Last September, as I was walking through the halls of Top Drawer, an interiors & gifts trade show in London, I stumbled across a wonderful brand called Annaloom.
I hadn't yet found anything spectacular at the fair, but, tucked away among the stands of my favourite section of the show called Craft, was the most delicate, pretty, soft and lovely assortment of cushions and throws, in subtle, subdued tones of yellows, blues and magentas.
Immediately, of course, I started to pick all of them up and looking around to find out who was responsible for this gorgeous display! And so I met Anna-Louise Meynell, who is the designer and founder of Annaloom.
Anna-Louise is a passionate textile designer who has immense knowledge of traditional silk weaving, particularly Eri Silk which is native to North East India. I really enjoyed learning about her brand and her products as well as her passion for silk-weaving.
I hadn't heard of Eri Silk, but I could see it on the wonderful cushions and throws on the Annaloom display. It's got great texture, it's super soft and full of character. I was curious to know a little more.
Anna-Louise explained that Eri Silk is also known as 'peace silk' as the silk worms are not harmed in the extraction of the silk from the cocoon. The moths leave the cocoon, which are then harvested for the silk to be spun. She's particularly fond of this type of silk for this reason, and also because its texture, strength and characteristics make it ideal for making decorative textiles like cushions and throws.
The Eri Silk is hand-spun, hand-dyed and entirely hand-woven. This type of production has been quietly going on in remote villages in North East India for generations, but now there's more awareness of this craft and efforts are being made to keep it alive and to help it and its villagers thrive.
Anna-Louise is involved in helping raise awareness of Eri Silk weaving and she designed the Annaloom collection to help do just that. So let's take a look at some of her Eri Silk products.
The Annaloom Avani Cushions in Eri Silk
— The Annaloom Avani Indigo cushion. The delicate weave cleverly creates blocks of colour of different intensity and pattern. You can really see the fluffy, slubby texture of the silk in the close-up can't you?
— The Annaloom Avani Cushion is also available in this sunny Turmeric colourway, which is bright & sunny and - dare I say it - on trend!
Eri Silk From Cocoon to Loom
— The Eri Silk worms at work weaving their cocoons
— The Eri Silk cocoons being collected without harming the worms, here ready to be spun
— The Eri Silk fibre yarn - slubby and textured.
— The Eri Silk is hand-dyed with natural dyes. Here Turmeric is being collected, the root broken down to produce the dye and then the yarn is dyed by hand to produce the wonderful yellow hues you can see on the Avani Turmeric cushion (it's even in the name!)
— Hand dyeing taking place in villages in North East India
— Beautiful colourful hand-dyed Eri Silk hanging to dry - gorgeous hues!
— Before the warp is ready to go on the loom, it is treated with rice paste to strengthen the silk whilst weaving
— More warp yarn being treated with rice paste before going on the loom
— This time, rice paste is applied to the weft before going on the loom
— The loom room is all set up to start weaving the yarn into fabric
— The loom being set up to start weaving
— The Eri Silk being hand-woven on a loom soon to become a beautiful fabric
— The Annaloom Avani Turmeric cushion in all its beauty and with a lovely story to tell...
Bring a Little Annaloom Magic Into Your Home
I hope you've enjoyed discovering the story of Eri Silk as much as I did. I feel it's so nice to know that crafts like these are being appreciated in today's mass consumer market, and that they are flourishing thanks to the efforts of sensitive, passionate and creative people like Anna-Louise.
If you'd like to treat yourself to a gorgeous Eri Silk cushion by Annaloom, then you can see the collection available at Pomegranate here.
'till next time...
Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of Annaloom