English Robins is one of my new designs woven especially for my exhibition at the Danish Weaving Festival at Jyderup, Denmark in June 2018. It is one of a pair of designs created as an homage to the mid-century Swedish rug designer and weaver Irma Kronlund.
I adore Irma’s designs and in particular a design called Rödhake – which means European Robin in Swedish. My throw is inspired by Rödhake and represents the English Robins or Engelsk Rödhake that share the garden outside my studio.Its partner is English Gardens or Engelska Trädgårdar woven in shades of sea and pine green and falun red, which is inspired by old formal English gardens with there formal layouts and red brick paths.
Behind the story of these two throws lies another which is to do with my own love of Scandinavia. As I wove these throws I also wove a story of how they were discovered in an old wooden cabin, painted with the traditional Falun Red paint of Sweden and surrounded by dark green pine trees. My imaginary cabin sat beside a soft green lake and sparkled in the low evening sun, as the finely ground minerals in the paint reflect the setting sun.
In my mind I visited this cabin each day as I sat at my loom, the old wood floor dark and polished with age, the spartan hand built furniture, the tapestries, cushions, and bedding of aged linens and wool, each woven in the striking and complex designs of this country. They each echoed the colours in my throws and I found myself echoing their rustic charm by finishing each one with a rustic fringe worthy of any antique textile.
Here was a simple and ancient homestead complete with ancient brass oil lamps for reading and patterned jugs for dispensing water. A fine layer of dust had settled over all and a quietness that was only broken by the soft hooting of an owl.
i found three books near the fire, each by the Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf. The two volumes that form The Adventures of Nils Holgerson which I read many times to my children when they were small, and Gösta Berlings saga which I came to much later in my life.
I wanted to stay here forever and live among the geese and red squirrels of the lake and woods. And as I looked for something to keep me warm while I sat breathing the enchantment of this place, there they were… my two humble throws, the robin and the garden… soft and warm and inviting. I could linger forever in the fading twilight but of course I cannot stay.
You can see the English Robins and English Gardens throws as they were exhibited in the UK Handmade exhibition in Denmark in the video we made the day the musicians arrived.
As with all my throws, English Robins is woven in pure lampbswool, spun and dyed in Scotland.
Dimensions: approximately 200cm x 110 cm (78” x 43”).
Caring for your throw
Although I have washed this throw as part of the process of making it, to avoid shrinkage it is best if you take this to the dry cleaners. However, to a certain extent wool is self cleaning so you may find all it needs is a good shake out and a little time spent outdoors on a breezy day to freshen it up