Behind the Scenes: Inspiration, Collaboration, and Details
Sources of inspiration and a love for collaboration are the preliminary drivers of our creative process at Thread & Whisk. Oh, and let’s not forget the importance of the details! Every little bit and bob is integral to a design or a recipe we create. Choosing materials for our sewn goods, we labor endlessly over each detail. We truly sweat the small stuff in this case and we do it because we know it matters both to us and our customers. It’s also a guilty pleasure since we love the process.
“La mode passe; le style reste.” - Coco Chanel
When we started designing our line of Bloom Culinary Totes, we set out to make something stylish that would stand the test of time. Something classic, but with a twist, that could be used for years. Particularly after stuffing food dishes into leaky grocery sacks for so long, we felt we all deserved something nice! Don’t you agree?
Searching for fabrics with one eye on function and the other eye on style, the hunt led us to Liberty of London’s Tana Lawn cotton. You may have heard of Liberty, but do you know the company’s backstory? Here are a few details.
In 1875, a Brit named Arthur Liberty established Liberty & Co on Regent Street in the West end of London. After apprenticing as a draper starting at age 16 and working at another fashion house for many years, he launched his own brand and established a small shop. Liberty was inspired by Far East objets d’art. He incorporated those artistic influences into the products he made. As his shop (and brand) grew, Liberty established strong relationships with leaders of the Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts, Bauhaus, and Pop movements. Turning inspiration into collaboration, Liberty & Co. has partnered on special projects with many famous designers including William Morris, Yves Saint Laurent, Mary Quant, and Vivienne Westwood. Liberty’s artistic collaborations continue to thrive today. You can find the now iconic Liberty florals printed on S’well water bottles, iPhone cases, notebooks and other everyday objects that are elevated by this alliance.
The fabric we use on our totes is called “Tana Lawn.” It is an amazing cotton fabric that Liberty created in the 1920’s. Legend has it that when a Liberty buyer was traveling in Ethiopia near Lake Tana, he spotted a silky cotton that inspired Liberty & Co to create its own version. With a high thread count and long, ultrafine cotton fibers, Tana Lawn feels like silk. It also has an excellent ability to accept dyes which is what makes the artistic Liberty prints so vibrant.
Why is it called “Lawn?” Although it’s mostly made of cotton today, Lawn fabric was originally made of linen. At the time, the French city of Laon was known for producing linen fabric with those smooth, stable properties. Just as many French words have been altered by the English, “Laon” became “Lawn”. Mystery solved.
Wiltshire is the Tana Lawn print used in some of the trims on our Bloom Culinary Totes. This leaf and berry print was created for Liberty in 1933 by an unknown designer with the initials DS. Standing the test of time, Wiltshire became part of Liberty’s Classic Tana Lawn collection in 1979. We are glad it did as we find it so cheerful when we put it next to our canvas fabrics.
Like Liberty of London, our goal at Thread & Whisk is to carry forward quality materials and traditions into the modern world. We take inspiration from companies like Liberty, who are inspired by and collaborate with the artists and designers of the world. Details, beautiful details.
You can find many beautiful items on Instagram under the hashtag #libertywiltshire