice little piece on our work with kala cotton hand loom weavers in Kutch, India, in April.

Read more of our press coverage.

We'd love to have you in our address book!

Selvedge Magazine Spring Fair in Stroud

This Saturday 16 May, Stitch by Stitch will be travelling down to the Cotswolds to take part in the Selvedge Magazine spring fair in Stroud.

Come and join us and fellow exhibitors Heartwear, Ethical Life Store, The Basket Room and others.  It's a great opportunity to buy fine textiles, fashion and home products directly from designers and makers, all of whom have been carefully selected by Selvedge's discerning editor, Polly Leonard.

The Selvedge fair coincides conveniently (and not by accident) with the Stroud International Textile Festival when many artists, designers and craftspeople in the Stroud area open their studios, exhibit their work and give inspiring talks and workshops.  For more information, visit the SITSelect website.  Come and make a weekend of it!

The Selvedge Spring Fair in Stroud, 16 May 2015, The Subscription Rooms, Kendrick St, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1AE.  Buy tickets.


Nepal Earthquake Disaster - DEC Appeal

Here at Stitch by Stitch we were so shocked to hear the terrible news of the earthquake that hit Nepal at the end of April, the worst in 80 years.

Our radhi rugs are produced by a small community of weavers in Kathmandu working with the NGO SABAH Nepal.  Information is sketchy, but we believe the weavers are safe and are working to finish our latest order of rugs!  We are relieved to hear that there are no human casualties among the staff at SABAH Nepal but the extent of casualties and infrastructural damage among the artisan communities in the outlying villages is still unclear.  The enormity of the crisis affecting everyone in the area is beyond our imagination.

So we wanted to share with you a video appeal from respected english journalist (and one of our favourite news presenters in the UK), Jon Snow, on how you can help the people of Nepal by donating to the Disasters Emergency Committee.  The DEC is pulling together aid from 13 of the main agencies working on the ground to provide help and relief.

"It's the best way of getting money directly to the people and the communities who need it"

 

 

 

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