Creating textiles imbued with handmade qualities

I want people to think about the time that went into creating something, and perhaps appreciate it in a way that they hadn’t considered before. Paying more attention to the stories behind the objects in our lives and the people who made them will undoubtably help us cherish those things more.

I hadn’t spent much time thinking about the textiles around me (in my home, on the bus, in the clothes I was wearing… ) until I started learning about textile production processes at university. Once I started making my own textiles - even if only in small swatches and sample sizes - I had a complete shift in thinking. I knew how long it took to conceptualise, sample and then produce a piece of fabric and was shocked at how inexpensive clothing and other textile-related objects (such as homewares) were.
Obviously I was, and still am, producing by hand and not by machine, but even with machine weaving it still takes a significant amount of time and skill to develop a textile - contrary to what the fashion industry would have you believe!

The hours I’ve spent weaving at the loom are some of my happiest - I never feel more fulfilled, whole, and utterly in sync with something than when I’m throwing a shuttle back and forth. I hope this comes across in my work.


Materials & sourcing

I care deeply about minimising my impact on the environment, and one way I do that is by repurposing fabric and yarn wherever possible. So far, I’ve bought second-hand mill ends from my local Weaver’s Guild (small colour runs that can’t be used to produce large quantities of fabric) as well as damaged bobbins (some have a few small stains that can’t be used in industrial productions but are perfect for me) and have received second and third-hand (if that’s a thing!) yarn from weavers who no longer have any use for them. I plan on sourcing most of my raw materials this way.

For my patchwork pieces, I receive fabric scraps from local fashion labels in Cape Town, as well as a mill in Plettenberg Bay, who kindly hand them down to me so that I can give their bits of fabric a new purpose. 

I also don't throw any textile materials away. Any trimmings or thrums (aka, loom waste - the last bits of yarn on a warp that cannot be woven) are saved to be re-woven if possible. If they're too small, then they get tucked into a bag with other sewing waste (such as the cotton thread from stitching cushions) to use as stuffing for cushion inners. Every little bit is precious.

For sewing, I use 100% cotton sewing thread from my local sewing shop.


Designing with purpose

My personal philosophy is to create with intention and purpose. I want to make things that are designed to last, and I want to make sure that if they do end up wearing down at some point, they are easily repairable in ways that make sense.

I believe it is my duty as a maker to always think about the entire lifespan of the object I am creating… I design and make all my pieces with this in mind, which is why I offer a repair service for every piece from So Far Studio.  A small step in consuming more consciously and responsibly is to keep our textiles in use for as long as possible, and this is where mending and up-cycling come in.


Garment mending

I suppose mending falls in line with my personal philosophy about clothing. I’m aware of the considerable strain the fashion industry puts on people and the planet and have been trying to minimise my own impact for a few years now. I wear what I already own and only buy when I really need something - and when I do, I buy second hand if possible or from brands that I believe aim to protect their workers and produce their clothing ethically and with the least environmental impact possible.  

But clothes do eventually wear down over time, and that’s where mending comes in. Sometimes a few hours of work can give a piece of clothing years more wear, and I think that’s a worthy investment. Mends can be little works of art - they take time, care, planning - and can become a special part of the garment’s story.

I think mending is the perfect way to reconnect with our clothing and appreciate pieces in our closet much more.  The pieces I’ve mended are now almost more special to me than others in my closet just because I’ve spent time fixing them.