Cape Looms is a project that builds community through craft and quality. Hand weaving traditional flatweave rugs in mohair and wool in and around Cape Town, they have found a way to preserve and enhance long established skills through a creative endeavour that is at once local and of an international standard. Women weavers are brought together, to hone their craft and develop an autonomous skill set – enabling them to financially support their families whilst keeping a heritage craft alive.
From magical marbleised designs loomed at remote rural cooperatives to solid colour flood weaves made at the Cape Looms workshop on the outskirts of Cape Town, every design is taken through the intricate and centuries-old rug making process. From the first washing, carding, dying and skeining of the fibre, through the weaving process, to the finishing – these rugs are true pieces of African craftmanship.
South Africa is the largest Mohair producer in the world, and the fibres come directly from the farms surrounding the weaving workshops – creating a successful vertically integrated cooperative. Cape Looms has a range of looms available, including the largest hand weaving looms in Africa.
Fibres of wool and mohair are blended and spun in the workshop. Blending qualities during the spinning process creates a depth of texture that allow the fibres to sing in juxtaposition to one another. The fibres can all be hand dyed in small batches to ensure a perfect saturation and colour match. 18 wonderful hues have been chosen as part of the collection, however colour matching to a sample is also possible.
Working with wool and in Africa is coming full circle for Justin Van Breda owner of Cape Looms, whose family founded the wool farming industry in South Africa. Justin feels privileged to work with the weavers and farmers, to build a community and to bring these wonderful rugs to the market.
View the collection here.
Justin Van Breda