Transposing woven fabrics to the medium of print
In 2017 we had the pleasure of collaborating with British weaver Margo Selby, on a series of notebooks that transpose her woven patterns into the medium of print. Of course, as someone who appreciates quality materials and make, she wanted to do it right.
As we discussed when we first spoke at the start of the year, it would be a terrible shame if this had meant her patterns (full of three-dimensionality, made up of individual coloured threads) being simply printed as a flat graphic onto poor quality paper. Equally the materials and make had to be of the right quality to reflect Margo’s skill and the detailing in her woven pieces.
In April we made a much-anticipated trip down to Whitstable to visit Margo. As you’re guided through the building and upstairs to the working studio, every surface is saturated with texture and colour, decadently large pieces of fabric hang from the walls, tempting you to dive into them. There are silks, cottons, even towelling, in rich hues and daring combinations. And in the middle of the room, a loom, evidently in use and not just for show.
We spoke at length about the similarities and differences between our processes, about how we could reflect the warp and weft of Margo’s work in the medium of print. We decided to explore different coloured foils to make a number of different outcomes using a single brass die — the cover material would be the ‘background’ onto which we would imprint a complex pattern in a series of different colour combinations.
We chose a paper called Colorset, which is made in Germany, 100% recycled from post-industrial waste in the manufacture of till receipts. We were both keen to use something recycled and the dark grey shade worked beautifully with the rest of the palette.
We had never made a die this big, so we made a call to our printers up in Scotland. The notebooks would not be inexpensive, but they would be very special. We decided to invest in having a die made, and try out some colours.
Margo visited us in London and we picked out colours for the foil. Traditionally everybody uses gold and silver, maybe copper if they’re being trendy. We decided to go for the most punchy foils we could find, and paired them with vivid colours in the Popset range for the end papers.
We made up samples in June and in July the covers were printed in Aberdeenshire by our friends at Windmill. They were kind enough to hold onto the ‘waste’ foil and send it to us, which we now display in our London shop next to the notebooks.
Throughout July and August, we hand-made 100 notebooks in each of the three colours. Since we make them by hand, this took some time. And due to the precision of the pattern, it was crucial that the folds and cuts were perfectly accurate.