Taylor Howes discovered Araminta Campbell when they were recently selected by Walpole, the sector body for the UK luxury industry, for their brands of tomorrow programme. Araminta Campbell is an eponymous woven textiles company founded by artist, designer and weaver Araminta Birse-Stewart in 2014.
Araminta founded her studio with a desire to restore meaning and value to woven textiles. Many of the textiles she saw around her seemed to have succumbed to the pressure of mass manufacturing and fast moving trends. Her practice instead marks a return to careful sourcing, exacting craftsmanship and timeless design to create woven items with artistry and enduring appeal.
Araminta explains; “Textiles used to be regarded as one of the most valued forms of art, but over time we seem to have lost that. I want to bring that level of appreciation back and create items that can be used and enjoyed over a lifetime.”
She sees herself primarily as an artist, and her textiles her woven paintings. Her primary inspiration is found in the Scottish landscape;
“My designs are all inspired by the things I observe in nature. It might be a moment in time or a detail in the landscape that captures my imagination; the shape of the water as it runs over the riverbed, pattern of acorns on the forest floor or sight of pebbles washed up on the shore. I hold these snapshots in my mind and when I come to create a new pattern I work out how to capture this in a woven design.”
These influences can be seen across all her work whether that is a custom tweed or tartan for a large interior project, or a one-of-a kind throw woven by hand in her Edinburgh workshop.
A recent example of this are the tweed and tartan she created for the Fife Arms Hotel in Braemar.
Named by the Financial Times as “Scotland’s Hottest Hotel”, The Fife Arms was extensively refurbished by owners Iwan and Manuella Wirth of Hauser & Wirth to become a premium destination hotel in the heart of the Highlands, reopening in 2019.
When designing the Fife Arms tweed and tartan Araminta drew on her knowledge of the highland landscape surrounding Braemar, and included details from the historic hotel building. Combining the grey-pink of the local granite with colours from the area’s dark pine forests and heather covered hills, she created textiles that would continue to immerse guests in an experience of nature indoors.
A different interpretation of this natural inspiration can be seen in her Signature handwoven pieces. These items are all woven as one-of-a-kind artworks on looms in her Edinburgh studio, using the undyed colours of sustainably sourced British alpaca. Every design captures a natural detail using pattern and texture, and the result is a beautifully refined collection in a subtle natural tones.
Celebrating craftsmanship is an integral part of Araminta’s work, and something she can particularly highlight in her handwoven textiles. She believes that showcasing the time, skill and artistry involved adds to the appreciation and pleasure they bring;
“Our handwoven throws take up to three weeks to make, and there is something truly magical about seeing an individual thread slowly but surely transform into something substantial that can be used and enjoyed. Once complete, the tactile nature of these pieces adds a unique quality that just can’t be matched.”
To find out more about Araminta Campbell click here