David Irwin & Bute Fabrics: Celebrating the Makers Mark

Posted in Products on 7 April, 2020

British product designer David Irwin, has created his first range of textiles in collaboration with Bute Fabrics. The collections, ‘Identity’ and ‘Strata’ have been inspired by the island and intricately celebrates the company’s heritage, its location and its people.

Both collections are firmly rooted in the elements on which the company are founded: craftsmanship, skill, the island landscape and the local community where 46 employees reside. This collaboration celebrates the impact of the human touch within machine production; the makers mark and the mastery of the unique processes inherent in manufacture.

These compelling collections will be woven on Bute’s new Jacquard looms – the first production of Jacquard cloth in the mills 72 year history. The Strata collection takes its cue from the isle of Bute’s underlying geology, referencing the colours of stone found on the island from its bedrock to its pebbled beaches and rocky shores.

A prime example of this sandstone in use is that of Mount Stuart; the Gothic Revival Mansion which is the seat of the Stuarts of Bute. The blocks from which the building is constructed were hand dressed by stone masons whose individual chisel marks are still visible today and have inspired the first design of this collection: ‘Mason’.

The tool marks left by the masons create an effect of shadow and contrast similar to that of the rocks found along the southern shore of the island as well as the ridges of the eroded sandstone. The second fabric created within this collection ‘Mineral’, also uses sandstone as its point of reference, only this time looking deeper into its mineral composition.

Looking at various magnification images of sandstone and other sedimentary rocks, allows us to observe the mineral content and internal structures hidden deep within. Viewed at this scale, these thin sections of material reveal natural compositions, rich and varied in form ranging from densely populated masses to sporadic clusters. Taking advantage of the possibilities afforded by the jacquard loom, the subtle variations of tool marks left by the masons have been represented within the finished fabric. The resulting ‘Mason’ design is a bold, large scale striped pattern possessing the textures of natural stone whilst retaining the inherent character of hand craft.

Mineral is designed to create visual impact – the graphic structure preserves a feeling of stone whilst the abstract array of fragments leaves the pattern open to interpretation. For ‘Mason’, earthy, rugged hues derived from the sandstone and pebbles collected on the island, helped to inform the final palette. Referencing minerals and precious stones, the colourway for ‘Mineral’ offers a fresh, youthful palette containing a mix of dusty pastels and elemental shades.


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