Nov 25, 2015 :: by Leila Raabe
And now, for something a little different—enter our newest addition to the Quince market: Beautiful handwoven pillows by Herron, created with Quince & Co. yarn. Made with attention to detail and mindfulness of materials by Herron founder Dee Clements, our very own Owl/Tweet yarn is featured in each of the two distinctive woven designs on offer.
We invited Dee to the blog to share a glimpse into the making of the pillows and to talk about knitting's sister craft, weaving.
- Can you share a bit about how you got started in woven textiles?
I studied weaving in college and received my bachelor’s degree in Fiber & Materials Studies. I worked in the textile industry on the design side early on after school, then took some time off from weaving to explore other things for a while. I started my company Herron in 2011 and it has grown into a design business focusing on woven textiles.
- What types of fibers do you enjoy working with?
I work with natural fibers, mostly cotton and wool. When sourcing fibers for my work, I try to follow the fiber down to its seed or animal. Supply chain transparency is part of my business model and is really important to me. Right now, I am working with all US-sourced cotton and wool. The carbon footprint from farm to mill to my studio is very small. I try to make woven work that is honest and responsible, and that starts with the fiber.
- Can you tell us about your workspace and the tools you use for weaving?
My studio is in Chicago in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor, in a 6-story building called The Feather Lofts, which I heard used to be a pillow factory. The building houses many design-related business like mine. My space is about 400 sq ft, with big floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the Chicago skyline and let in lots of natural light. I work on hand looms and have several in my studio that I use for production and sampling, including the pillows I made for Quince & Co. My newest addition is a 60" wide AVL Dobby loom, which I am pretty excited to start weaving on!
image left, © dee clements; images right, © paul elledge
- What was the process in creating these pillows using our wool/alpaca Owl yarn?
First I started with the color palette: Knowing the pillows would be released in the Fall, I wanted them to be soft and warm in texture, as well as warm and sophisticated in color palette. I spent some time creating several sketches and drawings on paper that outlined my design ideas, weave structure, size etc. I took a honeycomb weave pattern and varied it to give a lot of texture to the fabric, focusing on a design that really featured the beauty of the yarn.
Narrowing the sketches down to two designs, I was sent sample yarns of Owl in the colors I wanted to work with. Once we arrived at designs that everyone liked, we went into production. The pillows were woven by myself and Judith Querciagrossa, who works as a weaver for Herron from time to time.
- What do you envision for the future of the American textiles industry?
I'd like to see the textile industry re-established in the US. Roughly 98% of American brands now manufacture their textiles—from apparel to home goods—overseas, where factories compete with each other for US business by offering the lowest bottom line. It makes textiles a commodity at both human and environmental cost. I envision an industry where American brands manufacture their textiles in America. I'd like to see textile mills opening in the US, focusing on sustainable and ethical manufacturing, creating jobs where people can feel pride in the quality and craftsmanship of producing textiles. We have really gotten away from that in this country and I think it needs to change.
- Where can we keep up with you online?
There is a lot in store for Herron in 2016. We are launching our first collection of home textiles—blankets and rugs—in May 2016. The collection will be available on our website and at selected stockists. Readers can keep up with us and our collection launch via our website, Instagram and Facebook.
left: pillow 1; right: pillow 2.