Stitch by Stitch creates handmade textiles for the home working with artisan weavers, embroiderers and quilt makers in Kutch, Gujarat, India and Nepal. The textiles are hand woven, hand spun, made with natural fibres, traditional techniques and often with natural dyes, made into cushions, quilts, blankets, and rugs, all which have a certain quality of weight and tactility.
The textiles are designed in the UK, and ethically produced in Kutch and Gujarat in north west India and Nepal, which partner the ancient skills of the artisan workers with a modern aesthetic.
The collections comprise kantha stitched pieces made by a master quilt maker in Gujarat in kala cotton, desi wool cushions hand woven in Kutch, and Radhi felted
floor coverings from Nepal, alongside special commissions and one offs.
The kantha stitching is skillfully executed by hand by a master quilt maker in Gujarat, distinguishable by the tiny stitches in close neat rows, which set them apart from more widely available alternatives. These intricate stitches give the pieces a textured surface, which is appealing to touch. The base cloth is kala cotton, otherwise known as Old World cotton, which is an ancient, drought resistant species which has been grown in the region since 3000 BC, and is now enjoying a resurgence due to The Kala Cotton Initiative. The growers do not use pesticides or synthetic fertilisers, and it is watered only by rainfall. This care produces wonderfully soft yet durable fabrics.
The Desi cushions are handwoven from local sheep wool on traditional pit looms in Kutch. With the foresight and desire to protect and continue traditional craft skills and as an exercise in regeneration following a devastating earthquake in 2001, a master weaver encouraged locals to stay in their villages with their families to weave, rather than leaving for work in the cities. By being paid a fair price, this is a viable living. Desi wool, typical of this area, has a distinctive "dry" texture. The wool is left in its natural state, un-dyed, and hand spun, it has an appealing irregular body to the yarn.
Radhi are traditional woven and felted wool floor coverings from Nepal. Reinterpreting traditional motifs, Stitch by Stitch have designed a rug collection with modern, geometric patterns. The rugs are hand woven in the Himalayas on traditional back strap looms, using thick local sheep's wool, then washed in hot water, which felts the wool. In using natural and un-dyed wool, there are subtle colour variations in the charcoal and whites of each rug.
The artisans who produce the collections are all self-employed, and many are home based workers who are given structure through local organisations, such as the respected SABAH in Nepal. Passionate about preserving skills and traditions, Stitch by Stitch are proud to support and empower home workers, who are paid a fair price for their work. Stitch by stitch, contribute in a small way to help change lives.
MORE ON STITCH BY STITCH
Stitch by Stitch was founded by designer Graham Hollick after several life-changing trips to India. Graham admits to feeling as though he must have lived in India in a past life, such is his feeling of affinity with the country.
"One of the things that really excites me about India, is the visibility of craftsmanship everywhere you go:
statue makers, weavers, kite makers...people who paint rickshaws! This is lost in our culture - it's just not an everyday thing."
Graham Hollick, founder of Stitch by Stitch
On one of his first trips to India, Graham was commissioned to develop a project with the highly renowned embroiderers from the remote Kutch region of Gujarat. Their skill and knowledge of complicated embroidery stitches, passed by women to their daughters over the generations, inspired Stitch by Stitch's first collection of home textiles.
Stitch by Stitch has evolved over the years to work with groups of hand weavers and a master quilt-maker, as well as with embroiderers, all based in Gujarat and Kutch, as well as the weavers of Radhi in the Himalayas, Nepal.
THE STITCH BY STITCH DIRECTORS
GRAHAM HOLLICK, FOUNDER
Working internationally, Graham has spent his career travelling the world immersing himself in the different cultures, people and aesthetics. Throughout this time he has been able to further deepen his love for textiles and interiors. He has worked with influencer individuals, independent companies through to global brands. Graham’s experience spans art direction and image creation, forecasting, designing of exhibitions, props and textiles. In his spare time, he designs set and costume for the ground-breaking Chickenshed theatre company, and co-founded The Party Hat Project which taps into people’s creativity to make merry and make hats while making friends.
KAREN SEAR SHIMALI
With specialist knowledge in the architecture and interior design industry, Karen understands the needs of the professional as well as the domestic market. Bringing wide experience of developing products, and working to project schedules, Karen builds relationships between the customer as well as the makers. On joining Graham as co-director of Stitch by Stitch, Karen returned to her original training having studied textile design, at the same time as Graham, at the respected Winchester School of Art.