things happen organically in tuscany

Early 1900's weaving machinery at Busatti in Anghiari

While visiting a dear friend in Tuscany just now, I was lucky to bump into a fountain of textile chic. We had spied these bright and elegant striped fabrics in several shops around Arezzo last winter, and this time we came upon the source. Busatti, in nearby Anghiari, was founded in 1842 by Giuseppe Busatti and remains a family run business based on centuries of expertise and artisanship. Their colors are sublime, their workmanship impeccable. Michelangelo Formica of Busatti was kind enough to give us a thoroughly fascinating tour of the venerable Anghiari mill, explaining the workings of the antique machinery and sharing their line of beautiful fabrics.

Eclectic stripes for duvet covers

I was most attracted to the cotton and linen blend striped fabrics, and to the blue cotton oxford-like cloth. I conjured up chic+eclectic bedding in my mind’s eye; fantastically striped duvet covers for big beds, finely striped duvet covers piped in bright hues for kids and babies. And of course lots of shams and pillows.
Samples will be under way soon!

Some pictures of the incredible machinery:

wool machine

Michelangelo explaining the old school processing of wool

Although finding such beauty in my mother country was not really surprising, coming upon it in such a fortuitous manner and being received so graciously by the Busatti company was a real joy. In case you’re wondering, lunch after the visit was had at a nearby family run trattoria and was comprised of 5 kinds of crostini, bigoli with ragu, a splash of local wine, and an espresso!


vintage welsh tapestry blankets

Spotted in Brighton, this blanket sparked the search for more like it...

This past summer I spent some truly charming time in England.
I made it to a few brilliant music festivals, visited with great old friends, and made some lovely new ones, too. While in Brighton, I came across an eye-catching blanket in an antiques shop – bright, eclectic, and full of story. The sales person told me a bit about it.. it was a Welsh Tapestry Blanket, likely from the area of Herefordshire. As luck would have it, I was on my way to exactly that part of the country for the Big Chill festival, so I took some days to explore Wales and to find some more of these treasured heirlooms.

Athenee English greeted me in her pretty shop and showed me some of her collection

I picked up this blanket during a very lovely visit to Hay-on-Wye, an adorable town on the river Wye filled to the rafters with books of all kinds. The Great English Outdoors had a great selection of the Welsh blankets I was after. I picked out the purple and green 70’s design blanket above and learned a thing or two about the blanket’s tradition. Many designs reflect the workmanship of a particular mill in Wales. Traditional motifs and patterns are repeated and are often specific to certain periods, as are the combinations of colors. My eye always seemed to be attracted to the blankets from the 70’s, brighter, bolder, and more eccentric than their antique counterparts. Each blanket certainly has a personality. Like many heirlooms, these heavy, beautiful blankets tell the story of the countryside homes they have passed through and the many people whom they have kept warm. They were often given as wedding gifts, a bit of folklore which I find particularly sweet.

The sweet and quiet guardian of The Great English Outdoors in Hay-on-Wye


hand loom

Is an incredibly intricate and time intensive craft.
The majority of hand loom fabrics is entirely woven by hand, thread by thread, on a wooden loom, with no electricity. The design on this Jamdani fabric is inserted by hand with a needle during the weaving process.

fabric being woven on a hand loom

We decided to visit the village in Bengal where the Nomadic Thread Society ♥ ‘Aish scarves and shawls are made. It was an adventure making our way to this remote spot – with no paved roads, no electricity, and hidden in a little jungle. The whole village came out to greet us!

rural weaving village in India

dirt road in india


color therapy

I’m enjoying a sort of visual and cultural sustenance through my travels. It happens that the colors I see in the landscapes and cities I visit quite literally infuse my visual perception – they have a permeating effect on my visual system. I’ve noticed that I choose certain textiles based on specific colors and textures I’ve seen in my surroundings – in sunsets, skies, seas, flowers, rocks, spices, architectural motifs, and on and on..

brilliant orange sunset paired with egg yolk yellow sarong towel

The softer hues can be relaxing, romantic, and evocative in dozens of subtle ways.

hand painted tiles paired with floating scarf

The effects of the more spectacular colors can actually be mood elevating, stimulating. For example, the bright crazy green of the sea color in a cove in Capri makes me instantly elated and gratified.

scarf blowing in wind paired with emerald green water

Often I’ve felt a “brain-washing” effect from such incredibly strong sea colors – an erasing of all thought and clutter – what I experience as color therapy.  I’m thinking this effect may carry over into the textiles in some ways..

fountain with birds perched paired with blu+white tie dye sarong