Monthly Archives: November 2017

  • Ray Stitch Focus: Nani Iro

    Nani Iro is the textile label created in 2001 by Japanese artist Naomi Ito for Kokka, fabric manufacturers specialising in printed materials.

    Naomi's collections blur the lines between art and textiles; they are based on her artwork and have a unique and distinctive painterly quality to them. She works closely with the dyers to ensure that the fabrics remain true to the originals and you can often see the brushstrokes in the final designs.

    Despite the huge popularity of Nani Iro fabrics, Naomi remains a reserved artist. In a very rare interview with Miss Matatabi in 2015, she said of her work: "I paint to spin a tale that portrays a kind of comfort, that makes people happy when they feel it on their skin. I paint in the hope that each textile will be like a single poem, a single letter."

    However, Naomi has a fascinating Instagram account (itoitonao) and even if you can't read Japanese, the images she posts of her studio, work in progress and daily inspiration (as well as life as a parent and the rituals of tea!) are wonderful.

    One of the beautiful things about Nani Iro fabrics is the originality of the actual fabric designs. The repeats are much greater apart, and her designs take into account the border of the fabric roll, so rather than a regular pattern you get a variety of colour and shapes which can lend itself to really original sewing (& no pattern matching required!) Each item made with Nani Iro fabric will be unique, depending on the pattern placement on the roll. We love to include the selvedges too and the cuffs of this Deer & Doe Meliot shirt were perfect for this.

    Over the years, Nani Iro collections have featured abstract shapes in bright colours, neons and metallics as well as many floral designs. The new collection launched this summer, called Beau Yin Yang features monochrome shades and designs on double gauze, cotton sateen, lawn, and 100% linen. These Kokka fabrics are a dream to work with and feel wonderful against your skin. We made up this New Look dress (6144) in the slinky sateen for a great evening dress. Ideal for the upcoming party season!

    You can view and shop all of our Nani Iro fabric online or pop into the shop in Essex Road, London N1 to have a feel for yourself!

  • Our Favourite Magazines

    Despite the increase of screens, social media and digital publications, there is a new wave of popularity for printed magazines. Call it nostalgia perhaps, but there is something undeniably pleasing about thumbing through a new magazine: enjoying everything from the large size of the images (compared to on a phone or tablet) to the fonts and the tactile quality of the paper. And that's before we've even gone into the wide-variety of fantastic subject matter on offer! Independent publications are able to be really creative and original with the stories they share as well as craft the way they are printed.

    We stock a small range of magazines in our Reading Room but are looking to expand our selection, so thought it would be a great opportunity to share some our personal favourite reads with you. Some you may be familiar with already, and others are a little less well-known but are totally worth hunting down.

    HOLE & CORNER

    This exquisite quarterly print magazine shares stories of craft, passion, beauty and skill in a stylish but very understated way. Expect interviews with talented artists and creators, long reads delving deeper into subjects and the wonderful 'My Hole & Corner' series looking at the favourite personal spaces and studios of creatives. This season's magazine discusses the creation of a new Craft Makers' Manifesto.

    SELVEDGE

    This bimonthly independent magazine is dedicated to the love of textiles: not only the art of making and the textures of the cloth itself but in a much broader and political sense too. Articles highlight artisans & makers and provide inspiration as well as exploring the history, future, social implications and aesthetics of textiles. The current edition includes an article on the changing face of manufacture and production with a visit to a pin factory in France.

    LODESTARS ANTHOLOGY

    Broadening our interests to a travel publication, Lodestars pitches itself as 'an independent magazine-meets-journal for the curious travellers who long to be inspired'. Each issue focusses on one country and is a beautiful way to discover the little quirks and get the insiders view of a location. Perfect for armchair wanderlust as well as for actual travellers, the anthology is full of stories from those across the globe, and thankfully is timeless so keeping it on your bookshelf to re-read isn't a problem.

    ERNEST

    This biannual journal is a publication of true craftsmanship which celebrates the curious and often eccentric traditions of making, in all its guises. Billing itself as 'slow journalism' with stunning photography alongside, expect a wide range of topics, recipes and highlights of traditional skills. This publication is not just for those "people who like to whittle" but you know what they mean!

    THE HOLBORN

    A bi-annual magazine which focusses on those that create and make with both passion and purpose (two qualities that we hold dear at Ray Stitch). The Holborn Magazine is arranged as if it takes place in a fictional townhouse, the coolest members club that anyone can enter and find respite from their busy modern lives. Readers can visit areas such as the Bar, Pantry, Library, Workshop and Wardrobe to read articles and recipes that celebrate quality not luxury. The Social Issue is the current edition.

    POMPOM

    A quarterly magazine that presents knitting, crochet, and craft in a modern, beautiful, and meaningful way. As well as patterns, articles and tutorials that all celebrate the craft of making, expect surprises such as cocktail recipes and features on other disciplines in the craft world. The Winter edition promises bright knitted delights for dark nights.

    VESTOJ

    Billed as the 'platform for critical thinking on fashion' Vestoj is a rare publication: a fashion magazine with no advertising and not concerned with seasonal-trends. Instead, it combines articles, fiction and critical thinking with the glamour you'd expect but all the while celebrating total creative freedom. Vestoj is a breath of fresh air and really impressive for encouraging its readers to think about this industry in a different way.

    OH COMELY

    A bi-monthly, made in London mag that really surprises with its intimate stories, peculiar anecdotes and exceptionally pleasing creative photography. We particularly appreciate the characteristic quirkiness seemingly not found in other publications that really addresses individuality. While this publication isn't necessarily about making, it comes from those that do, and it delves deep into human narrative presenting you with honest articles to inspire, delight and that make you feel part of a community.

    *****

    As well as the physical beauty of an actual magazine all of these publications are firmly rooted in the modern world and have vibrant Instagram accounts so you can get a more regular dose of inspiration. In addition, many of them also run workshops and events so you can get directly involved yourself.

    We would love to hear about what magazines you like to lose yourself in, and if you have any suggestions for magazines you'd like us to stock then please let us know. Contact us by email, Facebook or Instagram :)