Common Texture Explore our crafts
Explore our crafts and find out more about the global artisans and natural fibers we create our designs with. Learn where and how Common Texture homewares, accessories and travel products are produced with a zero waste concept.
explore our crafts
The best part of our job is exploring the vast, unknown lands in search of inspiring crafts people.
The worst part of our job is the gruelling travel from one community to another. When we find that perfectly humble, awe-inspiring artist, it’s like the days of dust and heat slide from our memory. A choir of angels chimes in harmony and ‘BAM!’, we have an idea. A ‘light-bulb’ moment of how we want to collaborate with the gem that stands before us.
banana fiber weavers
The first time we discovered this gorgeous little weaving nest in South India, we were simply mesmerized by the nimble fingers weaving banana fiber rope into all manner of products. A small group of women sat on the floor forming a weaving circle, chatting whilst working, rocking babies wrapped in saris and manning a small shop.
The entire house was painted white with curved concrete walls, which showed off this natural sustainable fiber beautifully. We learned they were a village co-operative and, with the help of a very dedicated leader, they were learning to create some rather modern products from this very ancient technique. It didn’t take long for us to partner up and start creating our own designs for our brand. One of the most adorable things was to find each woman’s name on a piece of paper inserted into each of our Common Texture clutches, our customers receive this name whenever they purchase from us. It’s a connection to your maker.
How is it made? First the small pieces of dried banana fiber are twisted and rolled by hand to make a ball of thin rope. This is then given to the women weavers to form our products. Our carryall bag uses 100 meters of hand rolled rope and takes three days of hand knitting to complete. When our order is done we take our bags to the leather crafter for the creation of the handles.
“Use me, love me, pass me on.”
block print masters
One of our favorite places to visit is the block printing studio that we use. It is such an oasis within a crowded Indian city; lush with greenery and gently bustling with inspiring activity, the unmistakable sound of wooden blocks being hit with the back of the hand. Oh, and the delicious sweet chai tea that’s always on hand. Block printing is an art in itself, dating back to 12th century India. To create a finished piece of hand printed fabric, it requires a pattern to be drawn, a carver to create the relief in wood, a colorist for the natural dye concoction, a master to apply the print expertly to the the fabric, and an amazing matriarch who conducts the whole show like a symphony.
It is an exhausting process but we love the result that is created in this zen like atmosphere. All our block printed pillow cases are created this way, each individually with a placement print by our skilled block master and our intriguing color master who whips up her potions of vibrancy.
We are so happy that the studio we use is able to find some new recruits to learn the skills handed down from the masters. At one point it was looking like this ancient technique might die out some day soon. Thankfully there has been a resurgence in the West and East for this traditional technique, as people shun the chemically driven printing process formed in factories. We turn to block printing as a more natural way to get a unique product. Nothing describes block printing better than this quote.
‘Embrace the beauty in the handcrafted.’
pandan weavers of Malaysia
Sometimes in our travels we come across remote communities that are making exquisite fine woven rattan items, as we found on the West peninsular of Malaysia.
The Temiar women weave with rattan and palm fronds from the Pandanus plants. They live in the jungle and survive on nomadic farming, which makes the rattan they use a sustainable resource. They are at one with nature and understand they should let the jungle regrow whilst they move to another area. It was such a surprise to find these intricate Malay Bangles that seemed to fit perfectly with our design values and natural fiber philosophy. Purchasing the bangles gives these communities a chance to educate their youth and even give them access to medical care. They lead a simple life and creative skills are passed down through the generations keeping these traditions alive. Although there was a language barrier, they were some of the most welcoming people we have met.
‘There’s nothing like the thrill of walking through the jungle and finding bangles’
Whenever we create a new product we like it zero waste.
A by-product of mass production is the enormous amount of fabric waste. Leftovers and surplus fabric end up in landfills or at best in local neighborhoods where fabric sellers try to make a living reselling it. Wherever possible we create our designs using carefully selected premium quality upcycled fabrics and trimmings in an attempt to reduce waste.
That’s how products like our Do Good Yoga Mat Bag are created. We believe our customers to be environmentally and socially conscious shoppers and that’s why they choose our products.
Our love of upcycled fabrics, natural fibers, limited edition and eco inks, all make for...
‘earth friendly goods with clever design and superb quality.’
stitching & leather craft
Some of our stitching is outsourced to small local workshops that we have visited personally to make sure the establishments are friendly and fair places to work. We like to treat people we partner with as equals, with respect and integrity. We have also done our fair share of hands-on stitching ourselves. We have our own in-house leather crafter who creates amazing leather accessories, from the design to the final product. We spend time searching for leather hides that are surplus stock to create our upcycled leather collection, we then use veg dyes and soften the leather for our requirements. We make a couple of pieces to test and modify, when we are happy with the design we cut pieces applying a zero waste technique and each wallet is...
‘Handmade one piece at a time’