Would you like 2 tonnes of wool with that?

When the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase the entire contents of the Collingwood rug weaving workshop came up, my gut instinct, without much hesitation, was to snap it up.

Admittedly, the UK’s most prominent and successful rug weaver, Jason Collingwood, announced his retirement a little sooner than I had expected. I wasn’t quite ready, but it was only a ‘small’ matter of logistics.

I simply had to move three full-size looms, all the additional equipment, and approximately 2 tonnes of yarn from Nayland in Colchester, to my shared studio space in Bristol. Only that! Oh, and the sampling loom made from a piano! Fortunately, the reality has allowed this to happen in stages, so much less overwhelming.

Three looms in the Collingwood workshop-Nayland. Photo: Theo Rooden

Serendipity

There were signals from the onset that this was the right move.

Firstly, I’d set my heart on one day owning the Harrisville shaft switching loom after weaving a rug on it in 2014. I voiced this intention at the time, and possibly a few times since, which put me at the top of the list when Jason decided to sell up. (Does anyone reading know if there are any more of these looms in the UK?)

The fact that I could make the figures work was obviously the biggest factor. 12 months earlier my business couldn’t consider this acquisition financially.

Initially, I expected to move my workshop to new premises for more space. However, in a serendipitous twist, the two adjoining spaces in my studios became available (was it something I said?), and I was able to expand without having to move.

It’s a bit of a squash and a squeeze and it certainly ain’t ‘Instagram pretty’, but it’s working for me and I love being at BV Studios. I can walk to work and it’s filled with so many amazing artists and friends.

Closing a chapter and cobwebs

The move is taking longer than originally estimated, but personally, I think this is better than an abrupt end to this chapter. There’s so much weaving history and some incredible cobwebs in The Old School and I’m conscious to be respectful of what came before. Two more trips should cover it though and I’ll miss my 24-hour mini-breaks driving a white van.

In the meantime, I’m knuckling down to some intense core strengthening and some hardcore rug weaving. And whilst I’ve no inclination, nor the skill set to emulate the prolific business model used by the looms previous owners, I do have productivity targets that require an improved level of stamina and endurance. (Note to self-Time to Plank).

Insane or savvy?

And the wool… Yes, let’s not gloss over the wool-shaped elephant in the room. A wise friend advised me not to go near it, but I’m trusting my gut instincts as they’ve served me well so far, and a deal’s a deal.

One section of the wool storage in the Collingwood workshop.
Ridiculous…

That said, my inner critic is screeching expletives on a regular basis about the ridiculous amount of yarn I’ve just transported across the country. Luckily, my inner advocate is louder, and I’m reminding myself that I now have the option to grow my business without buying new raw materials…ever again!

I’ll also try to sell what I don’t need over the coming months so drop me a line if you’re in the market for some good quality sustainable wool.

Life is a fairytale…by the brothers Grimm. Illustration: Vera Southgate

Yes, right now I feel I’m playing all the key roles in a weaving version of Rumpelstiltskin, although fortunately, no infants need to change hands in return for weaving this heap of wool into rugs.

There’s plenty more to share about my plans for this unusual business move. It feels nuts to be surrounded by more wool than I’m ever likely to weave, and so many looms.

However, it also feels right that this special collection of looms is staying together for the time being, and I’m looking forward to the time when I can open my studio doors for other weavers to use them, while I (to coin someone else’s phrase), pick up the baton to take on the world…one rug at a time. That should be shuttle really, shouldn’t it?

Angie Parker Phtoto: Alice Hendy Photography

Angie Parker is a weaver, designer, and colourist, based at BV Studios in Bristol. She trained in rug weaving in the 1990s and started her textile practice 8 years ago. 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.

New Editions of The Bristol Blanket for 2022

In 2020 I created The Bristol Blanket in response to the daily walks I had around Bristol’s colourful houses with my family during the first lockdown. This was also to raise money for MIND – the mental health charity.

If you’re familiar with my home city of Bristol, you might have noticed that the inspiring painted houses overlooking the harbour frequently get a makeover. If you’re not, here’s a photo from a recent harbourside walk. Spot the new additions in luscious ochre and grey.

This gave me the idea to subtly alter the design and the shades I’ve used the Bristol Blanket.

Now there are three fabulous options for you to choose from this season; Original, SUMMER (left), and WINTER (right). 

EARLYBIRD DISCOUNT ON NEW EDITIONS

The official launch of these new colours is Spring 2022.

But if you like being ahead of the pack I’m offering an early-bird discount. Simply select SUMMER or WINTER from my online shop. Then use the code EARLYBIRD21 to receive a whopping 20% off your blanket. They’re available for immediate posting so will be with you in good time for Christmas if this is for a gift.

The blankets are a warming addition to any bedroom or sofa. And they are just the thing to snuggle up under in front of the fire this winter. Lots of the recipients have fed back that they feel they were sent a soothing, cosy hug through the post, so why not send the gift of warmth and joy this Christmas.

Focus/21

Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour with Contemporary Applied Arts

I’m delighted to showcase my original one-off handwoven artworks and digitally printed designs at this prestigious event from 20-24 September 2021

The remaining chair from the Danis Disruption Collaboration with Jonathan Rose Design also featured alongside the work of other members of Contemporary Applied Arts.

Do one thing today…for better mental health

There’s really no need to point out that this year has been challenging for everyone, in varying degrees, and as we approach World Mental Health Day on 10th October, there’s never been a better time to shine a light on the work of MIND – the mental health charity. They are actively trying to help those who are suffering from new or worsened mental health problems as a result of the pandemic, as well as campaigning relentlessly to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

Charities have been dealt a double blow this year. Demand for their services has increased significantly and fund raising opportunities have been scaled back for obvious reasons. Whilst I can’t fix the negative impact of COVID-19, I can make a small change to the way I sell my luxury woven textiles, and the decision to donate 10% of the profits from sales of The Bristol Blanket to MIND works for me on a few levels.

I could have done this privately of course, but I’m making the donation part of the story for a few reasons. The main reason is that I think that now, more than ever, we need to keep the conversation about mental health at the top of the list. I’ve no specialist experience in this area, but I do know that things need to change with attitudes and the way many of us handle this part of our lives.

Another reason is that it’s slightly unsettling to have a business that’s doing okay when so many industries and individuals are suffering this year. (Rest assured, I’m thankful). Making this one change means that not only can I see a percentage of my profits go towards helping an organisation that can make a real difference, but it’s also helping my own mental well-being.

The Bristol Blanket. Photo: Article Studio

The Bristol Blanket is all about feeling good. The bright colours in this sumptuous lambswool blanket are designed to lift spirits and bring joy to homes. Inspired by the colourful Bristol houses which brightened up daily lock down walks, the blanket was created in partnership with Bristol Weaving Mill. The optimistic design reflects the connections with our neighbours and local community, which for many were strengthened during lock down. As an artist, I set out to design a textile that reflected the special bonds that formed from the shared experiences, in the hope that we continue to strengthen them and support each other more in the future. The response so far has been astonishing.

Available from www.angiepakertextiles.com

It’s a Bristol thing….. The Bristol Magazine October 2020

Saturday 10th October is World Mental Health Day and the message from MIND for this year is ‘Do one thing…for better mental health’. Whether it’s going for a brisk walk or doing something creative simply do one thing that improves your mental well being. There’s loads about it here.

Angie Parker Photo: Alice Hendy Photography

Angie Parker is a weaver, designer and colourist, based at BV Studios in Bedminster. She trained in rug weaving in the 1990’s 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.

The Bristol Magazine

It’s not everyday that I see one of my woven designs on the cover of a Magazine, and it’s it quite fitting that The Bristol Blanket has made it’s editorial debut in this beautiful October edition of The Bristol Magazine.

I’m delighted to see the images from Article Studio, the stunning furniture from Timberwoolf, my portrait by Alice Hendy Photography and not forgetting the superb team at Bristol Weaving Mill for making this launch so exciting.

See the full issue and feature here

Five feel good things I’d like you to know about The Bristol Blanket

The design is inspired by Bristol’s colourful houses, which brightened up our daily walks during lock down in the Spring. Read more here

It is woven in partnership with Bristol Weaving Mill. A renowned micro mill in the heart of my home city of Bristol which specialises in innovative design. Read more here


The optimistic colours in this sumptuous 100% lambswool blanket are designed to lift your spirits and bring warmth and joy to your home, and it is so soft. (I provide samples for those who prefer to feel the quality of a textile product before they invest. Drop me a line if you’d like to receive one).

The design reflects the connections with our neighbours and local community which for many were strengthened during lock down. As an artist I wanted to design a collection that echoed the special bonds that formed from the shared experiences, in the hope that we continue to strengthen them and support each other.

For every blanket sold, 10% of the profit will go to MIND- the mental health charity.

I’m delighted to launch The Bristol Blanket ahead of schedule and hope I can help to bring warmth and joy to more people this winter. I get that most of us like to know just how soft a blanket is before buying so get in touch here if you’d like me to pop a sample of the cloth in the post. Drop me a line if you have any questions and head over to my online shop to check out this uplifting new design from my Bristol studio.

Images: Studio Article Furniture: Timberwoolf
The Bristol Blanket

Bristol Weaving Mill and Angie Parker Textiles

A micro-mill based in the heart of Bristol

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.

The first power loom in Bristol for 100 years

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.

Inspiration for the new design was found in the colourful houses of Bristol which were saw on our daily walks during lockdown.
Inspiration for the new design was found in the colourful houses of Bristol which we saw on our daily walks during the lockdown.

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 Phtoto: Alice Hendy Photography

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.