Wednesday, 14 December 2011


This is the charity I managed to get my homestay through whilst living in the Sacred Valley, Peru. Awamaki Lab work with the weavers from a few communities in the Sacred Valley to develop fabrics and products for fashion to sell. The profits created are then given back to the co-operatives the women have set up. Awamaki Lab also run sewing workshops, to help the women of Ollantytambo develop their skills to a professional level. They are reviving an essential skill that was once key in the Ollanta community. They are a fantastic charity, worth a look.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Cosy cushions showing at Donna Wilson.

There is a chance to have a look at my fabrics at this year's Donna Wilson sample Sale. It starts on December 1st at 6pm and finishes on 4th, 4pm. It would be lovely to see you there.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Afghan Action Weaving Programme

Afghan Action have a small carpet factory and training school in Kabul. They have trained over 450 young men and women to weave carpets since September 2005 (including some disabled people). Staff and trainees also benefit from classes in literacy and numeracy, on-site healthcare and a nourishing midday meal. Afghan Action’s work in Kabul currently has 15 trainees learning to weave carpets and a small number of weavers whom they employ and from 31 July 2011, a new group of trainees learning to sew and make clothes. They supply rugs to Oriental Rugs of Bath, pop in and admire the beauty and skill of the weavings.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Ekta Kaul at Origin 2011

If you are in London, try and make a trip to Origin as part of this year's London Design Festival. Make a special stop at my friend Ekta Kaul's beautiful stand.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Patacancha weavers

The women quietly set up their warps, sitting in circles, they chatted away as their fabrics grew and the babies tormented the dogs.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Kinsa Kucho, Chillca and Cochineal dyed yarns drying on the roof.

Stripping the bark of a Janili branch for a deep yellow, It was like cutting through butter.

Natural dying in Parobamba

The Cochineal bug and the Chilca plant dyes bubbling away.

Dividing the next lot of work between the weavers

Last week weaving

The last few days in the village went by far too quickly. Any spare time I had I wove as much as I could. My 4th warp started slowly, but it was by far the most complicated structure. When The evenings drew in, I would take a walk to to the top of the mountain with a small beer (Niki, I am forever indebted to you for that bag of goodies) and a banana in my backpack, listening to my hula hooping soundtrack. I could feel the cold wind blowing in from further up the valley and could see the shadow of the mountains slowly creep up on the village below. I commissioned Felicitas to make a tapise, I had such pleasure rummaging through her yarn bag, choosing the colours and making the warp with her. I decided to let her choose the motifs, because to her the significance of what she weaves is far greater than with me.
On the Wednesday Felicitas and I gathered in a central area in the village with about 25 other weavers to discuss the dividing of the next lot of weaves (from Awamaki) between women. This was done slowly and peacefully. The women would chat quietly until a decision was made, the process was done fairly with alot of giggling and the eating of many boiled potatoes.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Weaving in the hills

The more immersed I become into the life in the village, the more isolated I feel. I´m never going to be able to understand the mysteries and unravel the secrets. Even If I lived in Patacancha for the rest of my life I would still be an outsider, because I don´t share the same blood as the mountains. I can´t explain it any better. There is a mystery that runs deep within the veins of these people. Like an invisible thread that holds the fabric of their existence together.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Weaving in the bean fields

This week I managed to finish my first warp and Felicitas taught me the next pattern up. I took the sheep up the valley alond the river with Felicitas and her 3 year old. We ambled over rocky paths and settled by the water to harvest their broad bean crop. I could hear the wailing of the llamas and their bells ringing from the other side of the valley. On our side of the river the valley slowly curved upwards and was scattered with horses, boars, buffaloes, sheep grazing on the potato patches. Women were dotted about the animals keeping order, cooking potatoes and feeding their babies. We rested amongst the long grasses and wove until an old woman hobbled down to us with a bundle full of earth fired potatoes for lunch. The two women softly nattered to each other about husbands, gringos, weaving, children whilst the children rolled around with the stray dogs.

Weaving- weeks 1 and 2

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Áfter a week in Patacancha, a village with about 80 families at 4000m high in the heart of the Sacred Valley, I´ve returned to Ollanta for a hot shower and to satisfy my need for fresh avocados. The family i´m staying with work so hard, but are always happy and content. They never get angry or worked up and they laugh so readily, even though their farming life in the mountains is grueling. The village plant and harvest their potatoes at different times, so that they can all help one family at a time. The women share out weaving commissions, to make sure they all get a fair share of the profits. People depend on eachother outside the family unit to survive. They look after each other as if they were their own flesh and blood. The women breast feed each other´s babies and wipe their noses on their skirts. They feed others if they are around, and the kitchen door is always open to passers by who need to rest. They cant offer much, but rice and potatoes for every meal still tastes delicious. The family has three kids. The two eldest girls are 10 and 6 and go out to the hills every day in the bitter cold to look after their flock of sheep. They make fires out of dung to keep warm and cook potatoes for snacks. They are already miles ahead of most of us. I can´t begin to describe my respect and admiration for these people.


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Thank you to all those who voted at the Salisbury Arts Centre Open 2010 Exhibition. I am thrilled to say that I won second place in the public vote.