Q&A Beatrice Larkin
Campaign for Wool had the pleasure of talking to wool textile designer, Beatrice Larkin, to discuss her work with wool and why she favours the fibre.
Please tell us a little about yourself and how your business/designs/products utilise wool?
I am a textile designer specialising in weave. After finishing my MA at the Royal College of Art, I have been focussing on producing my own fabrics. I design and sample in my London studio and work closely with a mill in Yorkshire to manufacture my woollen blankets and throws. Woven from the finest wool, the fabrics are washed and brushed at a finishers in the UK resulting in throws which are incredibly soft to the touch.
What makes you choose wool over other fibres? What is your favourite thing about wool?
Wool is an amazing fibre to use and as a weaver I would always choose it over any other. It is incredibly versatile and can be manipulated to create so many different outcomes. I particularly love it because of the pure and natural, soft finish which I get from my blankets after the finishing process.
By what means do you source your wool?
I contact yarn companies who send me samples. I then try to find the best shade, quality and price. For these blankets I use Super 100 wool in the warp and the softest merino wool in the weft.
What does the Campaign for Wool mean to you?
It’s great that there is a way to promote such a fantastic fibre and material and I’m really excited to be involved. It’s something I’m passionate about and a crucial aspect of my work. I’m also looking forward to seeing the other designers work on show.
The interiors landscape is forever changing, what does 2014/15 hold for you as a brand?
I’m in the early stages of my business but I hope in the next year to get more of my blankets out there in stores and into people’s homes. I would also love to do a baby blanket range soon.
Fabric technologies, particularly those using wool have advanced so rapidly over the last few years, has this affected your trade and work?
Not directly. My fabrics are woven on a computerised Jacquard loom but all the stages in the wool processing are quite traditional. I like complimenting the heritage of British weaving with the more contemporary and commercial element of my design and finished product.
How does using woollen cloths differ to other man-made materials?
I think there is a massive difference. There are so many different types of wool, so many different ways to spin it, weave it, knit it and finish it. You could have a woollen cloth that’s raw and earthy, ready for the elements or the softest most luxurious baby blanket. Either way these fabrics hold a natural, honest integrity which man made materials never will.
What demand have you seen from your customers with regards to favouring wool over synthetic fibres?
The touch and handle of my blankets is one of my main selling points and this is ultimately down to the use of wool. I have had feedback from customers telling me that as soon as they held one of the blankets in their hands they became even more desirable. I think there is a huge demand for natural fibres over synthetic. As a designer maker I am able to explain the journey from start to finish. I think with synthetic fabrics, on the whole that story doesn’t have quite the same impact and the customer is aware of this.
Are there any plans to introduce more wool in to your collection?
Yes. I would love to do a range of baby blankets which would have an even softer feel so I am looking at cashmere next.
To find out more about Beatrice Larkin visit http://www.beatricelarkin.com/
Beatrice Larkin is taking part in the Wool Collection: Interiors at Southwark Cathedral during Wool Week. Read more about the exhibition at http://www.campaignforwool.org/news-item/the-campaign-for-wool-interiors-collection/