In my eyes, the story behind a brand, independent designer/maker or even just someone doing what they love as a hobby, goes a long way in selling a product and creating a long term love affair with said company. It doesn’t matter where you end up, your roots are the most important thing in my eyes and it’s an absolute essential that your portray how you started and your journey from that point in every way possible.
A couple of weeks ago I was kindly invited to attend an embroidery workshop with Ciara of WAFFLE Design, organised by social storytellers, In The Window. If the promise of the narrative behind WAFFLE wasn’t enough, the chance to explore Sugarhouse Studios (home of Assemble) certainly was, although Ciara could have presented outside for all I cared as I was very eager to find out more about how the brand came about and of course have a go at creating my own little waffle to take home!
On arrival, Ciara took us up to her small homely studio space and started to explain to us about how she works as well as the process of starting a piece from scratch. How sweet is the working environment? I love the textures of the swatches and fabrics as well as the little homely touches that the plants bring and the obvious necessity of your own products surrounding you in your space – truly inspirational! The home accessories range created by WAFFLE is inspired by the traditional waffle weave, using bursts of colour in the hand embroidered detail for a contemporary feel. Ciara uses a textured organic cotton, woven in Kerala, which is already utterly beautiful in it’s own right. The fabric travels to the UK by boat, is then organically dyed in Scotland before being hand embroidered in London – quite the journey, but one that is sustainable and beneficial to the environment and the livelihood of those that have spun and woven for generations.
The process of embroidering the fabric is one that should be slow and therapeutic. Ciara embroiders in small batches using just a needle and wool to create the graphic strip detailing on her designs, quite the opposite to the mass production that we are surrounded by on a daily basis. I can assure you that the whole production is extremely relaxing and could easily help you whisk a day away. Cushions, rugs and other bespoke soft furnishings all make up the WAFFLE range, oozing qualities of true craftsmanship and a traditional artisan process, just what I like to see.