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Weven – keeping traditional crafts alive

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Weven opened at the beginning of December in its new home in George Street, Stroud, providing a showcase for craftspeople who use traditional techniques to sell their products. All the makers use responsibly sourced materials and work with an environmental and sustainable ethic.

“The name comes from the old English – wefen – to weave, and derives from the word ‘web’,” said Rhia Davenport, director and founder of Weven.

“It sounds nice, it’s in keeping with what we do, and it also sounds a bit mysterious,” she added.

Weven shop 11 | Weven – keeping traditional crafts alive
Rhia Davenport, founder of Weven.

Everything in the shop is handmade: “Everyone works with a sustainable ethic in the way they make their work. Each piece is individual and made with a ‘slow fashion’ mentality, but we also believe that craft and folkcraft should be for everybody, so we keep the price point really accessible. We’re a non-profit and we don’t charge loads of commission.”

Rhia believes it is important to preserve traditional crafts: “There’s much more of a spotlight on folkcraft and heritage crafts and preserving them, but there’s still a lot of work to be done in making them appeal to young people.”

There is a wide array of traditionally made goods on sale, everything from clay pipes to corn dollies, something which Rhia says is on the red list of endangered crafts.

Weven also hosts workshops on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, run by Nicola Builder of Wayward Weaves, who teaches Saori loom weaving.

“I’m applying for funding and I’m hoping we can run some free workshops in the future for the community on Saturdays, for children and adults to have a go at different crafts – wheat weaving, basket weaving, natural dyeing, and woodwork.

Weven shop 4 | Weven – keeping traditional crafts alive
Ukrainian embroidery.

“We’ve got work by around 20 craftspeople, most are from the Stroud area, or they grew up here. I also support some Ukrainian makers who supply hand embroidery work – really intricate and the most beautiful embroidery, just stunning,” said Rhia.

There is still space for more work in the shop: “The most important thing is that it is all made by hand, sustainable, and responsibly minded in the way you make your work, and if possible, using traditional methods.”

Anyone interested should contact Rhia via her website, weven.co.uk

The Weven shop is open on Thursdays, 10-4, and Friday and Saturdays 10-5, with workshops on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays.

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