Woven textile has been around for millennia, with the first traces of woven fabric dating back to 7000 BC. At WildWeaves we use machine-woven hemp mixes for some of our clothes, but for most of our woven accessories such as slippers, bags, rucksacks, wallets, purses and hats we concentrate on some very special textiles that are woven on back strap looms in the mountain homes of the Nepali people.
Weaving is the interlacing of yarns from two directions to produce a cloth or textile. One of the sides is kept taunt ('warp') and then from other side the yarn ('weft') is pushed into the taut side to produce a straight weave. There area variety of looms from the back strap loom as used in the villages of Nepal and free standing hand looms (as in the photo above), to power looms that can produce thousands of metres a day.
The textile we use for all our bags and pencil cases is made on back strap looms, and the yarn is hand drawn from hemp and other natural fibres like nettle. A great amount of effort and love has been put into weaving the cloth that we use for our products. Of course the price does not truly reflect the amount of work that goes into the production of the fabric, but we try to keep things at a price that will allow us to send more money back to Nepal and try and get more people to weave this amazing fabric.
In general, the art of weaving is now highly mechanized. I have been fortunate to visit factories in China which are producing extremely complicated designs of weave at a speed where they would be able to clothe the whole of Nepal with just a few months of production.
We live in a world where things are produced in quantity and thrown away in an instant, but we at WildWeaves are doing just the opposite. We are working with yarns that are slowly produced by hand and textiles that are handwoven over weeks to give you a product that has an integrity and a rarity value all its own. We believe that if we do not support the people in the hills of Nepal who are weaving this fabric, then this will be lost to all of us, and in years to come this sort of weaving will only exist in books.
I would eventually like to set up weaving cooperatives where this last generation of weavers could teach the next generation this art.
We are happy to bring you products that are in themselves pieces of this art and hope you will like them.