Did you know that Bristol has a weaving mill?
Not only that, but a weaving mill that specialises in niche cloth production and that is a short walk from the City centre, (and conveniently for me, a 20 minutes walk from my studio).
I first heard about it when it was still a concept in 2014. I was a delegate at the ‘Loom’-A Textile Seminar, as part of the Stroud International textiles program. Chaired by Helen Foot, the seminar brought together a panel of contemporary weavers to discuss their woven production methods and how it affects their practices. The audience was a who’s who of established and emerging weavers, and the impressive lineup of speakers included Kirsty McDougall of Dashing Tweeds, and Franki Brewer, and Juliet Bailey, from renowned textile design studio Dash and Miller amongst others.
This was the first time I heard Franki and Juliet, the founders of Bristol Weaving Mill (BWM), talk about their dream and vision of creating a space where innovative fabric design could embrace traditional manufacturing processes. The result is a micro-mill based in the heart of Bristol which opened its shutters in 2015 and has since gone on to create some of the most exclusive, bespoke, and experimental fabrics imaginable for the international fashion and interior industries.
With such an amazing resource right on my doorstep, it’s no surprise that I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to work with this dynamic team since setting up my business. What I didn’t expect was that the perfect project would come about because of COVID-19. (More about that here).
Creating my new product with BWM during this global pandemic was remarkably straightforward. In part because of the location, but mainly because they are such a bloomin’ fabulously lovely, talented, and professional team. With safety at the forefront of our minds, most of the initial production planning was carried out via email, phone and zoom, as it would have been if I lived further away. But one huge difference was the rather happy coincidence that Rowenna, the Product Development, and Sales Manager, lives four minutes walk from my front door. Having the opportunity to meet face to face on those sweltering sunny days, even if it was in the street, was hugely beneficial when working through the samples and fine-tuning how to translate my handwoven designs to a power loom. As we didn’t have to rely on the postal service, it saved us days. I think we’ll all agree that as much as we’ve embraced the benefits of technology, nothing beats a real-life chat.
I’m delighted to reveal the new collection and The Bristol Blanket woven in partnership with the BWM. The design for this luxurious and soft blanket is inspired by the colourful houses of Bristol which became a familiar and uplifting backdrop to our daily walks during the lockdown. (More about the inspiration here). The micro collection of handwoven rugs, woven art panels, and samples created in my workshop have informed the final design, and I love that we have a product that is typically Angie Parker, and typically Bristol! Head over to my online shop to discover more.
Angie Parker is a weaver, designer, and colourist, based at BV Studios in Bedminster. She trained in rug weaving in the 1990s and started her textile practice 6 years ago. Her latest collection of handwoven designs and small batch-produced textiles has been launched ahead of schedule in September 2020. Subscribers to her newsletter are the first to see new designs and also get access to special offers and exhibition news. Sign up here to keep in the loop.