I've been thinking lately about some issues...or better, so far I just can't find a definitive answer...
Some time ago, and precisely while doing market research at Bradford, I came across a handweaver who is based in Italy but sells around the world, in exclusive boutiques and shops. The products were not quite my taste (please note this it is only a personal opinion, and thankfully we all like different things!) but I kept an eye on this designer, wondering when I would have the chance to get across some of those items...
Then, while in London in October, I had the chance to see some of the handwovens and finally touch them, and pay attention to the details. I have to say I was very surprised.
A throw, woven in plain weave, with very nice colours (but nothing daring), horrible loose selvedges, and a very prickly wool. The price tag was high - of course - according to the type of shop I was in.
Questions, questions, and more questions...
If you sell an item, what is the level of quality you aim to propose? Selvedges are to be perfect? The quality of your yarn is important?
That blanket was the perfect example of what I would never sell - or buy -
then I thought ' if that throw is there there must be someone buying it'
Maybe selvedges are less then perfect and the wool is prickly because this is a way of saying "look! this is handwoven! it's not perfect - you can imagine the trembling hands of a weaver throwing the shuttle! ".
If it were perfect nobody woud recognize it - and think of the long hours spent dressing the loom, weaving, finishing, etc etc - and would not be prepared to spend such amount of money for it.
I know the work of many talented weavers, but their pieces are on a completely different level, screaming "I'm gorgeous" from every single fibre of their warps and wefts. Yet they don't command the same price level.
So what makes low quality so appealing? Is the public educated enough to recognise what is well woven or what is not? Brand name is enough? Compromise is necessary?
Why should I spend hours designing, getting the best yarn I can, striving not to make mistakes and keep my selvedges consistent?
Because I couldn't do otherwise - I want to be proud of what I make.
Interesting exhibition about Home Decorating in the 50's - with textiles by Lucienne Day and Jacqueline Groag at the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture