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Use less text on mobile! beautiful textiles for your home, designed by the sea and made in the British isles
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    beautiful textiles for your home, designed and made in the British isles

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      textiles for living

      cushions. throws. fabrics.

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        inspired by the sea

        merino lambswool throws, for cwtching up on cooler days

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          cwtch. cover. wrap.

          rockpool

          rockpool

          my latest collection, inlcluding a lightweight merino lambswool throw and co-ordinating cushions, including several new 'one & only' hand-woven designs

          customise your cushions

          customise your cushions

          We hand-make all our cushions using our woven fabrics, so if you would like a specific shape, or to mix and match the fronts and backs, please email me.

          designing by the sea

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          Blog posts

          • October 05, 2017 time to 'cwtch'
            time to 'cwtch'

            So the Danes may have clinched the word ‘Hygge’, which has recently caused a storm in the way we British like to chill out, entertain and hunker down in the cooler months. Apparently, there is no direct English translation for the word ‘Hygge’, which leaves us feeling a little bereft, slightly inadequate even, particularly as we are so proud of our language. But did you know that the Welsh also have a word, along the same lines as ‘Hygge’, which there is no exact translation for. That word is ‘Cwtch’ and it is such a lovely word, with delightful connotations. I came across this word about 20 years ago when my son was two years old. His grandmother from South Wales (affectionately known as Mrs Pepper Pot because she is so tiny) used to invite him to ‘cwtch up’ alongside her on the sofa. Here is how the University of South Wales describes it:

            What is a 'cwtch'? | University of South Wales

            a cuddle or hug.' However, this definition isn't conclusive, because the wonderful thing about the Welsh word, 'cwtch', is that there's no literal English translation. There are plenty of similar words, such as 'cuddle', 'snuggle' and 'hug', but none share quite the same affectionate sentiment as a 'cwtch'.12 Dec 2014. www.southwales.ac.uk/story/926/

            To me, Autumn is all about gathering in, whether we are gathering fruits and foods, or simply armfuls of family and friends. It’s the time of year when we want our loved ones around us, well fed and well warmed, safe inside as the winds blow wild against the window panes and wet rains streak across steely skies and piles of golden leaves form drifts outside the door. Days are spent in woollens and wellington boots and the longer, darker evenings provide the chance for more conversation, more reading, more dreaming and planning.

             So, what better time of year than now, to get cosy on a sofa with a good book, a cup of something warming and enjoy a ‘cwtch' up under a soft layer of wool !?

            (this lovely blanket has been crocheted by hand by Lisa and is for sale in the 'friends and finds' section.)

            I have named my new collection of miniature lavender filled cushions ‘Cwtch’. Handmade especially for the three upcoming shows I am exhibiting at, all run by the very lovely ‘Handmade in Britain’ organisation. I will be taking them first to Kew Gardens (next week), and then to Edinburgh, and finally to Chelsea Old Town Hall. Here’s a reminder of the dates:

            Handmade at Kew (contemporary craft fair)

            Kew Gardens, 12th – 15th October 2017

            Handmade Edinburgh (contemporary craft fair)

            The Hub, Edinburgh, 27th - 29th October 2017

            The Contemporary Crafts & Design Fair

            Chelsea Old Town Hall, 10th-12th November 2017

            If you would like to come along, let me know, I have a limited supply of entrance passes and it would be truly lovely to meet you. Email me: camillabythesea@yahoo.co.uk

            The lavender filled 'Cwtch' cushions (shown above), sitting alongside their bed fellows in my 'sea fret' range of cushions and throws. 

          • August 20, 2017 September Calling
            September Calling

            Living in the Great British Isles means embracing all seasons. There are undeniable changes happening in the garden, and I am undeniably aware that September is calling and am beginning to feel the thrill of cooler months ahead.

             

            There is a gentle fading beginning to take hold as well as the fullness of ripe berries and autumn fruits. It is this fading, mottling and ageing that I find restful and somehow reassuring.

             

             

            Yes, I confess to be totally thrilled by the imminent onset of autumn. This season is equally exciting to me as spring. The drama of the demise of nature’s summer beauty is displayed as a visual wonder in seed heads, leaf skeletons, crystallised cobwebs and exuberant colour in skies and trees. Along with darker nights, lit with candles and the glow of a log fire, harvest festivals and fireworks pepper the calendar. The kitchen becomes the hub of the home and is filled with smells of jam making, homemade fruit puddings, sticky sausages, toasted crumpets and long, lazy Sunday roasts. The hallway is filled with wellington boots and coats and we dig out warm woollens to wrap ourselves in ……... yes, I am a huge fan of autumn!

            September brings the call for us all to return to a more timetabled life and autumn provides the countdown to our yuletide celebrations. I will be exhibiting at the fabulous trade show ‘Top Drawer’, for the first time in September, hoping to meet owners of boutique shops, independent galleries and interior designers, all looking for artisan made pieces for their curated winter collections.

            Meanwhile, the last threads of summer are difficult to let go of. Gathering up fading flowers and making the most of home grown vegetables in warming soups and hedgerow fruits in glorious crumbles, means we can still eat outdoors and gather together with candle-light and blankets to wrap around. This is, perhaps, how we British like to ‘Hygge’. The jaded colour palette makes me think about softly shaded wools. I like to work with colours that have been taken directly from nature, I find them soothing and restful and they seem to sit well with natural fibres. Perhaps my next woven designs will be inspired by the colours of September......

             ........we'll see. x

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

             

          • July 23, 2017 Preparing to exhibit at CRAFT - Top Drawer
            Preparing to exhibit at CRAFT - Top Drawer

            The studio is very busy at this time of year. I love the buzz and there is nothing like a deadline to create that feeling. I am very excited to have the chance to show off my work at CRAFT – Top Drawer for the first time this September.

            The designs for my new collection of woven throws and cushions, ‘tidal sands’, have been inspired by the coast of Anglesey, a beautiful island just off North Wales, which has to be my favourite place in the whole world. The patterns that are woven into the fabric of the throws represent the marks left behind in the expanse of wet sands at Newborough beach as the tide ripples out to sea, as well as the marks made my tractors pulling boats in and out across the beach in the pretty town of Beaumaris. I hope my designs represent the peace, space and gentle beauty that are to be found on the island.

            The making process began a whole year ago when I began to make sketches and designs that I would then hand weave in to samples on my small hand loom. The throws were manufactured for me at a family run mill in Lancashire which is over 100 years old and specialises in producing a beautiful finish using water from its own stream, bringing out the very best qualities of the merino lambswool. It is a slow painstaking process, but better for being just that. Time stands almost still in the weave room and I can't help feeling a connection to the weaving industry of the past.

             

             

             

             

            Each throw is being double checked, folded and labelled with logo and care instructions, before being packed away, ready for Olympia:

            There is something calming about the softness of merino lambs wool, a feeling that is reminiscent of childhood, home and comfort all at once. The quality of this yarn means that the throws are very soft, warm and lightweight, perfect for wrapping around in moments of tranquillity. I hope I can bring a little tranquility to Olympia!

            the 'sea fret' throw

          • May 19, 2017 drawn to design
            drawn to design

            'Why draw?' This is a question I asked myself when applying to do a textiles course at university. At the age of 49, I had never really drawn anything. I had been creative all my life but I was a maker, not a sketcher. I soon found out that drawing is something that is absolutely necessary if you want to become a designer, so I had to book myself on to a crash course to learn how to draw before my application was accepted (thank you Michael Troy!). Although I was fearful of failure to begin with, and I can see the tightness in my early drawings, I eventually learned to relax and enjoy playing with colour and texture, mark making and experimenting.

            I remember one particular day in my first year at university, when it all became clear to me. There were almost 70 students squashed into the art room and we were all given the same drawing task. Only, we were asked to use the hand we don’t usually draw with and we were encouraged to use charcoal, attached to long sticks. Our large pieces of paper were pinned onto walls and we had 3 minutes to draw a cross section of a tree trunk. Once the 3 minutes were up, our drawings were taken off the walls and placed side by side on the floor and we were asked to walk around them. There were 70 different drawings of exactly the same thing. Not one was better than the other, not one was worse, but each was individual.

            This is why drawing is so important for designing. It comes straight out of you and is as individual as a finger print, it represents your style, your voice. It is completely original and this is the starting point for designing; to create something that does not already exist. I never draw objects, I see that as copying the designer who made the object in the first place. I prefer to use nature and landscapes as inspiration and as I walk a lot, I have an ever changing source of material to work from. I sometimes use photographs to keep records of what I’ve seen, but always get better results if my subject is in front of me. I use my imagination, or memory, for creating more abstract drawings and these work well too.

            The sketches I make, the marks that appear on paper, are not works of art as such. That is, I am not about to frame them and hang them on the walls. But they are the beginning of the design process and will fuel weave designs or perhaps give me ideas for stitch. And because they come directly from me, I can be sure that what comes next will be original.

            These drawings were very quick to do following a day on the beaches at Llandwynn and Newborough Forest on Anglesey in North Wales, and form part of the research for my next woven designs. For me, trying to capture the essence of the place is more important than it being a true replica of the scene itself.

             ...I used my finger to make this drawing. The textures of the pastel oils is perfect for smudging and you can see how excited I was by the bright greens. I took photos of my drawings at different angles:

            This is a sketch of the forest, again I was playing with textures and looking at pattern this time. Using my camera to find different angles of interest, I can see structures for weaving here:

            Why not try it for yourself? It takes a little time to find your style, but you will most certainly have one. Don’t be scared and don’t care too much. There is no bad. Make some marks!