Passion and Process

Passion and Process

"Nature always wears the colours of the spirit." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nature influences all that I do at Withnell. When choosing  colours I am not trend led just nature led.

"There are no lines in nature, only areas of colour one against another."         Edouard Monet

Sometimes colour is the first part of the design process.  I am  surrounded with a palette of natural colours my doorstep. Other times I am  influenced by  shapes and forms, rolling hills, animals or little details like the underside of a toadstool.

Behind the scenes I have to think ahead as development is a long process.  It's important to understand how different fabrics feel, what they are like to sew and how they will move on the body.    The feel of the garment on your skin is very important.  It's a sensory experience.    The impact of  fabrics is also important.   So I have chosen to work mostly with mono fabrics. Fabrics of one origin i.e. cotton or linen that can easily be recycled in the future, and that will naturally biodegrade.


Design is a process and it it  happens best  when you have space to think, space to play and space to dream. I mindfully design our pieces, to be simple with quality rather than quantity as my priority.


" The designer does not begin with some preconceived idea. Rather, the idea is the result of careful study and observation, and the design a product of that idea."     Paul RanD

Design ideas begin to develop once I have had time to observe and explore. They then become an instinct that I need  to follow. I will begin to explore different shapes and textures always considering the human form, comfort and ease of movement. 


WITHNELL is about more than clothes, it’s about  heritage and connecting with the landscape. Celebrating our industrial history which drove people to this area early in the 19th Century. In fact many of us in Lancashire and Yorkshire villages and towns  wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for those events. Not just the mills but the bleach and dye works that processed the woven cloth .   370 tonnes of coal per week powered just 1 local mill. Approximately 4 million gallons of water were used daily to process fabrics. Our local streams and the river Yarrow ran with the colours of the rainbow depending on the dye and chemicals being used and all without any consideration for nature, wildlife  and the long term impact!
Yet we should now reflect on the past, learn from it and harness techniques in a considered way that are slow and gentle. There IS and can be  a positive future, one that involves responsibility for our actions.  I want to create slow fashion that will evolve into a cottage industry and support other local makers.
 Richard Sennet describes the Pandora effect in his book "The Craftsman"
Culture founded on man-made things risks continual self - harm.
Curiosity leads us to experiment, invent and create but this should be done with responsibility.  If we create a product then we need to take responsibility for the impact of that product, today, tomorrow, in 10 years time and in 50 years time. This is where we need to look to nature for the answers.  To understand how we can readdress the balance and harmony.


The challenge for us is developing systems that work in harmony with nature. I want to create lasting pieces that are ageless and timeless to share with you and your kin. I aim to keep valuable natural resources in use for as long as possible. Durability and excellence can be achieved in a carefully considered way.

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