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The Handmade Tale – an artisan approach

Trends are often transient, leaving small impressions that mark moments in time that are forgotten but are sometimes appreciated again through the post-modern cycle.  There is one aesthetic however that is fundamentally triggering for most textiles’ enthusiasts, and instantly transports a person to a comforting memory. An appreciation for the imperfect, untouched, natural, appliqué accents, embroidery, and hand painting are making more of an impact. This romantic shift can be viewed as an extension of other recent trends that have also gained traction such as ‘Wabi Sabi’, and ‘Cocooning’. However, the ‘handmade’ or ‘artisanal’ approach has more emphasis on the process of the fabric creation.  Viewing closely how yarns are unwieldly woven, embroidery designs created, appliqué fragments attached all with mesmerising and skewed imperfection.

Hand painted design work for the development of Katana & Tanko wallpaper, Casamance 

Hand painted design work for the development of Katana & Tanko wallpaper, Casamance 

Artisan techniques will forever be admired for their rejection of machinery in favour of natural and unique individual finishes. These folk were not just skilled crafts men and women working autonomously in workshops by hand, but many were apprentice merchant travellers of their skill - moving where demand of their products took them or supporting other masters in their field. These objects were either functional or decorative such as furniture, household items, baskets, furnishing textiles, clothing, or decorative art. Other celebrated trades which are today emerging regularly in ‘demonstration artisan markets’, are Blacksmiths, Bladesmiths, Saddlers, Shoemakers and Armorers. The way in which items are constructed with often-unexpected processes will always create awe, and reminds us of the immense time, care, and skill that’s required to create, defining the historical progression of art, culture, and quality of life. 

The following textile designs explore an artisanal approach that celebrates high skill and our connection to nostalgia.

Images sourced from Instagram
@thenewcraftsmen_artist-Joe Hogan_photograph-Peter Rowan

Images sourced from Instagram

@thenewcraftsmen_artist-Joe Hogan_photograph-Peter Rowan

Images sourced from Instagram from left to right:
@thenewcraftsmen - Leather designer - Otis Ingrams, Otzi Studios
@thenewcraftemen - Textiles designer/hand weaver - Maria Sigma

Images sourced from Instagram from left to right:

@thenewcraftsmen - Leather designer - Otis Ingrams, Otzi Studios

@thenewcraftemen - Textiles designer/hand weaver - Maria Sigma

Happiness – Zepel Fabrics 

This chunky boucle sheer is currently sought after and is incredibly delightful to explore. Tiny, wrinkled bouclette yarns of mixed composition come together to create this heavenly mesh weave. The construction of Happiness is reminiscent of the 70s aesthetic of weighty, highly textured drapery, and the historical practice of hand mesh weaving to create fishing nets and gathering bags.  Minimalist in approach with maximum impact, Happiness represents past functionality that’s evolved into decorative and textural magnificence.

Happiness in colour Winter and Mouse  

Happiness in colour Winter and Mouse  

Flume – Zepel Fabrics 

Named after and inspired by trailing water channels that occur in nature, Flume is our newest painterly watercolour print celebrating organic line work, and collisions of colour. A tradition that dates to 3000 B.C in Asia, the art of fabric painting has evolved from mark making and block printing directly onto fabric to digital printing of a hand painted design on base cloth. Fabric designs representing art add another layer of meaning, whether it be cultural, historical, inspired by nature, or purely decorative. Flume is a contemporary example of traditional watercolour fabric design. 

Flume in Opal and Copper 

Flume in Opal and Copper 

Weave – Zepel Fabrics 

Combining chunky durability and a soft, natural look, Weave’s nature is defined by earthy, nubby yarns with gentle variations in colour, providing natural texture and depth. A texture reminiscent of hand looming, this irregular and voluminous texture imitates a imperfect aesthetic adding inherent warmth and rustic charm. Weave offers a select and essential colour palette of liveable, warm neutrals and has passed FR certification, making this a fabric highly suitable for both residential and commercial applications.

Weave in Linen and Slate 

Weave in Linen and Slate 

Soupire – Casamance 

A weave that is so desired in many interiors currently, Soupire is composed of a linen warp gauze weave with a weft of a fancy bouclette wool and acrylic yarns. A construction made predominately from natural fibres, Soupire takes us back to the forever celebrated style of modernism, where vast elongated windows and sunken loungerooms were dressed in a perimeter of chunky bouclé. The very nature of the fancy bouclette yarn is its inherent uneven looped thick and thin yarns, creating various sized knotting, and celebrating a hand loomed finish.   

Soupire in 4591 01 11

Soupire in 4591 01 11

Refuge – Casamance 

Incorporating hand stitched appliqué elements is the innovative and unique Refuge. Inspired by organic materials, architectural geometry, and texture contrasts, this design oscillates between an atmosphere of serenity, natural warmth, and a bold statement. Creating a decorative fortified barrier against the outside world, this linen drape embroidered with stitched wool arrow shapes with felted softness, is mesmerising to explore. A technique that began in Ancient Egypt, initially used to strengthen weakened areas of fabric and then as a decorative addition, Refuge cleverly combines geometric pattern into the warmth of natural materials to inject elegance and sophistication.

Refuge in 4588 01 24 and 4588 02 01

Refuge in 4588 01 24 and 4588 02 01

Saba – Casamance 

A tradition that has been celebrated for its versatility to move between functionality and decoration, the art of banana leaf weaving originating in South Asia, is represented in the wallpaper design, Saba. Hand-woven with a meticulous yet organic finish, this natural material offers an unrivalled grain effect and inviting tactility. The intricate braids are hand-woven on old looms and are then laminated on a non-woven base for stability and durability.

Saba in 7046 02 97 and various colourways 

Saba in 7046 02 97 and various colourways 

Senshi wallpaper collection – Casamance 

The development and creative process involved in this remarkable wallpaper suite defines Senshi as prime example of the current power of the hand-made aesthetic. Evoking traditional craftmanship, these wallpapers are derived from hand drawn designs that are constructed from meticulously cut and glued textiles, crumpled tissue paper gently pressed, and gold/pearly inks applied for reflective patinated effects. The result is a mesmerising array of geometric patterns, each form holding its own individual finish. Inspired by Japanese warrior armour, the unique presentation of these designs represents the strength and status that was previously derived in the elaborate adornment of Japanese armour. The technique of collage is also referenced, and first become popular in 10th century Japan where calligraphers used sections of text glued on paper to construct poems. 

From top left clockwise:
Katana in 7032 03 24
Tanko in 7035 04 46
Bado in 7031 05 10
Creative development for Bado 
Creative development for Katana     

From top left clockwise:

Katana in 7032 03 24

Tanko in 7035 04 46

Bado in 7031 05 10

Creative development for Bado 

Creative development for Katana     

Mangrove and Pool  - Christian Fischbacher 

Inspired by the art of African wax prints and fashion, Mangrove and Pool is inspired by this magnificent and vibrant continent. This drapery is derived from a hand-painted design and combines harmonious organic lines of colour with complex layers of floral shapes and batik structures. These striking statement designs are made from durable acrylic boasting excellent lightfast and finished with a Teflon coating to repel water and dirt. Mangrove and Pool are also suitable as lightweight upholstery fabric.

Mangrove in 14673.301
Pool in 14972.203 

Mangrove in 14673.301

Pool in 14972.203 

Pool in 14672.201

Pool in 14672.201

Lake - Christian Fischbacher 

The imperfect and uneven structure of Lake is reminiscent of an intricate, hand-woven rug. Strands of yarn consisting of several colours are woven in a vertical braid creating a voluminous bouclé finish with a three-dimensional surface structure. The solution-dyed yarns used for this versatile upholstery has a very natural and modern rustic feel. As well as boasting a tactile ‘cocooning’ appeal, the fabric is easy to maintain and dirt-repellent. Lake is free from toxic substances, is hypoallergenic, has sound lightfast, and is resistant to abrasion, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor applications. 

Lake in 14675.504

Lake in 14675.504

Benu Net - Christian Fischbacher 

A fabric process that supersedes all expectations and is uniquely innovative in its approach is the design, Benu Net. This elaborate warp-knit fabric is constructed using SEAQUAL® YARN, which is composed entirely from ‘upcycled marine plastic’. Various plastics are collected from the sea floor and processed to make this special, sustainable, and eco-friendly yarn. Two different colours are twisted together to create each strand of yarn, resulting in a fabric with a striking, melange appearance.

Benu Net in 14645.502 and 14645.507

Benu Net in 14645.502 and 14645.507

It was fortunate timing that Zepel introduced the high-performance fabric range, FibreGuard Pro, in late 2019. This collection has thoughtfully considered our increasing concern when visiting hospitality and healthcare premises. The interior furnishings within these spaces that our body comes in contact with, such as couches and chairs, the surfaces we touch, and possibly the drapery, require suitably engineered fabrics to ensure we are protected from any harmful bacteria and germs. It may seem like an exaggeration and something we would never consider before, but untreated fabrics in hospitality and certainly in healthcare, can harbour harmful germs and bacteria. Furthermore, with the increasing requirement to uphold stringent hygiene in public spaces, a fabric range that could eliminate this stress in our view is invaluable. No need to fret however - our FibreGuard Pro fabrics while being specifically designed for high traffic, demanding interiors, are also germ repellent while being visually attractive.