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Creative repp weave wall-hangings: “Homage To Ikat” (textile art from Spain)

homenaje a ikatThe initial inspiration for this hand-woven linen wallpiece was the technique of Ikat dyeing and weaving.   Woodgrain and knots in cut wood, tally marks and scrolls together with newsprint and other communication systems and watermarks have all fed in to the creative process of creating an ongoing series of pieces.

Weavers like Anna Champeney (Spain) relish the challenge of going beyond the limitations of the perpendicular warp and weft to create a freer language of textile mark-making.

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Felpa Pile Fabric Cushion – hand-woven Spanish Textile Design by Anna Champeney Textile Studio

felpa cushion with natural dyes by anna champeneyfelpa textiles are ideal for country homes and interiorsThis is no ordinary hand-woven linen cushion for every bucle in this loop-pile fabric has been formed completely by hand – by the weaver´s fingers.  The technique of felpa gallega, as it is called,  is over 1000 years old and in rural Galicia, in mountainous northwest Spain, this macro-pile fabric is still being made in exactly the same way, on wooden hand-looms, by a new generation of Galician weavers.   There is no industrial alternative to an authentic Galician felpa textile – it remains a totally hand-made technique, which is why it is becoming so rare in Spain.

How long does it take to make a felpa cushion? An authentic felpa cushion such as this one takes approximately 15 hours to make in total, about 10 of which are spent in forming each of the thousands of bucles by hand.    The time involved in making felpa textiles explains why the technique has such a high value and why it is so rare.  Modern felpa textiles are not sold via shops, only directly from the weaver´s studio, ensuring best value both for the maker and for the customer. 

Felpa was traditionally used to make heavy, brightly-coloured and warm bed-covers, colourful “jewels” in the austere stone farmhouses of the Spanish mountain villages and hamlets.  Today Anna Champeney Estudio Textil employs the technique to make felpa cushions in both traditional and bold, colourful and contemporary designs.  Each cushion, which uses high quality linen and authentic, locally-sourced wool, is made in exactly the same way as centuries ago, with each bucle pulled out of the body of the cloth, by hand.

One-off pieces are sold on the internet and directly from the workshop (where you can also spend your holidays in the studio´s holiday cottage, Casa dos Artesans), located in the idyllic Ribeira Sacra, part of north Spain and about 2 hours from the famous pilgrimage city, Santiago de Compostela.   The Anna Champeney Textile Studio can also make one-off piecs similar to the one shown, by commission and offers holiday tuition, both for beginners and those with weaving experience.  Anna Champeney is able to offer illustrated talks on felpa gallega, based on years of ethnographic research into the technique.

This cushion is available for sale and is a one-off, unrepeatable design

The cushion has a hand-woven natural linen backing and is fitted with an invisible zip and is supplied with the filler.  Hand-wash, without soaking.

Inquire about felpa textiles made to order

learn to weave Galician felpa on holiday in SpainFelpa Weaving Tuition in Spain

Customised cushions – hand-woven with natural dyes (Design ref. “Spots & Squares”)

personalised cushions to order from Anna Champeney Estudio TextilSome new cushions are available from the AC Textile Studio.  Some of the “Spots & Squares” cushions are commissioned pieces and have been sent on by post.  As hand-weavers, we are often asked the question “why weave textiles by hand”. One simple answer is that, unlike industry, we are able to personalize textiles for clients with individually-chosen colourways (even if we don´t actually colour-match colours).  Some clients feel unsure about choosing colour schemes themselves and welcome some support and advice, but many find that choosing the colours for “their” cushion is really fun and becomes part of the “craft experience”. It certainly gives the finished cushion – especially if it is for a new home or ordered as a gift – a whole new meaning and significance than a cushion bought “off-the-peg”, however pretty it may be.   Commissioning textiles whilst on holiday here in north Spain is an extra special option for guests who come on holiday to Casa dos Artesans, our self-catering craft cottage, which is just a short stroll from the textile studio itself.

As you can see the “Spots and Squares” cushion design woven at the Anna Champeney Textile Studio is a simple but modern interpretation of a traditional weaving pattern and uses 4 different colours. The natural-dyed wools contrast beautifully with the crisp white or grey linen background. Clients who visit the studio in northwest Spain can choose the individual balls of hand-dyed yarns for their commissions, but those who order by internet can still select a general range of colours – “earth colours” or “purples and reds” “all pastels” or “black through to light grey” and we will do our best to interpret these choices.

Today, 19 March 2010, we are weaving a cushion in a range of indigo blues, from dark through to a pale greeny-pastel blue. Next week we will start on weaving other versions in different colourways….

  • indigo-dyed yarns ready to weave up for today´s cushion (19 March 2010)Further Information:
  • Cushion Orders “Spots and Squares” cushions, Anna Champeney Estudio Textil- lluisyanna@terra.es.  65€ + p&p
  •  Weaving Courses – Learn to design and hand-weave your own cushions at Anna Champeney Estudio Textil in a week´s course or a 3-week assistantship