About Our Fabric
In the British country house of the 18th century, Jacobean embroidery, or crewel, could be found on cushions,
wall-hangings, curtains, firescreens and bed-hangings. The typical tree of life pattern, incorporating naive animals, native flora and trailing foliage forms the basis of our present-day designs. We still use the same natural colours; dusky pinks, earthy teracottas, natural greens and delicate blues, with simple background cloths of linen or cotton
in antique cream or tea-stain.
The East India Company established the trade for textiles along the Silk Road in the 16th and 17th centuries and since then, crewel has been produced mainly in the Northern Indian region of Kashmir, close to the border with Pakistan.
The source materials are bought from markets across Northern India from the regions where the natural resources have been used to their best advantage: linen woven by Bhagalpur craftspeople in Bihar, cotton from Gujarat, embroidery yarn from the sheep of Rajasthan.
Production of our fabric is skilled and labour intensive. Using a crochet-style hook called an aari, artisans use a running- or chain-stitch to create motifs, usually with intricate shading to enhance the richness of the palette. With more than 100,000 stitches in the average metre of fabric, and each metre taking around a week to embroider, making our fabric is a slow process in a world of fast manufacture.