Friday, February 5, 2016

Mike Friton

Back in 2005 (ish) I visited the Technitex show in Frankfurt in my capacity as a Visiting Research Fellow for the Smart Clothes & Wearable Technology research group in the University of Wales, Newport.  Whilst pausing for a much needed coffee break I got chatting to a gentleman called Mike Friton sat next to me at the coffee bar.  When I said that I was a weaver, his eyes lit up and he asked if I'd like to see some handwoven cloth he'd made.  From his rucksack he unravelled a length of cloth woven with an undulating weft!  I then discovered he was one of the senior designer-innovators at the Nike 'Innovation Kitchen', responsible for some of the most iconic footwear developments, including the braided footwear.  It was fantastic to speak to someone with a passion for textile construction, who'd taught himself to weave in order to explore how to create more mouldable fabrics from the footwear perspective.
(c) Mike Friton
Above you can see some one his on-loom experiments, with the curved reed he made for his loom.
We stayed in touch, and a few months later it was with great pleasure that I was able to introduce him to Peter Collingwood to discuss warp and weft threads not following the expected linear vertical and horizontal paths. 

Mike Friton Sneaker Innovator

Mike now works independently, although still consults for Nike and other footwear companies.  Making is at the core of how he designs and innovates - as well as weaving, braiding, origami and kirigami are some of the methods he uses to develop ideas. You can find out more about him in this wonderful short film, and of course on his website.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

The London Cloth Company

Film by Thomas Webster
After observing from afar for awhile with jaw-dropped admiration, I was lucky enough to hear Daniel Harris speak at an event in Wales a couple of years ago about The London Cloth Company, the micro-mill he had founded in the heart of London.  His enthusiasm is utterly infectious and I still can't overstate my awe for this seemingly insurmountable ambition to set up a mill. In London. The first for over a century.

He's passionate about the machinery and has been rescuing and resuscitating neglected looms and ancillary kit from all over the UK, which he now uses to primarily weave to commission for an illustrious list of international clients, including Ralph Lauren, Daks and Hardy Amies.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

PET Lamp

How seriously cool are these awesome handmade lamps?  Do check out the PET LAMP website to see more inspirational images and maybe make a purchase to support artisan makers across continents.


Craft in the Bay, Summer Show Focus on Weave open exhibition

This year, the annual open submission exhibition at Craft in the Bay, Cardiff (Wales, UK) has a focus on weave.  This can be in any material or craft process, not just a loom woven textile.   

Deadline for applications - 31st March 2016.

All details can be found following this link.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Online exhibition: From Back to Front, curated by Jessica Hemmings

"From Back to Front is an online curatorial project which gathers together recent examples of tapestry weaving that expose their construction: warp threads are left dangling, even the frame of the loom remains integral to some finished works. These visible traces remind us of the vast potential of the woven structure. Exhibitors include Ann Cathrin November Hoibo, Emelie Rondahl, Jennifer Hunt, Katharine Swailes, Lucy Brown (pictures below), Nicole Pyles & Tonje Hoydahl Sorli."

Commissioned by the American Tapestry Alliance and the Laffer Curatorial Program

With due thanks to Jessica Hemmings for sharing this information with me, via her email newsletter.

Lucy Brown, 2009-10, 99 x 138 x 40 in., EPI variable. Rayon (upholstery) cord, vintage and second hand garments, negligées, lingerie. Photo: David Ramkalawon. (Installed at the Rochester Art Gallery, England).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Eleanor Pritchard

Eleanor Pritchard is a creator of seriously elegant and easily covetable blankets, cushions and a recently added upholstery collection. Sophisticated colour palettes woven in wool, are realized in double cloth and other clever structures. With an ever-growing international clientele, its easy to understand why business is flourishing. It goes without saying I adore the work, but I also really admire the careful styling of all the shots of her products. 

In her own words:

I have always loved playing with colour and pattern. My work often has a mid-century quality and I feel a strong affinity for the aesthetics and design philosophy of this era. Alongside this runs a deep interest in vernacular British textiles and I see much of my work as a re-interpretation of these traditions and techniques for a contemporary audience.

All images reproduced with kind permission from 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Dash + Miller

Dash + Miller is a brilliant weave design studio based in Bristol, established four years ago. Founded by the talented Juliette Bailey and Franki Brewer, they specialize in producing clever woven samples and meterage for businesses across the spectrum of fashion and interiors. Clients have included Habitat, Pringle of Scotland, DAKS, Jonathan Saunders, Mulberry and Calvin Klein Home.

They work out of an beautiful studio in a converted old schoolhouse. High ceilings and white walls make the shelves of yarns sing and the work on the looms command your attention. I visited them recently to discuss all things 'weave' and left very inspired but with severe studio envy.  Their neatly ordered and perfectly labelled storage and lack of clutter made me return home to have a good tidy up of my mess. Not that you'd guess, should you saw it...... (a work in progress).

Their latest design work to hit the high street is as part of the Best of British range for Marks and Spencer SS14. The line can be found in M&S stores at Marble Arch and Kensington in London, Edinburgh, Bluewater in Kent, and Camberley in Surrey, as well as available online.

There are two garments in this first collection showcasing Dash + Millers unique collaboration with UK ninth generation silk weavers, Stephen Walters & Sons.  Two-tone graphic jacquard's have been selected for a Bomber jacket and dress.

Hope that this collection proves to be a sell-out, not only in recognition of Dash + Millers excellent work with Stephen Walters, but also to serve as encouragement to M&S (and other UK retailers) to start bringing more manufacturing back on-shore.