Back by popular demand! This August, the Craft Scotland Summer Show will be coming to bustling Edinburgh, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Showcasing the best of contemporary Scottish craft, our Summer Show explores the work of selected makers and allows you to treat yourself to an affordable selection of handmade jewellery, textiles, homeware and more.
Get to know the makers with our behind the scenes Summer Show blog series; learn about their process, their inspiration and what's on their Summer Show shopping list.
Today we are hanging out with Chantal Allen from Warped Textiles.
Aloha Chantal! What do you do?
Hello! My name is Chantal Allen, I set up Warped Textiles in 2014 after studying and teaching weaving for fifteen years. I specialize in small batch production, handwoven and mill woven fabrics, developing and designing new woven textiles in my Glasgow based studio.
My work is created on my much loved computerised weaving loom, using this versatile equipment allows me to be spontaneous with patterns and yarns as well as being able to hand weave lengths of fabric for production and commission work.
How did you get started?
When I was young I was alway interested in fabric, colour and designing, creating little catalogues filled with fashion drawings and found fabric samples attached. It was the 1980‘s and my mum was trying to teach me to knit but as a left-hander and her being right-handed it proved a little difficult!
I always thought that I wanted to be a fashion designer, not realizing that one could be a textile designer and specialize in the fabric itself. Then at high school, I spent a weeks work experience at The Glasgow School of Art watching and helping the embroidery and weave students create work for their degree show. Whilst there I was captivated by the weaving looms and wanted to learn more. My heart was set on textile designing and I went on to complete a BA(Hon's) in Woven Textiles in 2001.
Tell us about your favourite piece?
My bouclé cream wool cushion. This piece is taken from my latest collection called ‘Elemental’, the fabric is inspired by Scandinavian design and the purpose of reconnecting with nature. The overly textural yarn is inlaid by hand as it is too thick to fit on a bobbin and pass smoothly through the shuttle so it’s a very labour intensive textile to produce.
Why does it make you happy?
After the Bouclé fabric is woven and washed it’s fabulously textural, weighted and comforting. It’s a feel happy fabric, so soft and calming yet luxurious with a sophisticated edge.
What’s your favorite part of your process?
It would have to be textile product development. I love all the aspects of weaving from designing to making but at the moment I’m really enjoying sourcing new companies to work with and developing ideas, watch this space...
So, what’s the hardest part of weaving?
The weaving can be physically demanding on the body and although I have a computerised loom the warp (vertical threads) still need to be lifted by using two-foot pedals underneath the loom. Whilst also throwing a shuttle (weft thread) across. This hand-loomed process at times can be very labour intensive but ensures the highest quality textiles are woven.
What gets you in the studio?
Taking time out of the studio really helps to motivate me to get back in. Just being able to reflect on the work that I have created and how I can progress this or build upon it, this way I feel I make the most of my studio time.
What piece of craft do you aspire to own?
I’m a huge fan of Grainne Morton jewellery. My family bought me a pair of green butterfly earrings by Grainne for my birthday many moons ago and they are my all time favorite. I aspire to own one of her statement necklaces one day.
How do you like to wind down at the end of the day?
I’m a bit of a foodie, my husband and I love to go out for dinner, one of our favorite restaurants is Stravaigin in Glasgow’s trendy west end. We also enjoy walking to bakery47 on a Sunday morning with our two children Orla-Jette and Charlie to buy some delicious home-made baking, yum.
Find Warped Textiles & Grainne Morton at the Craft Scotland Summer Show
Friday 5 to Sunday 28 August 2016
Mon-Wed, Fri-Sat: 11:00-18:00
White Stuff, 89 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3ES