You may or may not know that this site used to be called The Craft Unit. It was a little online store showcasing carefully selected craft made by people with learning disabilities and mental health conditions. I worked with the organisations that supported the makers to hone their creativity and showed ranges of their unique work. I just loved visiting all of the organisations, meeting the makers and selecting their beautiful work for sale. I wanted to create a platform for the work to be shared and to support marginalised makers by providing a space where their cultural contribution could be appreciated and admired widely.
I am also a handweaver of ten years, and spent much of this strange year on furlough. It was a completely unique opportunity for me to dedicate time to develop a strong aesthetic through weaving and wool. I was overjoyed to discover the beautiful, holistically farmed Shetland wool of Fernhill Farm, located nearby in the Mendip Hills. This gave a clear direction to my new ranges of woollen scarves, that are a celebration of the natural, undyed yarn.
I began to see the two projects merging, as Locally Crafted and Socially Crafted. The third strand - Artisan Crafted - was born following contact with Kuldip Gadhvi of the United Artisans of Kutch in Gujarat, India. We had travelled with him in 2015 and kept in touch since. The artisans that he supports have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, including a weaver of Indian scarves that we had visited back then - Haresh Manodhiya. This, coupled with my long harboured dream to work with fine Indian textiles, crystallised the plan. The Handloom Room was forming. A fine selection of textiles and craft with good, fully traceable provenance, each coming from disparate locations but united in their ethos.
I will be interviewing the makers and organisations that support them over the coming months, and will share here on the blog.
Meanwhile, I hope you like what you find! I am also re-opening the pop-up shop at Farrington's Farm Shop in Farrington Gurney (BS39 6UB) on the 3rd December 2020 - all being well!