And now it’s the time to relax. It’s after Christmas and there is nothing better than cosying up on a sofa and just “be”. A hot chocolate in hand, wrapped up in a woollen blanket and being surrounded by family and friends is a complete bliss. And talking about blankets, I want to highlight a brilliant textile designer, Anna-Lisa Smith, who I first featured in our February 2016 issue. Her work is based on the principles of clean lines, beautiful materials and honest production methods. She uses the finest merino wool to weave clean-lined interior pieces for the home in a range of gorgeous colours. All her work is woven and finished within fifty miles of her studio in West Yorkshire.
- What is the concept of your business?
The key concepts of my store are simplicity, quality, colour and heritage. I love simple yet striking design and have always been drawn towards Northern European design in particular. Simple clean lines demand attention to every detail and so it is important to me that all my pieces are made from the softest merino or lambswool and are finished as beautifully as possible. I have spent a lot of time perfecting the finish on my woven cloth so that the products feel as good as they look. The backing fabrics on the cushions are special in themselves, I use a very lovely organic, hand-woven cotton.
What makes my store unique is my colour choices. I try to be brave in the colours I use, I love all colour and I choose my colours carefully to work with any particular design. For example, my Lula collection was a chance for me to work with slightly softer colours as I believed the design demanded it and it’s also good to step out of your comfort zone sometimes! I think that people sometimes find using colour a little daunting, in my own home I have wooden floors and white walls and add small amounts of carefully considered colour to bring the rooms alive! It’s incredible how colour can have such an impact on the atmosphere of a room!
Another really important part of my business is using the mills and manufacturing base of West Yorkshire where I live. Huddersfield is my nearest town and it has a very important role in the English wool weaving industry. At one point, woven cloth from Huddersfield was famous across the world and was worn by Kings and Princes alike. The landscape of West Yorkshire and my small mill town Marsden is shaped by the wool weaving industry, in fact my studio overlooks an old mill which was once the largest privately owned wool weaving mill in the world. There are still many mills in this area and nearby Lancashire which have adapted to a demanding market place and are still running. It’s a joy to me to be able to support these businesses which have often been running for centuries and have passed down their weaving and finishing skills through the generations.
Photo credits: Photography by Claire Wood