¿Who´d not love a blanket like this one?
It´s hand-woven, made from organic merino wool, and is dyed with natural dyes.
No, it´s not a blanket from Anna Champeney Estudio Textil in Spain, although you might think so. It has, in fact, been woven thousands of miles away by Swans Islands Blankets, en Maine, USA.
The company makes these blankets just once a year, and includes one-off as well as limited edition pieces. And if you´re looking for their largest size, measuring 275 x 225cm, dyed with indigo, you´re looking at price tag of around 900 pounds. Expensive, maybe, but definitely worth it for those who have that kind of disposable income.
Maybe it´s not something most of us can think about but a heirloom baby blanket costing 147€ is really quite reasonable for a high quality product. And with a Swans Island blanket and you always have the opportunity to add personalised monograms available as an extra.
In Galicia, Spain, where Anna Champeney has her textile studio, she is always suprised to hear so many people lamenting about the fact that “people don´t appreciate the real value of craft”.
Because if you look around there are actually quite a lot of examples of high-class craft businesses … who stay in business. So obviously they are doing something right and there ARE people who value craft.
…. Anna believes the main problem occurs when either the product itself isn´t of sufficiently high quality or else the promotion and marketing is not right, “I and many other makers have a lot to learn when it comes to marketing. It´s hard job to achieve the level of promotion that other, bigger craft businesses achieve when you work alone because you are responsible from everything – from the design and actual making to writing blog posts and even cleaning of the workshop”.
Swans Island Blankets has a team of at least 6 weavers and have 4 AVL looms, together with a person responsible for the dyes … and others who look after the online shop, fairs, etc..
What is the moral of the tale?
For craftspeople like Anna, it´s necessary to try and forge a way ahead to match the quality of the product with the quality of the presentation.
For clients and potential clients of craft weavers like Anna it´s important to try and judge the actual quality of the design and workmanship rather than rely on a slick marketing or a sophisticated online shop.