Vevar design, Brooklyn to Bridgeton
We meet Chantal Allen and Christopher McEvoy, the duo behind new design studio Vevar, to discuss launching their textile mill in Bridgeton just before lockdown and collaborating with Brooklyn artist Meghan Spielman to launch a range of lifestyle products
The first of many planned artist collaborations, this particular one distills Meghan Spielman's artistic vision with Vevar’s commitment to craftsmanship and Scottish heritage into a range of limited edition pieces aimed at an international audience. Spielman specialises in jacquard and computerised-dobby weaving and her work is rooted in traditional weaving techniques, focusing on dynamic interactions between colour, material, and structure where the artist 'distorts, deviates, and manipulates.'
This unique collection developed over numerous phone and Zoom calls between Brooklyn and Bridgeton in 2020. Spielman is full of admiration for Vevar’s mission to preserve important textile history and techniques, while providing contemporary designers the resources and flexibility to create beautifully crafted, unique textile products.
Spielman says: “I was thrilled to be able to work with Vevar to create a handcrafted homewares collection that transcribes the language of my woven artwork into accessible products that can be cherished for years to come. Together we created a range of designs celebrating the many avenues of variation possible within classic woven patterns such as ginghams and plaids, a common theme in my studio work.
"Materiality and colour are also intrinsic aspects of my artwork, and as such we decided to work with classic Donegal wool (which weaves and feels like a dream) in a rich mixture of navy, wool white, and warm reds, combined with space-dyed sky blue. The collection embodies textiles’ ability to intersect the boundaries of art, craft, and design while celebrating the history of manufacturing and craftsmanship in Scotland.”
McEvoy explains that for their first collaboration he and Allen wanted to work with someone who knew weaving already to allow them to work out the logistics: “It’s been so useful to work with an artist who implicitly understands the affordances of cloth and structure. Meghan's work is beautiful and really embraces the beauty and nature of woven construction. Her knowledge really helped us to clearly develop these fabrics into a collection of homeware products.”
A year on from its launch in 2020, Vevar has grown and diversified, offering a range of homewares and accessories to consumers as well as traditional craft tools and a jacquard weaving service to designers and makers. One of the major hurdles facing emerging textile designers in the UK is the minimum order quantities required by established mills which make the production process unattainable to new designers. In contrast, Vevar offers minimums of up to one meter of jacquard and five meters of dobby cloth to textile designers looking to develop a new fabric and understand how to work within the industry and collaboratively.
“A lot of mills will refuse a project if it's even a little off the norm. We won't do that, in fact we actively encourage designers to come to us with unexpected ideas!” Vevar’s services include design and consultancy with a range of production services for most projects and budgets – from couture handwoven, to larger lengths produced in-house. Allen and McEvoy also offer professional and career development where their skills and expertise can be utilised by designers to further advance their knowledge of the world of design, production and micro manufacturing of woven textiles.
With over 20 years of experience in the textile design industry, Chantal Allen is enjoying bringing the manufacturing of woven cloth back to her home city. Her passion for fabric, colour and designing led her to dedicate herself to the practice of weaving and in 2014 she founded Warped Textiles, a luxury craft business focusing on time-honoured artisan fabrics. Her expertise grew while studying Textile Design at the Glasgow School of Art, where she then went on to teach. She designed and developed jacquard woven fabrics for European and American markets while based in India; and on returning home to Scotland received numerous awards for her designs and continued to work on creative textile projects worldwide.
Christopher McEvoy is a sample weaver who produces designs and concepts for the luxury fashion market. A graduate of the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal College of Art, his woven designs have been commissioned by a number of houses for their couture collections. Now based in Glasgow's East End, his fabrics have been on the runways of London, Paris, New York and Shanghai. He produces small handwoven pieces to commission and his work is held by businesses, public institutions and private clients.
“While we are a weaving mill we are happy to help anyone who wants to understand the process further. From small designers and artists to more established companies and makers looking for new design and manufacturing services.”
To purchase items of homeware from the limited edition collection visit vevar.co.uk