At Shuttleworth Weaving, every rug is made in the traditional way. Explore our thorough and professional approach to the design and hand-weaving processes below.
In every way we can, we look to tread lightly on our planet, sustainability is important to us.
Whilst the majority of our products are made from natural materials (eg: South African Mohair and Namibian Karakul Wool), we also weave with Polypropylene. Where we can, we source locally.
We are committed to our workers, they are the creators of the handwork which is both original and beautiful.
We source a number of fibres to create different textures and finishes. The design of each product starts with the choice of fibre and the way in which it is spun.
We work with the following:
- Mohair: we source our luxurious Mohair from a number of responsible suppliers in South Africa. We then hand spin the raw mohair into the different yarns for our various ranges.
- Karakul Sheep Wool: Karakul Wool is from sheep farmed in Namibia and is very well suited for carpet weaving. It is spun into a thick, smooth yarn suitable for hard-wearing carpets.
- New Zealand Wool: The New Zealand carpet wool that we source is a commercially spun yarn that we ply by hand to produce different thicknesses and textures in the rugs.
- Polypropylene: is made up of tiny extruded fibres which we hand spin together to create a thick, durable thread. While this is a man-made fibre (literally, extruded plastics), the way we spin and weave these fibres renders a very durable, cleanable rug while maintaining the hand-crafted look and feel.
Our spinning is done on traditional wooden foot treadle spinning wheels and the spinners are masters in their craft, so much so that they can spin a skein of mohair to weight.
*Note: Mohair comes specifically from Angora Goats and Wool specifically from sheep.
Have a colour in mind? We can dye it to match it. We have the whole rainbow available to us and love experimenting with colours to create products that are on-trend or bespoke.
We use acid dyes which are direct chemical dyes that produce the vivid colours that we offer and so that they are colourfast. They are not organic or natural but the way we use them minimises their impact on the environment.
The dyeing process is such that all the dye is absorbed by the yarn so there is no damage to the water system. The way we use these dyes is as environmentally friendly as we possibly can be by not using any mordants (additives to make the dyes set) or salt and we exhaust the dye into the fibre so that next to nothing is ever flushed into a little grove of trees that soak up all our water from the dyeing process.
Did you know handweaving takes a team? The wider the width of the fabric, the more people get involved. Working together, we pass the shuttle of yarn (this is the weft) through the warp threads which are wound tightly onto the loom to create the rug or cloth. This is a laborious process that is done by skilled weavers to get the tension and relationship of all the different yarns at play to work together in order to create unique textiles.
Weaving is done on a loom. Our looms range from 90cm wide through to 8.5 metres wide in one piece. The bigger looms we have built ourselves and the smaller looms have either been gifted to us or bought from other weavers in the country.
We combine our various spun yarns in different ways to create our range of different weaves.
*Note: In weaving, the warp is threads on a loom over and under which other threads (the weft) are passed to make cloth. The warp and the weft are basic constituents of all textiles.
The Shuttleworth Weaving team lives consciously and authentically looking after the people and environment around us as best we can. We live and work off the grid, we use a donkey boiler burning alien invasive sawmill offcuts and minimal gas to heat the water for the dye and, a solar system has also been installed.
We supplement our's and our staff's food sources with organically grown vegetables that we grow in our food tunnels. We aim to tread as lightly as we can in all aspects of our lives, including our business. We strive for energy efficiency, home-grown food, and raising our children to respect the natural environment.