Our last blog featured the characteristic designs of mid 20th century German pottery and how it captured an era. Another favourite of ours, with an equally distinctive look, is Welsh wool with its astounding range of colours, patterns and textures.
Claret & cream
vibrant orange & olive green
shades of coffee
A number of mills have produced these high quality textiles over the years and in some cases still do. A couple of good examples producing traditional Welsh wool tapestry are Trefriw Woollen Mills and Solva Woollen Mill.
The distinctive designs are not ‘tapestry’ in the truest sense of the word but, are in fact, double woven cloth producing a pattern on both sides.
Mills produced textiles for sale by the length and also produced their own range of homewares including blankets, throws, cushions, place mats etc.
Tapestry drink coasters
In addition, these textiles were purchased wholesale by fashion manufacturers including Gwydir Garments, Dwyryd Clothes, Coracle Clothes, Gannex and many more.
The cloth was then made up into coats, jackets, capes, waistcoats, skirts, belts, hats, handbags and purses.
skirt & waistcoat suit
The 1960s were undoubtedly the heyday for Welsh wool. Nothing screams the 60s quite like a Welsh wool tapestry cape, mini skirt and knee-high boots. In fact, Mary Quant was known to make trips to Wales to source fabric for her fashion house.
However, recent designs by Melin Tregwynt have really moved things on once more and are much loved by contemporary interiors magazines. Whether it’s this modern look or the vintage pieces, these textiles look fantastic in the home.
The green and orange colourways look amazing with dark woods such as teak and rosewood, the bright pinks zing against white acrylic and browns & creams lift rustic pine with a bit of subtle colour and texture.
There are obviously no rules though, and the range of colours and patterns allows for great fun and flexibility.
Quality vintage pieces remain affordable and, having been out of favour for a few years, are being appreciated once more.
A creeping rejection of the cheap and mass-produced, the recognition of hand-crafted objects and the use of natural products stands Welsh wool in good stead for the future.