Kerry Stokes established Chalk Wovens in 2013 with her husband Richard. Kerry worked as a freelance designer for many years designing wovens for companies across the world and it had always been her ambition to design and produce fabrics under her own umbrella. This is a short interview to find out more about Kerry and Chalk Wovens to get some insight into these beautiful products.
If you are interested in any of the products shown then please click on them for more details and to purchase.
What should all potential customers know about your products that makes them special?
The weaves are designed by us and woven on dobby or shaft looms (shown below), not jacquard.
I really enjoy working within these constraints. The results are, we would suggest, pretty unique, combining bold motifs and subtle gradations and colours across our ranges of lambswool throws, cushions and hot water bottles.
Quality and workmanship, as well as design, are paramount, too. The fabrics are double cloth which means there are 2 layers, making the fabric very substantial and sumptuous.
The wool is the best quality merino lambswool.
We have excellent makers who make up the cushions and hot water bottle covers for example–the finest craftsmanship.
Whereabouts does your manufacturing take place and why?
We work with a mill in Wales.
As we are based in Brighton, it is accessible, which is very important to us. There is a tradition in Wales to weave double cloth structures and, though our double cloths are contemporary in design, the same principles apply. Hence our mill is the ideal choice.
We are able to liaise freely and have the flexibility of trying out shorter runs. We can weave more than one colourway on a warp as well as sometimes different designs. The weaving is beautifully crafted and the mill do all our blanket stitching, too.
This collaboration is brilliant, and is at the core of our ethos. Designing takes place in our Brighton studio. Brighton is a vibrant city and our studio has the added advantage of being close to the countryside, We can cycle into the city, to the beach or head north to the Downs!
What is the toughest part of the product development process for you?
It’s sometimes difficult to predict the popularity of a design and so to order the right quantities! We do get it wrong occasionally and find ourselves quickly ordering more!
Being based in a beautiful area of the world has the surrounding nature influenced your products, if not what influences them?
I often find inspiration whist walking in the countryside or along the Sussex coastline. I take photos and record ideas by drawing and painting. Gardens, too, are a great source of inspiration. Organic forms, seascapes and landscapes are reflected in the patterns, gradations and repetitive, geometric forms.
What environmental considerations have you enacted into your sourcing, manufacturing and packaging?
Wool is a wonderful natural resource with many inimitable qualities. It is totally natural and bio-degradable. Furthermore, it is breathable, renewable, and safe.
We never use plastics in our packaging–only biodegradable materials!
Why did you name your products as you have?
The choice of names for our designs and colourways is more whimsical than it might seem, though there are references to the local landscape and sources of inspiration!
What is the most enjoyable part of the process of product development for you?
Hand weaving is a most satisfying process. Realising a new design or “invention” is the most rewarding feeling. There are certain restrictions, as anyone who has tried dobby weaving will know! But to invent versatile thread-ups and technical solutions, with a firm eye on the aesthetic results, is such an amazing experience!
Which product in your range do you personally use the most and why?
We do enjoy our products in our own home. At the moment we are having curtains made in the Demi Saffron fabric which matches the lambswool throw draped on one of our new sofas–from Made to Last! Our other throws, cushions and lamp shades include Prism Grey, Jig Mint, Squircle Outline Orange, Reeds Berry, Nimbus Bracken and Beacon Ochre!!
Tell us something about Chalk Wovens (or you) that not many people know
Richard and I are the founders of Chalk Wovens. We met at college and discovered we were born on the same day! We have 2 grown up sons–one is a composer/Music Tech teacher and the other is an architect.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions Kerry!