I knew of www.butefabrics.com back from my Habitat days when Tom Dixon, our then Design Director, worked with them to produce some beautiful textured woollen weaves in rich dark colours for Habitat upholstery. We sourced product from all over the world and so for me it was really refreshing to be working with a supplier based on an Island off the coast of Scotland, so wonderful to have such quality produced so close to home.
On a recent visit to see my brother in Scotland I felt an extra excursion to this little Island off the west coast had to be worked into my trip. Thankfully my brother was very accommodating and fell in with my plans. He brought along his wetsuit to go swimming in the freezing cold sea, rather him than me, whilst I had an inspiring visit learning more about this amazing mill and the production techniques and seeing some of the most stunning colourful weaved fabrics. I love that Bute Fabrics is a design led, contemporary, high end producer of beautiful quality fabrics, yet it is tucked away on a small island, accessible only by ferry. It feels all the more special for this.
My work often involves working in collaboration with designers or artists and illustrators to produce bespoke fabrics with which to work on my chairs but I also want to offer my customer a range of existing fabrics to provide more choice and flexibility. I hold a small number of sample look books at my studio, one of which is Bute. I also hope that I may work in collaboration with them in the future as their fabrics can be customised for clients for as little as 100 metres, or 50 metres for piece dyes. So, for that big project that could be on the horizon, I love to think that one day there could be an exclusive design between myself and Bute.
The first thing that struck me when I walked through the door was the incredible noise. It was so loud that we could barely hold a conversation. The first step in the process is the spinner that converts the wool into yarn. This is done by straightening the fibres, before simultaneously pulling and twisting, converting the wool into a fine yarn.