After meeting in 2006 on a sustainable textiles couture dress project entitled ‘Aveda’, Penny, Karen and Emma realised their diverse skills worked harmoniously together to create interesting and unique results.
Penny has 35 years’ experience in natural dying, Karen has 10-15 years’ in sustainable textiles, and Emma has over 9 years’ experience in hand-marbelled silk textiles. These ladies collectively make up ‘ao textiles’, an original and unique answer to sustainable textile manufacturing.
Eager to maintain their eco-conscious roots, they began working with the prestigious Gainsborough Silk Weaving company by taking their post-production leftovers and using them to create beautiful floor cushions which are just under a metre square at 90x90cm. The combination of fabrics and designs has been handpicked to give the best range, and depending on colour, they are then dyed to co-ordinate them.
ao textiles also produces a range of quilts using a similar technique to the beautiful floor cushions: one side is hand stitched with the Gainsborough off-cuts by Karen, and these are then sent to David Earp and his charity Shuktara in India where he passes the pieces on to local tribeswomen to create the backs for the quilts with cotton off-cuts from the local cotton industry. (To learn more about David Earp – a personal friend of the ao team – and his Kolkuta charity which provides ‘a home for life’ for abandoned Indian children visit: www.shuktara.net.)
And the name? ‘ao’ is a Japanese word meaning indigo. Before World War Two, this word meant blue and green, without distinguishing between the two and this appealed to ao textiles because these are key colours in the floor cushions.
By using beautiful fabrics and adding a modern (but sustainable) twist, ao textiles produces timeless pieces for any interior.