The essence of the word ‘craft’, when you take away all the chat, is to do something over and over and over again, and again, in the hope that you may at some point attain perfection. This can take decades.
When we set out on the STABLE journey we travelled all over to meet and get to know people who could help us realise our vision of showcasing this level of craft in world-class Irish-made accessories. We now work with over thirty different producers across the island of Ireland, north and south. The pleasure we get from designing, creating and bringing to life the materials, accessories and collections we produce is enormous.
Our trips took us northwest in search of tweed- and wool-weaving to its epicentre of excellence, Donegal. The towns of Kilcar and Ardara became the hubs for both hand and machine weaving in the eighteenth century and still are today. Hand-weaving is a particular craft that harks back to a thriving cottage industry where Irish families not only farmed but also had looms on the go indoors, spinning the sheep's wool, dyeing it with local roots and plants and then weaving cloth, which they would sell in local market towns. We work with highly skilled weavers who have taken on this history, weaving their exquisite wool day after day. They are a testament to the fact that to make perfectly and consistently, you have to invest years, if not decades, into that craft.
Ireland was the world’s largest producer of linen. We had entire towns and counties in the north of Ireland totally built around the growing of flax, processing of flax, spinning, weaving and bleaching. The Irish linen fabrics were of the highest quality and sought after in royal houses across Europe and beyond. Sadly much of that industry was lost due to post-war recession and cheaper international sources and production. Today we have only a few companies left and we work with them closely to create our collections in Irish linen. Irish linen is beautiful, resilient, natural, sustainable and recyclable. It's good for you and it's good for the world.
We refuse to see the disappearance of the hand, the story or the journey that comes with fine craftsmanship because of mass consumption and fast fashion. We need these people to remind us just how good fewer and better things feel.
With the resurgence of demand for natural fibres and slow fashion, we are heartened by a parallel emerging interest in people wanting to learn about weaving and natural fabric and yarn creation. Lots of great exciting talent can be seen in our Irish graduates from design, fashion and art colleges around Ireland. The future is bright – and going back to natural, sustainable and local is the way forward for healthier, happier hearts and homes.