Cotton Care Guide

Cotton is a versatile, comfortable and breathable fabric and is easy to look after. At TOAST, we love cotton for its ability to take dye and retain bright colours and intricate prints.

Obtained from the fibres surrounding the soft seed pods of the cotton plant, cotton is a natural and biodegradable fibre that has been used since antiquity. The fibres are cleaned and spun into threads before being made into a variety of fabrics, from denim and corduroy to poplin and twills.

How to wash

Cotton can be washed at 30 degrees in the machine with similar colours. Try to wash your cotton less frequently to maintain the shape, colour, and quality of your garment.

How to dry & store

Reshape your garment whilst damp by holding the side seams together and shaking. Cotton is best dried flat or hanging to prevent the need for ironing. If an item requires ironing, then it is best to do so whilst slightly damp or using the steam setting.

Hang your cotton clothes away from direct sunlight to prevent fading.

Corduroy Care Guide

Corduroy is a material favoured for its durability and velvety touch.

There is no real consensus on the origins of corduroy, but it is thought to have been invented in the Egyptian city of Fustat, where a heavy cotton cloth with a raised sheared nap was created, similar to that of velvet or moleskin.

The cloth was brought to Europe in medieval times by Italian and Spanish merchants. It was used to line gowns for warmth and for a fashionable, padded look. The ridges or ribs – known as “wales”, came about as a means of strengthening the fabric and extending its lifespan. Corduroy can have anywhere from 1.5 to 21 wales per inch, though it is typically between 10 to 12.

At TOAST, we like corduroy for its supple, velvety feel, and its casual, practical look.

How to wash

We recommend to wash your cord inside out and with buttons and zips closed, on 30 degrees or on a cool setting.

Try not to overload your machine to avoid friction. Abrasion to the surface of cord can damage the pile and alter the texture.

How to dry & store

For the best result, shake out cord garments after washing. Smooth down the seams, pockets and plackets and hang to air dry – this will avoid the need to iron your garment.

To store, it is best to hang your cord up.

Denim Care Guide

Denim is a sturdy and durable material that can last for a life time if it is cared for well. It has a distinct twill weave and its double set of yarns make denim extremely hardwearing.

Originally used for sails on boats, denim then went on to be worn as protective workwear by farmers, railway workers and miners. The denim was favoured by workers for its strength and comfort, and characterised by its indigo blue outer.

At TOAST, we like denim for its functional, supple hand feel and the beautiful way in which it ages.

How to wash

We recommend to wash your denim as sparingly as possible, as it will subtly fade overtime.

The gentler you can wash your denim, the better, mirroring a handwash as much as possible. The wool and delicate settings on most machines are best for this.

Before washing, always close zips and buttons and turn your denim inside out, as this will stop the colour from running and will protect your machine drum.

Wash with just a small amount of mild detergent, on 30 degrees or on a cool setting.

When washing, do so with similar colours, and try not to overload your machine to avoid creasing, especially for black denim.

Try to avoid spot cleaning stains and marks, as this can remove areas of colour from your denim, especially for dark indigo.

How to dry & store

When drying your denim, try to avoid wringing, as this can weaken or crush the fibres. Avoid tumble drying and quick spin cycles, and this will preserve the colour and strength of your denim, and stop creasing.

We suggest letting your denim dry as naturally as possible. For best results, gently roll up and press out any excess water. Flatten the garment into shape and line dry or air dry. This will prevent, or at least reduce, the need to iron the garment, whilst retaining its strength.

If necessary, iron when damp on a high steam setting.

Denim can be hung or folded. When hanging, fold over at the knees with the waist hanging down to the floor.

Indigo Care Guide

Many of our accessories, workwear and handmade garments are dyed with indigo. At TOAST, we like using indigo for its deep and rich colour, and for the way it naturally ages.

The history of indigo is culturally diverse and regional traditions are readily identifiable. There are exquisitely beautiful resist-dyes from Japan, ajrakh block printing from Gujarat, bold tie dyes from Cameroon and pleated linen biaudes – smocks – from rural France.

Dyeing with indigo demands of time, labour, resource, precision and skill. The mills we work with to create our indigo-dyed fabrics – one in Japan, one in Turkey – are innovative and, while focused on tradition, thoroughly modern in their approach.

How to wash

Over time, indigo garments will beautifully fade. Because the indigo does not penetrate through the whole yarn in the dyeing process, there will be colour rub at first.

Although indigo is an extremely powerful dye, we recommend washing your garment as little as possible, to avoid fading.

When washing, always turn your indigo garment inside out as this will stop the indigo from running and will protect your machine drum.

Wash with just a small amount of mild detergent, on 30 degrees or on a cool setting.

When washing, do so with similar colours, and try not to overload your machine to avoid creasing. Creasing can create lines on your garment that can be hard to remove.

Try to avoid spot cleaning stains and marks, as this can remove areas of colour from your garment, especially for darker indigo.

How to dry & store

Dry your indigo garment as naturally as possible, without artificial heat.

Similar to denim, try to avoid wringing, as this can weaken or crush the fibres. Avoid tumble drying and quick spin cycles, and this will preserve the colour and strength, and stop the indigo from fading.

For best results, gently roll up and press out any excess water. Flatten the garment into shape and line dry or air dry. This will prevent, or at least reduce, the need to iron the garment, whilst retaining its strength.

Iron when damp on a high steam setting.

Folding can leave creases that are difficult to remove. Try to hand your garment on a padded hanger.

Knitwear Care Guide

All of our knitwear at TOAST is made from natural fibres - from fine merino and heathery wool spun in Scotland to recycled Italian cashmere.

Wool is an extremely sustainable and warm yarn, obtained from the coats of sheep, goats and alpacas. As long as sheep have grass to graze on, they will always produce a yearly fleece, making wool an entirely renewable source, and one hundred percent natural. At the end of its life, wool can return to the soil and quickly break down, providing the earth with nutrients for the future.

Wool fibres are strong, naturally insulating and antibacterial. They can easily be dyed into a range of rich colours. At TOAST, we like wool for its versatility, its cossetting warmth and its diverse history and heritage.

How to wash

Woollen garments hardly ever need washing, as the fibres are breathable and do not absorb odours.

Wool should only be washed when absolutely necessary, and it will last longer the less frequently you wash it. Wool benefits from airing or freezing, which can be just as efficient as washing.

When washing, always use a mild detergent specifically for wool. Wash by hand with cool water, avoiding stretching and pulling whilst doing so. Never leave your garment to soak for too long as this can cause pilling and shrinkage. Rinse through thoroughly with fresh water.

For cashmere garments, hand wash in cold water with a mild detergent. Do not rub the garment together when washing as this can cause felting or alter the texture. Rinse the garment well in clean water and gently squeeze out, without stretching.

We recommend never using a fabric softener when washing your garments, as it can cause pilling.

How to dry & store

Dry the garment flat and placed in its normal shape. If you hand wash your garment, place the damp garment flat on a clean towel, roll the towel up and squeeze out any excess water. Avoid twisting and wringing dry as this can alter the shape of your garment.

To speed up the drying process, you can put your towel-wrapped garment on top of a radiator to warm through.

When storing, never put your wool and cashmere garments away unclean, as this will attract moths. They are drawn to the bacteria, and unclean wool and cashmere garments provide the ideal environment.

To avoid moths, don’t fill up your drawers too much, and take your items out of storage regularly. Placing conkers, cedar wood balls and lavender in your wardrobe can help deter them.

Always fold your knitwear, as hanging can stretch and pull the garment, and cause holes in the shoulders. Draw liners can also help to deter moths.

Pills from both wool and cashmere garments can be easily brushed out with a comb.

Leather Care Guide

At TOAST, many of our shoes and accessories are made from natural leather. Each different type of leather has subtle variations in colour and texture, and many have been tanned using vegetable dyes – a more environmentally friendly process of tanning that is recyclable.

Leather is durable and hardwearing, and over time it develops a beautiful patina that darkens gradually.

Looking after your leather

Before exposure to moisture, you can apply a leather/suede protector to your shoes or boots (we recommend Scotchgard) to prevent rain marking the leather. However, many scuffs and marks can be renovated by polishing with the correct products - your footwear will look all the better for it.

Many of our shoes and boots are made with leather soles which provide a beautiful finish but may be a little slippery until they are well worn in. Do take extra care when walking, especially on stairs. Leather soles are a natural product and are porous in wet conditions. Leave wet shoes to dry naturally, never by artificial heat. The addition of a rubber sole and heel pieces by a cobbler will help extend the life of your leather soles and will provide extra protection.

When you’re not wearing your shoes or boots, fill them with tissue or newspaper to help keep their shape.

How to clean polished & matt leather

You can clean your polished leather with a neutral cream polish or a correctly matched traditional coloured polish. We recommend Kiwi shoe polish which comes in a range of colours. Apply with a soft brush and polish off with a different soft brush. A final shine can be given by buffing with a soft cloth.

Be sure to never use a polish on matt leather because you will make it shiny. Instead, we recommend using a saddle soap to clean your matt leather footwear. A good saddle soap is Belvoir Glycerine.

First, clean the footwear with a damp sponge to remove any dirt and allow to dry. When dry, take a very slightly damp sponge and rub it on the saddle soap to get a covering of very slightly soapy residue that you can then apply (if your sponge is too wet, the soap will get very foamy and the final effect will not be so good).

Always leave your leather to dry naturally.

A natural leather wax can be used on accessories to treat the leather and give it a burnished shine.

Linen Care Guide

Linen is made from the durable fibres of flax plants. One of the strongest fibres in existence, flax naturally resists bacteria and is very hardwearing. The Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians were the first to develop linen. It was initially reserved for the wealthy, because of the labour-intensive process of growing the crop, combined with the skill required to weave it. It was often left at its natural oatmeal colour or bleached white.

The flax plant today is mainly grown in Northern France and Belgium, and every part of the plant is used in production, down to the seeds and oils. Due to its biodegradable qualities, linen is favoured by many for its low impact on the environment. At TOAST, we like linen for its crumpled, worn-in feel, its light weight and coolness during summer months.

How to wash

Linen is a strong fabric that becomes softer with wear and wash. Most linen can be washed in the machine, but finer linen might require handwashing.

Always wash your linen inside out to prevent the surface fibres from breaking. Wash at 30 degrees or on a cool setting.

Linen is a very absorbent fabric, so for a better wash try not to fill the machine too full, to allow your garments to soak up the water properly.

How to dry & store

Avoid tumble-drying your linen. We suggest line drying your linen on a hanger, as soon as you can after washing. Reshape and iron your garment inside out and whilst damp - both of which will reducing creasing.

Be careful of pressing around creases and seams with the iron as this can weaken the fabric, and avoid extremely high temperatures, as this can scorch linen fibres.

Silk Care Guide

Silk is a luxurious and fine yet strong fabric with a natural sheen. Discovered in China, the oldest example of silk dates back to over 8,000 years ago. It was once reserved for emperors and the elite, and was initially used as currency as well as clothing. Different colours of dyed silk were used to differentiate status and societal roles.

Silk is produced by many insects, but it is mainly made by the Bombyx ‘silk’ moth. Ironically, the silk moth is closely related to the same type of moth that can cause havoc and damage to our most precious silk garments and collections.

The farming of silk, known as sericulture, has been practiced for thousands of years, predominantly in China where the production process was long guarded as a national secret. At TOAST, we like silk for its luxurious hand feel and for its ability to keep you warm in winter and cool in summer.

How to wash

Silk is a very delicate fabric that should be cleaned with care and attention. We recommend that our silk is dry cleaned, and that the care labels are carefully followed.

If the care label suggests handwashing, do so with cool water and with a mild liquid detergent, rather than powder. Silk should never be soaked in water for longer than five minutes.

When handwashing, the water used must be cool as heat can damage the silk, shrink it and alter the texture. Rinse through thoroughly with fresh water.

How to dry & store

Silk should be left to dry in the open air and away from direct sunlight, as this can damage the fibres and cause the colour to fade.

Should your garment require ironing, do so with the garment inside out, on a low temperature and do not use steam.

It is best to hang your silk up. Try not to keep your silk garments in plastic covers, as these can harbour heat and moisture. Store in a dry place and use canvas garment bags where possible. Be careful of snagging your silk on jewellery or zips.

Velvet Care Guide

Velvet is a soft, luxurious fabric that is thought to have originated in the East during the Middle Ages.

Velvet was traditionally woven from silk, enhancing its trademark lustre. It can also be made from cotton, wool and viscose, each resulting in a slightly different texture and sheen. Often, one type of yarn is used for the back, and another for the front, known as the pile. The raised loops and tufts of yarn are perfectly distributed to give the fabric a luxurious density and distinctive feel.

At TOAST we like velvet for its sumptuous and soft feel, and for it's soft shine that catches the light.

How to wash

When your velvet requires cleaning, we recommend to dry clean. This will protect the fabric finish as well as the interior structure of the garment.

You can freshen your velvet garment by using steam, or leaving in a steamy bathroom. This will help remove odours, lift the pile if it has been crushed, and remove creases. Always steam your velvet garments inside out and allow to air dry at room temperature.

How to dry & store

Velvet should always be hung, not folded. Folding will leave creases that are difficult to remove. Use a sturdy, preferably padded, hanger to prevent shoulder marks and avoid sagging.

For long-term storage, always use a breathable, washable fabric storage bag.

Viscose Care Guide

Viscose is a biodegradable material that can be produced from a variety of plants such as soy, bamboo and wood pulp.

Viscose was discovered by British chemists, and was the first manufactured fibre to be produced in large quantities. It was initially marketed as a more affordable and accessible alternative to silk.

Viscose fibres and yarns are usually woven or knitted into smooth and soft fabric. This makes them ideal for hot, humid climates. At TOAST, we like viscose for its drapiness and movement, and for its ability to carry intricate prints and rich colour.

How to wash

Viscose generally can be cleaned in a washing machine at 30 degrees. To prolong the life of your garment, we recommend that viscose is washed by hand, as it is prone to shrinking. Some viscose is dry clean only, as the twisting that occurs in the washing machine can cause damage to the fibres.

When washing by hand, use cool water, or water no warmer than 20 degrees.

How to dry & store

Line dry your viscose and reshape it whilst still damp, and avoid tumble drying. Allow to air dry flat or on a padded hanger.

Be careful not to wring or twist your viscose. You can easily iron back to shape whilst damp, as viscose grows with steam.

Cotton bags that allow airflow are ideal for storing viscose clothing.

Block Printing

Block printing is a centuries-old craft. Though it might be the simplest and slowest of all textile printing methods, it yields some of the most beautiful results.

The technique demands precision and patience: each block is skilfully hand carved then carefully, laboriously, lined up by eye upon the fabric. It is these human processes that result, inevitably, in slight irregularities. A machine-printed fabric might, by contrast, be perfectly executed, yet it is somehow always a little flat, lacking the inherent liveliness of a hand printed piece.

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Ikat

Ikat is an age-old technique of patterning cloth. The word itself derives from the Malay-Indonesian ‘mengikat’, meaning to tie or bind.

The making of the pattern consists in the precise tying and dying of the threads before weaving. It’s a process demanding skill, patience, organisation and precision yet its beauty, antithetically, lies in the impossibility of perfect execution and the consequent hazy, slightly blurred edges of the motifs.

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Kantha

The kantha cloths, typical of Bangladesh and West Bengal, are an ancient tradition of resourcefulness and fine stitchery. The word kantha itself derives from the Sanskrit for ‘rags’, a reminder of the humble materials from which each kantha is made.

Layers of old, discarded saris and dhotis form the kantha, held together through intricate rows of running stitch. Embroidered stitches unite the multiple layers of salvaged cotton to form an un-wadded quilt, and characterise the kantha with a pleasing regularity.

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In the Studio with Potter Grace McCarthy

London-based ceramicist Grace McCarthy has been making functional objects for eight years. She grew up with an appreciation of traditional craftsmanship – her father was a carpenter and often made pieces for the house. She still remembers her first lesson in pottery while studying for her Art Foundation course at Oaklands College, St Albans, when she found an affinity for the material. “It was incredible to have something so malleable, that you could do so much with it,” she explains.

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In the Studio with Philippa Thomas

Printmaker Philippa Thomas is drawn to bodies of water. She’s currently based between Bristol, a city beside the River Avon in the southwest of England, and the Isle of Skye, with rugged landscapes and fishing villages. Not so long ago, she was based on the canals of the Cotswolds. “Pictures I make are often of the sea,” she says. When she was a child, her family spent a lot of time by the ocean. “It's a very happy place for me.”

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In the Studio with Molesworth & Bird

In Molesworth & Bird’s Lyme Regis studio, captivating seaweed specimens sprawl across paper in shades of dark olive and moss through to plum and rhubarb. The otherworldly fronds are reminiscent of trees and branches found above land, but their sense of movement is changed, from growing under the surface of the sea. Gathered from the Jurassic coastline where Mary Anning once searched for fossils, some specimens are so delicate and lace-like, they are mistaken for watercolours when pressed. “They just sink into the paper,” Melanie Molesworth explains. “We have to persuade visitors to the shop that they are very much real.”

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Studio Kettle | Time to Make

Studio Kettle founder Alex Jones makes every rain hat and pint bag by hand, using either waxed cotton or waxed wool. The shape and proportion of both give a clear nod to classic fishing togs, without feeling like caricatures from the past. Coated with a special type of dry wax that doesn’t feel sticky to the touch, they gradually become more characterful over time. Made without buckles, zips or buttons, the deceptive simplicity is what makes these pieces so sought after. “They’re designed for daily use, not for people to feel precious about them,” Alex says. “You can fold up the bag or hat and shove them into a pocket without worrying about them creasing or looking worse for wear.”

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Geoffrey Fisher | Working with Wood

Geoffrey Fisher has always worked with wood. It is a material that speaks to him, that he feels intrinsically connected to and this is obvious from the objects he creates. Whether it be his functional table brushes, iconic trooks (mix tree with hook), toast tongs, catapults or bee hotels, all display an appreciation for, and understanding of, the forms of nature. When we meet, sun is streaming through his workshop windows and music is playing, loudly. “It's Nora Fischer,” he says cheerfully, turning the volume down a little, “she reinterprets 17th century lyrics. I love it!”

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The Leach Pottery: 100 Years On

“You have to throw about 600 of these until you can make them properly,” says Roelof Uys, lead potter at The Leach Pottery in St Ives, which sits on a hill just as the town starts to peter out into the rugged Penwith Moors. He's talking about an egg cup, a chunky little stoneware pot just shy of five-centimetres in height, with an earthy green glaze covering most of it and an unglazed, biscuit-brown bottom. “Everyone who comes here to make pots has to start their throwing training with these,” he explains. “They're fiddly and difficult, but once you've mastered them, it's easy to learn other shapes.”

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In the Studio with Potter Tim Lake

Nestled in the Upper Tywi Valley in north-east Carmarthenshire, Wales, is a little village called Cilycwm. It’s here potter Tim Lake lives with his family, working in his studio at the end of the garden. “We're in a beautiful part of the world,” he says. “A wide open valley with dramatic hills all around us. It's very rural and quite rugged in parts.” He describes it as a wilderness, and was drawn there after living by the sea for two decades, craving more space and the countryside. “I was drawn to this area and it really does feed into what I do.”

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Woven from Waste | Maria Sigma & Candice Lau

When she was growing up, Athens-born weaver Maria Sigma would spend the school holidays with her maternal grandparents on the island of Andros. Nowadays, she draws boundless inspiration from the island’s smiling coves, with their clear waters and clusters of white-washed Cycladic houses, but at the time she was “quite bored, and always looking for ways to pass the time, like drawing, painting and crochet.”

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A Walk in the Marshes | Lucy Rutter Pottery

There is a stillness and simplicity to Lucy Rutter's hand-thrown ceramics. Dipped in pale, faintly luminous glazes through which gritty specks of clay can still be seen, each piece is unequivocally functional. And yet perched on a table or draining board the taut, tapering lines and arched handles of her vessels look alert, as though the clay still holds some of the energy that went into its making.

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The Painterly Potter | Liz Vidal

It was a happy accident that led to the creation of Liz Vidal’s most requested design. “About two years ago a customer asked for a pot with three different glazes on, so I tried it and it just looked so beautiful,” says Liz of the pattern that has become her signature: a trio of overlapping glazes, which create an alchemy of new shades making each plate, jug or bowl a true one-off. “I love how everyone sees something different when they look at a piece – a landscape, a sunset, even the pattern of Argyle socks!”

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A Natural Colour Story with Wax Atelier

It seems romantic to think of a time where many wealthy households and churches had their very own chandlery. Long before electricity, these small yet crucial rooms would be closely guarded by a chandler and used solely to make and store candles, providing a constant source of light. Looking out of Wax Atelier’s workshop window in Barking, East London, it feels like a serendipitous coincidence that the building next door is, infact, a church. With dipping racks hanging from the ceiling and large vats of wax slowly bubbling away, the workshop is home to contemporary chandlers Lola Lely and Yesenia Thibault-Picazo.

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In the Studio with Ceramicist Nicola Gillis

Ceramicist Nicola Gillis struggles to part with some of the pieces she makes. Occasionally, a beaker, mug, plate or bowl evokes an indefinable feeling that makes the item hard to part with. It might be something about the openness of the form, the way it nestles snugly in the palms, a particular undulation in the glaze or the position of a dimple. “What I want,” explains Nicola, “is for every piece to make me feel like this.”

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Amelia Pemberton of Darn | Time to Make

From a converted barn in a quiet, rural village near Redruth in Cornwall, Amelia Pemberton runs her label Darn, creating vibrant pieces to wear or decorate the home. In the studio space, sketches and paintings are pinned to the walls, while in the sitting room, fluid, cheerful silk scarves float from the beams, diffusing the light that passes through them.

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In the Studio with Mike Watt of Rural Kind

Mike Watt’s appreciation for functional design and Welsh vernacular architecture feeds into his handmade Rural Kind pieces. “There is never any ornamentation,” he says. “I love things that are functional, but also beautiful. I want things to work well, and look purposeful.”

The products respond to the rugged natural landscape surrounding his workshop, which necessitates hardwearing and robust materials. Mike sources most of these materials from the UK – the waxed cotton canvas from a longstanding company in Dundee; the leather from a Devon tannery that uses only local hides, and is hand-finished with natural oils and waxes.

Rural Kind has previously designed garden-focused products for TOAST. Our Autumn Winter collection features a waxed cotton log carrier, a leather bike bag and a card wallet making kit.

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The Art of Community Weaving with Five|Six Textiles

“It looks like the recordings of a seismograph,” says Emma Wingfield, describing the emergence of pattern when ikat-dyed yarn is woven into fabric. Emma is one part of Five|Six Textiles, a collaborative venture with master weavers in the artisanal village of Waraniéné in Ivory Coast. Though not exclusively ikat, many of Five|Six’s textiles are made from this distinctive cloth by virtue of the Dyula community who make them – (the Dyula, a Mandé word meaning “merchant”, are artisanal traders who, traditionally, specialise in ikat).

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Dalia James | New Makers

Dalia James is one of the five New Makers that TOAST will be supporting and nurturing throughout the year. She creates her striking weavings in her studio in east London using biodegradable fibres and a vibrant colour palette.

“I dip-dye the yarns by hand, so even though the structure of a weaving can be the same, no two will ever be identical,” explains weaver Dalia James. She creates unique pieces on three looms in her east London studio. Her space, which she moved into thanks to a grant from the Arts Council, is in a building with 25 other units, so there is a great sense of community. 

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Tracing West African Textiles with Entrepreneur Mariama Camara

“Textiles are in my DNA, it was always meant to be,” says New York-based designer and entrepreneur Mariama Camara of her affinity for cloth. Growing up in Guinea, she remembers watching her mother, grandmother and aunts work with traditional fabrics, and her great-grandmother was among the most successful tie-dyers in the Kindia region of Guinea. In 2001, Mariama moved to New York and followed her older sister into modelling. “It was the best way to get to know the city and learn the language,” she says. “It shaped my character and made me the entrepreneur I am today.”

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Handwoven Ikat | The Process

To create the ikat fabric used in this piece, weavers work under master artisan Bikshapati Kolaan in the village of Yellanki in Andhra Pradesh, south-east India. Following the path of his father, he has been weaving for over 40 years and now passes down his expertise to his son. As the owner of GO Sujathaa Handlooms (formerly Shri Surya Handlooms), Bikshapati trains local people in the art of handweaving. He has been creating ikat fabrics for TOAST alongside them since 2019.  

The cotton yarns are carefully bound together before being dipped in dye – the areas which are tightly wrapped are protected from the colour, creating unique patterns. Then, the dyed yarn is woven on traditional handlooms. This process puts less pressure on the fibres than mechanised processes, resulting in a soft fabric. 

In the Studio with Pottery West

“I think we both found salvation in ceramics because it is so process-led and technical, and we're still constantly learning the technicalities of our craft, which is, on one hand, almost pure chemistry with the glazes, and with the throwing and other aspects, improved greatly by repetition and sheer hard work. We're more or less completely self-taught in making ceramics.”

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Workspace | Andrea Roman Ceramics

“I mainly work with stoneware clay sourced from Staffordshire in the UK adding molochite, iron or sand to create different textures and finishes. I like to mix different shades of clay together to generate a marbling effect resembling distant landscapes of sedimented formations. I love how tactile the clay can be and it's very important for me to highlight the attractive qualities of the clay bodies I work with, always leaving a large portion of the surface untouched by glaze.”

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Organic Shape | Ceramics with Cara Guthrie

Cara Guthrie, whose ceramics are part of our new House&Home Collection, works in a high-ceilinged, light-filled studio in Glasgow. The space is part of an old whisky factory, just by the river Clyde, and other artists and makers occupy the floors. It is a sunny August day when I visit and the large skylight above is filled with cobalt blue. “Even on a grey day the studio is bright,” says Guthrie, making a pot of tea in the makeshift kitchen. Guthrie is barefoot and clearly at ease in her surroundings, “I just can't believe how lucky I am,” she says, smiling. “To have this space, and to be a full time potter!”

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The Hidden Life of Trees

The largest settlement in Dartmoor National Park with a population of just over 4,000 people, Ashburton, Devon, has been home to furniture designer Ambrose Vevers his entire life. His parents bought 20 acres of mixed woodland in the seventies and added a further 20 acres for Christmas trees in 2006. “I walk into these woods and can see the trees growing and I feel very connected to this land. Using these materials for my woodwork makes absolute sense to me. I actively manage this woodland where I coppice, fell and replant trees.” For Ambrose, sourcing sustainable, local and honest materials is the most important aspect of his work producing contemporary, made-to-order furniture.

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Wonki Ware | The Story Behind The Pottery

“We are very authentic about our processes at Wonki Ware, from the very beginning to end. We teach traditional pottery techniques, and work with clay that has been dug out of the ground. Everything is done by hand - creating a result that I believe can never be replaced by machines. Most of our pieces are created using a slab-rolling process, which is easy to teach and doesn't have to be perfect to look brilliant. The process of working with clay can be really revealing, it tells you a lot about each of the artisans, how they are as people and the subtleties to their characters.”

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Samuel Alexander | New Makers

“I enjoy the process of making more than the outcome,” says woodworker Samuel Alexander. He began creating wooden spoons and vessels as a form of cathartic therapy around seven years ago. “I describe it as an energy release,” he says. “Whether that is positive or negative energy, through making you use the muscles in your body to create something outwardly. I make my pieces as calming as possible to look at, as the process is me searching for a sense of calm.”

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New Makers 2022

For the fourth year running, five makers demonstrating excellence in skill, originality and craftsmanship have been chosen by a TOAST panel. We offer business and marketing advice, as well as a platform to sell their pieces until the end of this year, with full profits being returned to them.

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Kingsley Walters | Time to Make

Above Holborn Viaduct in central London is an old office building, now an open-plan studio space for creatives including Kingsley Walters, a leather worker and canvas bag maker. Rolls of leather await his expert hands and an array of finished bags occupy the walls and shelving, while a loop-stitched denim banner created by a friend hangs from a trestle table. “I want my friends and people of my generation to wear my stuff,” he says. This is the reason why he tries to keep the prices of his pieces as low as possible. “Everyone is still becoming,” he says of his friends, “so they won’t spend a grand on a bag!” 

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Rose Pearlman | New Makers

“I’m drawn to anything that is rhythmic and soothing,” says textile and accessories designer Rose Pearlman. “With continuous repetition, I can see my pieces slowly start to take form.” As rug hooking can be easily returned to throughout the day, Rose started using the technique when looking after her young son; finding it an expressive medium, she began to make functional objects for the home. Now, she uses the punch-needle technique to create not only rugs, but cushions, wall artworks and bags. For TOAST, she has created two bags: one from recycled cotton and the other from raffia, each with an incredibly tactile nature. 

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The Making of our Organic Indigo Denim

Founded in 1953 in Kayseri, Turkey, Orta began as a spinning and weaving mill before turning to denim production in 1985. TOAST has been working with them for the past five years, driven by their use of organic, locally sourced cotton and the quality of the resulting fabric they produce. “Our goal is to create ethical, long-lasting and good quality denim that has a low, even positive, impact on the environment,” says Sedef Uncu Aki, director at Orta.

With a holistic approach to responsible production, every stage of the process at Orta is assessed for its impact. Arguably, none is more important than the water usage in indigo dyeing. “We have created a system called Indigo Flow, which uses up to 70 per cent less water than other methods, and it's the cleanest way of dyeing,” says Sedef.

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An Expression of Stitches with Amy Goacher

Knitwear designer Amy Goacher’s studio is set up in the light-filled conservatory of her home in Worthing, a seaside town in West Sussex. A couple of knitting machines sit on the tables, and shelving is filled to the brim with different shades of yarn. Amy is currently working on adding hand-embroidery to archival TOAST sweaters, which are part of the Autumn Winter 2022 collection. “It’s been a very experimental process, and the patterns developed quite naturally through creating different test pieces, until I found the right expression.” Each of the sweaters, knitted with fisherman ribbing, will be revitalised using remnant yarns from the TOAST production process and Amy’s personal collection.

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The History of Corduroy

While corduroy brings to mind fashion of the 1970s, it is derived from fustian, a fabric which can be traced back to Egypt around 200BC. A heavy cloth with a raised nap similar to velvet or moleskin, fustian had not yet acquired the distinctive ridges that would transform it into corduroy. It was favoured by schoolmasters in 18th century Britain, and after the Industrial Revolution, as a material for working men's clothing.

The wales that now define the look of corduroy are created by weaving layers of threads into a base fabric, followed by gluing, cutting and brushing treatments. Wales are measured in ridges per inch; the higher the wale, the finer the cord. At TOAST, we utilise soft organic corduroy across both our womenswear and menswear collections.

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The History of Corduroy

While corduroy brings to mind fashion of the 1970s, it is derived from fustian, a fabric which can be traced back to Egypt around 200BC. A heavy cloth with a raised nap similar to velvet or moleskin, fustian had not yet acquired the distinctive ridges that would transform it into corduroy. It was favoured by schoolmasters in 18th century Britain, and after the Industrial Revolution, as a material for working men's clothing.

The wales that now define the look of corduroy are created by weaving layers of threads into a base fabric, followed by gluing, cutting and brushing treatments. Wales are measured in ridges per inch; the higher the wale, the finer the cord. At TOAST, we utilise soft organic corduroy across both our womenswear and menswear collections.

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Welsh Weaving with Melin Tregwynt

Down winding lanes dappled with shade from wild, overgrown verges is Melin Tregwynt, a woollen mill on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales. The site has been home to a working mill since 1819 and was originally used to mill corn. Melin Tregwynt began to process wool towards the end of the century, and today, the weaving room remains full of looms creating distinctive double-cloth fabrics rooted in the long tradition of Welsh textiles.


“My first memory of the business is wondering why there were all these people in the house,” Eifion Griffiths, whose grandfather Henry bought the mill in 1912, says. He remembers watching his father working in the mill, and his mother in the shop, which was in the parlour room at the front of his childhood home. Until a few months ago, the mill was owned by Eifion and his wife Amanda. In 2022, to mark the 110th anniversary of his family purchasing the mill, the company has now evolved into an employee ownership trust, with benefits shared equally between each of the 42 employees.

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Bluefaced Leicester Wool

Our Bluefaced Leicester Wool Sweater is made from fine undyed wool from Bluefaced Leicester sheep, sourced from farms in north-west England then scoured and spun locally. 

The sheep are thought to be the British breed with the softest wool. It is bought directly from the sheep farmers by our yarn supplier, then processed from field to fibre within 150 miles of the sheep farms. 

The yarn is then knitted by a family-owned Scottish company that was established in 1929. It’s still located on the original site, close by to the sea on the easternmost point of mainland Scotland. 

Image courtesy of Upland Yarns. 

The Making of our Sheepskin Hot Water Bottle Covers

Our sheepskin hot water bottle covers are handcrafted in Street, Somerset, by a family-owned company founded in 1948. Now in its fifth generation, it works with around 30 craftspeople, supporting the local community. 

By-products of the food industry, the sheepskins are of Australian origin, making them hardwearing. They are tanned in Turkey by a Leather Working Group-certified supplier. The Leather Working Group is a not-for-profit organisation focused on the environmental impact of leather manufacturing.

After arriving in Somerset, the sheepskins are carefully matched for colour and texture, before being cut by hand. There are several stages to the sewing of the TOAST pieces, but each is completed by a single machinist. Finally the covers are examined, trimmed, labelled and packed, ready to be sent to TOAST.

In the Studio with Printmaker Angela Harding

There is a legend that people in the village of Wing in Rutland once tried to keep spring there forever, attempting, but failing, to fence in a cuckoo to stop it from flying away. Printmaker Angela Harding’s studio, situated in her garden in the village, looks out onto open fields, bearing witness to the seasons that continue to change. As we approach winter, Angela finds a time of reflection. “There’s a settled mood,” she says. 

She works in her studio right through the cold months. “I love looking out on the snowy fields. I always say I have the best office in the world.” Angela has been working out of her studio for about 16 years. It’s accompanied by another building, used for packing, which her husband built over the course of three years. “We have plenty of studio space but a tiny house!” Angela says. “We spend time away from here, so it suits our lifestyle to not have too much to look after.” Her family is spread across the country, and she is influenced by rugged coastlines and the dramatic Derbyshire peaks as much as the rolling landscape that surrounds her. 

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Rosa Harradine | New Makers

“For me, slow production is a grounded form of craft,” says Rosa Harradine, who only turned to brushmaking last year. Now, she has a signature style with hemp cord running asymmetrically down the natural bristles. Having graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London with a music degree, she was unsure of what to pursue, and began spoon carving, willow weaving and bowl turning before settling on brushmaking. “I wanted to find a new way of being creative,” she says. “I found I really enjoyed the process of creating tangible things.” 

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The Making of our London Tradition Duffle Coats

Based in a former bakery in Hackney, London Tradition makes weighty duffle coats and outerwear. The company preserves the area’s manufacturing traditions and looks to the future of British making while surrounded by the buzz of new developments. 

“We chose the duffle coat as a core product as it’s difficult to make,” says Mamun Chowdhury, who founded the company with Rob Huson in 2001. “You need both special machines and people to operate them. It’s not easy for any new factory to get hold of the equipment and train people. So, we wanted to be in a unique position where we were creating quality products that weren’t easy to replicate.”

London Tradition has worked with TOAST for over three years. This season it has created our Textured Duffle Coat and Single Breasted Car Coat in an indigo colourway.

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The Ancient Traditions and Modern-Day Rituals of Palo Santo

In our collective quest for calm in an increasingly harried and warp-speed world, one might find themselves looking to contemplative rituals for comfort. A short breathing exercise or guided meditation, or a smudge of palo santo, are most welcome because they can be done, autonomously, in the quiet of one’s home, with relatively little outlay of time, money or expertise.

These rituals, especially when practiced consistently, help to tell our brains to stop whirring and our nervous systems to chill out. They mark a transition in our day, be it from activity to rest, stagnation to creativity, or outside world to inside haven. They are also useful when setting an intention – before we begin a yoga practice or scribble stream-of-conscious thoughts into a journal.

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Inside Heritage Knitwear Factory Bonner of Ireland

The drive west towards Ardara in County Donegal is a breathtaking one, even in the grey mist and persistent drizzle. The scenic Glengesh Pass cuts through the high mountains affording hazy views of narrow lakes and flocks of sheep dot the landscape before the road descends to the small town on the Atlantic coast. 

The knitwear factory, Bonner of Ireland, is easy to miss with its unassuming facade, which feels more like a family home than a bustling enterprise. Established in 1976 by husband and wife team Cornelius and Bernadette Bonner, it was in fact originally the hay shed of friends of theirs. Purchased over 40 years ago, the building, which included an adjoining piggery, is now home to their established family knitwear business. Cornelius sadly passed away in 2008 and his son Eamonn now runs the company, honouring his father’s vision and tenacity for blending traditional techniques with modern technology. While retired, Bernadette continues to keep a close eye on operations, nipping back and forth between the factory and her home, which is conveniently located right next door.

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Tracing the History of Furoshiki

The practice of wrapping objects in Japan traces back to the Nara period – during this time, the cloth used was referred to as tsutsumi, meaning “package” or “present.” These wrapping cloths are now known as furoshiki, which are tied and neatly knotted to transport gifts or food.

Other early cultures adopted this method too. In Korean folk tradition, it was considered good luck to wrap something, and there is evidence that the oldest surviving examples of bojagi cloths covered Buddhist sutras. They were also fashioned into tablecloths for special events. In Ancient Egypt, food was enveloped in beeswax-coated strips of fabric to preserve it.

Linen was typically used for the very first furoshiki cloths, and the contents of the parcel were often inscribed on the fabric in ink. Cotton is a lightweight, durable alternative, lending itself to intricate patterns, while silk is a popular choice for more formal occasions

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The Making of our Hand Painted Baubles

Our papier-mâché baubles are handcrafted by artisans who live in the Himalayan valleys of northern India. They are supported by Fair Trade cooperative Sasha, which TOAST has worked with for over ten years.

To create the papier-mâché, newspaper is torn into small pieces, submerged in water and pummelled using a pestle and mortar to create a pliable pulp. It is then pressed into clay moulds, which are cut off to reveal the rounded form. Our mini baubles are formed by rolling the pulped newspaper by hand into the smaller round shape, rather than placing it in a mould.

Once the baubles are dried, the artisans hand-paint them with intricate patterns, designed by TOAST. After the patterns have been applied, the baubles are varnished for a long-lasting sheen, then tassels are added to the ends of the hanging loops by hand.

“This is a centuries-old method, traditional to the area,” Judith Harris, our Head of House&Home says. “I love that through pattern, we can create a contemporary update while helping to retain these masterful techniques.”

Making an Imprint with Sculptor turned Ceramicist Lucia Ocejo

Lucia Ocejo is describing a transformative moment, when she held a Korean chawan, or tea bowl. It was some 300 years old, with uneven lines to its shape and indents from the potter’s fingers, which she covered with her own. “I felt a connection to the maker,” she says, "and, ever since then, I’ve thought of the work I do with more tactility, sometimes leaving the marks of how I made it, too.”

Lucia has just finished a mug from a collection for TOAST, with a warm pinkish-white glaze she calls ‘pearl’. When she dunked these mugs into the glaze, she held it between her fingers, leaving an absence of glaze in their place and making imprints – a reminder of where each one originated, just like on the chawan. “Maybe someone will do that with my work 300 years from now,” she says, with a smile.

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Handwoven Scarves · The Process

A selection of our handwoven scarves this season are crafted by artisans in Ludhiana, India. Mr. Ramanand, Mr. Ramesh and Mr. Jawala are the leading artisans of the group, which consists of 44 members. 

They use traditional handloom machines to create patterned weaves, keeping traditional techniques alive. They have created a trio of wrappy, tactile pieces for our Open Water collection: our Mixed Check Hand Woven Scarf, Driftwood Check Hand Woven Scarf and Gingham Boiled Wool Scarf.

The company also has a family foundation fund, providing scholarships to support girls in the district with their education, through both academic support and giving uniforms.

In the Studio with Hopewood Baskets

Walking through a quiet, suburban housing estate near the Wyre Forest in  Worcester, you’d not know that an ancient craft was being upheld in Sarah Loughlin and Marcus Wootton’s back garden. Perhaps you’d hear the tapping of steel against woven wood, as yearling willow stems are pressed into shape with a blunt, gleaming tool. Maybe you’d see them taken in by the bundle or, weeks later, brought out again: this time, as baskets. 

“I think people have a sort of perception of basketry that is very traditional, quite dusty and stuffy,” Marcus explains, as we stand in the studio at the bottom of the couple’s garden, sheltering from late summer showers. “We were trying to do something a bit different.”  Light breaks through the skylight, falling on shelves neatly stacked with tools and delicate coils of stripped bark held together with string. Useful things lie in small baskets – Sarah’s earlier projects, the ones she first made – and buttery curls of wood shavings cover the floor. This is an industrious space that smells warm, like sap.

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Creatively repaired pieces for increased longevity

Celebrating the beauty of imperfections, our TOAST Renewed collection extends our long-standing approach to cherishing materials and honouring the hands that make our pieces. Each one-of-a-kind piece prolongs the garment's use, giving you the option to make a less impactful, more considered choice for the planet.

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The Making of Our Waxed Cotton at Halley Stevensons

Not far from the River Tay in a beautiful Victorian mill called Baltic Works, Halley Stevensons is continuing Dundee’s ingenious and industrious tradition, developing and manufacturing waxed cotton. Halley Stevensons built a name and reputation on the quality of its textiles and has maintained its position as a world leader in waxed cotton thanks to its commitment to innovation. 

“Our team have backgrounds in both chemistry and design, therefore our waxed cotton is truly a process where science meets art,” explains Dorothy Arnott, Halley Stevensons’ Sales and Marketing Manager. “We are proud of the fact that all dyeing and finishing takes place under one roof here in Dundee.”

Crafting Traditions at Halley Stevensons

In the Studio with Sally Lacock

In her home in east London, jeweller Sally Lacock has carved out a serene studio space. It used to be a lodger's bedroom, but has now been reclaimed as a peaceful place of creativity, looking out onto the garden. It’s remarkably tidy. A linen-covered board is punctuated by tiny fragments of branches, unfurling wood shavings, shells buffeted by the sea, found images, and strings of vintage glass beads. Each is arranged with precision and darted with a slender pin, held indefinitely, preserved in a moment in time. 

Tools are lined up, rows of hammers collected from antique fairs and markets, ready to be used by Sally to make her jewellery. Each piece – all crafted from sterling silver, some with 24kt gold-plated accents – is inspired by the idea of capturing natural objects suspended in time. “I want to capture fleeting moments in the cycle of nature,” Sally explains. “I’m interested in growth and decay, the dichotomy of strength and fragility.”

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Preserving Traditional Weaving at Burel Factory

Isabel Costa and her husband João Tomás founded their textile company Burel Factory in 2006, but the building and infrastructure traces back much further. The factory was first opened in 1947, known then as Lanifícios Império, in the village of Manteigas in the Serra da Estrela mountain range of Portugal. That name lives on as a range of fabrics Burel Factory produces – the pair’s committed approach to conserving and sustaining traditions and livelihoods is at the heart of their company.

“We wanted to recover life in the area,” Isabel says, having first visited on a hike while working alongside João in Lisbon. Having fallen for the rugged landscape, they decided to open a hotel, Casa das Penhas Douradas. It was when finding textiles for the interiors that they came across the factory, which was in the process of insolvency. “A lot of people had left over the past 20 years,” she says. “Originally there were 11 factories in the area, and this was the last one left. We decided we had to save it.” 

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New Makers 2023

For the fifth year, five makers demonstrating excellence in skill, originality, design and craftsmanship have been chosen by a TOAST panel. We offer business and marketing advice, as well as a platform to sell their pieces until the end of this year, with full profits being returned to them.

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Ewan Craig | New Makers

Waking at 7am, marmalade on toast and a large coffee are the starting whistle for the mornings of 25-year-old wood carver and self-confessed bricoleur Ewan Craig. He works in his home studio in St Albans, Hertfordshire: a peaceful, shelf-lined space with floor-to-ceiling windows, garden views and, at its heart, a vintage Swiss workbench.

His studio has evolved to chime with his passions and is part stonemason yard, part woodshop, with a hefty side dose of ceramics studio (a kiln and wheel sit in the corner). The general effect is an Aladdin’s cave of precious creations mid-way through their journey. 

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Shapes of the Sea | Emily Nixon Jewellery

With the sun slowly rising behind St. Michael's Mount, Emily gathers her tools and materials that have been washed up on the tideline; ribbons of kelp, worn and weathered pieces of driftwood and twisted coils of seaweed with tactile edges. "The kelp ribbons can be over a metre long sometimes," Emily says, fixated over the frills and silkiness, "I have them everywhere, my car is full of them!"

It is these natural knots, folds and dinks that form the starting point of Emily's jewellery. Torn ends of kelp and knobs of seaweed are transported by the bag-load to her loft studio in Hayle, where each piece is ordered and hung up above her old wooden desk to dry. "I love these dried-up, gnarly bits that appear on the beach after a storm," Emily describes, whilst observing a tangled, root-like growth. "Like this holdfast, for example. It is the bit of the seaweed that attaches and anchors itself to the rock. The roots are the most beautiful bit.

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Klippan Blankets | The Process

Founded in 1879, Swedish blanket company Klippan is now run by the fourth and fifth generations of the family. The wool – which is traceable to each specific sheep farm – is spun, dyed, warped, woven and brushed in their dedicated Oeko-Tex certified factory.

The company began to use this specialist mill in Riga, Latvia, in the early 1990s, to preserve its heritage which was at risk due to increased market competition. Meanwhile, Klippan’s headquarters remain in Skåne to this day – where it was originally founded – at the southernmost of the historical provinces of Sweden.

Hiroko Aono-Billson | New Makers

For Japan-born ceramist Hiroko Aono-Billson, life is in flux. She and her husband will soon leave their home for the last decade, a pretty Georgian property on the north side of Norwich, for a new life in Brighton. But tranquillity of her bijou home studio, where she typically spends five hours each day making, belies any changes. The light-filled space sits in the south-facing extension off her bedroom. “It is not that big,” she says. “It’s more the size of a walk-in wardrobe, but I have it as my workspace, with three tables and all my clay and equipment.”

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Poppy Fuller Abbott

Brighton-based weaver and dyer Poppy Fuller Abbott has a desk piled high with cones of yarn and stacks of fabric. “It can get a little bit chaotic when I'm in the midst of something, but when I'm deeply focused on my work, I don't seem to notice,” she says. “I see it as a beautiful mess; I'm always taking pictures of yarn tangles I’ve swept onto the floor!” 

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Jynsym Ong | New Makers

Sitting in her Oxford studio, ceramist Jynsym Ong reminisces on her two-year apprenticeship in Karatsu, Japan, a once-in-a-lifetime experience awarded to seven UK-based artists by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation each year. It came after an intense but rewarding two-year stint at the renowned Clay College in Stoke-on-Trent – the epicentre of British potteries – learning first-hand from a coveted list of makers from all around the UK and abroad. 

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Alfie

Relaxed Taper

“Our Alfie trousers are one of our most popular shapes, and were part of our new Menswear collection in Spring Summer ’21,” says our Menswear designer, Catie Palmer.

The relaxed, tapered style has an elasticated drawstring at the waist, allowing them to be worn higher or lower on the waist depending on your preference. Wearing them lower means the leg length will appear longer.

An inner leg panel runs the whole way up the left leg, around the base and down the right. This adds extra volume and accentuates the length of the rise.

Our Trouser Guide

Bill

Double Pleat, Wide Leg

Our Bill trousers have wide, straight legs with adjustable buttoned cuffs, allowing you to taper in the silhouette to suit your day.

“I was inspired by early 20th-century workwear and uniforms,” says Catie. “The double reverse-facing pleats reference European tailoring, and bring volume to the shape.”

They have a fairly low rise, sitting on the mid hip for a relaxed fit, and are finished with a V at the back of the deep waistband, a vintage reference. With slightly shorter legs than our other trousers, to fall neatly on the ankle.

Our Trouser Guide

Drawstring Cuff

Relaxed Taper

Based on our most popular tapered Alfie shape, this style has the addition of drawstring cuffs and a zipped fly.

“The drawstring cuffs reference sails and parachutes,” says Catie. “The idea of keeping the elements out drew us to this functional detail.”

Because of the working fly, these can be worn on the mid hip, slightly higher than our regular Alfie.

Our Trouser Guide

Norv

Flat Front, Slim Taper

Our Norv trousers are our slimmest shape, with flat-front, tapered legs.

“This is our pared-back, everyday trouser,” Catie says. “The simple shape makes them easy to style with basic tees, like our Theo in seasonal green.”

Sitting lower on the waist, they have wide belt loops which underscore the simplicity.

Our Trouser Guide

Wes

Single Pleat, Narrow Taper

Single pleats at the waist of our Wes trousers give a little room around the hips for comfort. Sitting on the mid-hip, they fall to a narrow taper.

If you need a roomier fit in future, the seam at the back of the waistband can be unpicked and extended to widen the waist. “It has a V slit at the back and a wide seam allowance of approximately two centimetres, so they can easily be adjusted by a tailor,” says Catie.

Signature TOAST corozo buttons punctuate the back welt pockets, coming from the natural corozo nut.

Our Trouser Guide

Exploring Natural Forms with Ceramicist Rebecca Williams

It’s a stormy morning in October. British potter Rebecca Williams pulls on her boots and traipses out to her garden studio in Emsworth, Hampshire. It’s a small space which is home to her three electric kilns, and filled with racks of stoneware colanders, butter dishes and lemon juicers. Lately, she has been gathering driftwood on the shoreline, a five minute walk from her house. “It takes a long time to find each piece,” she says, as she turns over smoothed, sea-tossed wood in her hands. These select pieces of driftwood will become the handles of spoons created for TOAST, with hand-moulded ceramic heads. 

In the Studio with Rebecca Williams

Estelle Bourdet | New Makers

Last month, weaver Estelle Bourdet upped sticks from her home in Kalmar on the Swedish coast to start a new life in the wilds of Jostedal, Norway with her partner Sebastian, a glacier guide and beekeeper. “We are now living in a little red house that Sebastian renovated,” says Estelle. “It’s in a valley close to some big glaciers and above the Sognefjord, which is Norway’s longest fjord.”

In the Studio with Estelle Bourdet

A Decade of Our Lydia Dress

This season we are celebrating ten years of one of our most enduring styles, the Lydia Jersey Shift Dress. Imagined by our designer Gabi D’Amico for our SS13 collection, it has remained an integral part of our loungewear range to this day, realised in washed indigo and washed black.

Celebrating 10 Years of Our Lydia Dress

Continuing Craftsmanship

Rounded shapes, smooth glazed interiors and unglazed bases characterise stoneware pieces handcrafted by artisans in Bàt Tráng, a small village in the north of Vietnam that has a long tradition of pottery making. It lies beneath the Hong River, about half an hour from Hanoi. 

The old pottery has been owned by one family for eight generations and is supported by socially responsible company Kinta, founded by Frans Noordhuis 30 years ago with a focus on local production. Now, Kinta is co-owned by Frans alongside Nicoline Wrisberg, who acts as product developer. They visit the pottery each year, collaborating with Tung and Viet, the youngest generation to run the business. 

The ceramics are made from local, raw clay found in the north of Vietnam and baked at a high temperature of 1250°C. 40 artisans keep the tradition of pottery making in the area alive, using traditional techniques to create the pieces, which have strikingly modern forms. 

Essential Forms with Matt Pasmore of Willow Pottery

Just north of Bath on Freezing Hill is Willow Pottery, in an outbuilding on an old farm that looks out over to Bristol and the Cotswolds. Beside the studio is a covered area where stacks of outdoor pots are exposed to the weather, developing a pleasing patina before they are sold. “The building used to house pigs. Farmers are diversifying a lot now – there are also carpenters and tree surgeons here,” says Matt Pasmore, who has led Willow Pottery since 2009, but has been orbiting the business much longer. As a teenager, he began working at the pottery on Saturdays. “I was never really involved in the throwing or making at the beginning,” he explains, instead packing kilns and helping out with odd jobs. “I never knew I was going to be a potter.”

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Casa de Folklore Ceramics

The Romanian village of Horezu in the Carpathian Mountains is home to a traditional pottery workshop, surrounded by rolling hills and tranquil valleys. “It exudes the rustic charm of the region,” says Bucharest-born Alice Munteanu, founder of Casa de Folklore. 

Alice discovered the pottery after extensive research and travels across Romania, and began collaborating with the artisans. “I was captivated by their skill and artistry, and I knew I had found something truly special,” she says. “Over the four years we have been working together, we have built a strong relationship based on mutual respect and a commitment to preserving Romanian folk traditions.”

Pottery has been deeply important to the community for hundreds of years, and knowledge and skills are passed down through families. Among the artisans are husband-and-wife team Constantin and Maria. They work closely together – Constantin carefully extracts and shapes the clay, while Maria decorates the pots with unique patterns. “They are entirely dedicated to their craft,” says Alice. 

Sorghum Brushes | The Process

In the Mae Suai district of Chiang Rai province, Thailand, is a broom and brush workshop surrounded by mountains and greenery. In the workshop, more than 30 artisans create brooms, each specialising in their own process. Many of the artisans have been working with Baan Boon Brooms for more than 20 years. “It’s a small village, so everyone knows each other,” says Boonnita Vivatananukul, the daughter of founder Somboon Vivatananukul.

Boonita joined the family business in 2019 and works closely with workshop manager Sakorn Boonla and senior artisans Janta Phromphan and Kiat Fongkham. Kiat creates the most challenging designs. “She can make the impossible possible,” says Boonita. The three have been working with her since 1992.

To create the brooms, first the sorghum grass is graded and sorted. The correct length of sorghum is chosen for each broom, reducing the amount that needs to be trimmed off. After being boiled, dyed and rinsed, the sorghum will dry in the sun. The neem wood handles are cut and rounded off, before the sorghum is bundled together. Finally, a leather hanging loop is added to the braided handle. 

Going Against the Grain at Bleu de Chauffe

On arrival in Millau, southern France, the first thing to catch your attention is the majestic viaduct. Designed by British architect Norman Foster, this striking feat of engineering stands at 1,104 ft tall making it – at the time of writing – the tallest bridge in the world. Close to the River Tarn, just a few minutes’ drive away, is the Bleu de Chauffe workshop. Nestled in the valley, the timber building is surrounded by wildflowers and billowing grasses, an impressive outlook dominated by the cable-spanned skyline.

It’s here, in the Aveyron region known for its glove-making industry, that Alexandre Rousseau and Thierry Batteux decided to build their bag and accessories business. Established in 2009, Bleu de Chauffe (the name is taken from the French workwear jackets worn by 19th and 20th century factory workers) creates traditional work bags by hand, using the highest quality local materials including vegetable-tanned leather and organic cotton canvas, crafted by their team of artisans.

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Supporting Local Farming at British Wool

Mountains of fleece bales fill the British Wool depot in Bradford, and it’s hard to conceive how long it would take to grade each by hand. For the TOAST Autumn Winter collection, undyed wool sorted at the hub has been used to create a menswear and womenswear sweater. Sean Crannigan, owner of TOAST supplier Knoll Yarns in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, has bought the wool directly from British Wool, and sends it to be spun nearby at Lightowlers in Huddersfield. After being spun, the yarn is sent to Scottish knitters Harley, to be knitted into shapes created by TOAST designers, making the finished sweaters entirely UK-made.

“Each grader will get through six tonnes of wool a day, 3,000 fleeces,” says Ian Brooksbank, who manages the operation at British Wool and has been working there since 1990. “We're just not sorting the wool by breed, we also grade by the characteristics that the buyer wants,” he explains. There are over 100 different grades, which are split into six main categories of wool – “fine, medium, cross, lustre, hill and mountain.”

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TOAST Reworn | Previously loved pieces

Through TOAST Circle, we have been exploring resourceful methods to reduce our waste and keep wearable and well-crafted pieces in circulation.

Our latest initiative, TOAST Reworn, offers an alternative to buying new, with a collection of pieces that have been previously loved or selected from past collections.

Fabio Almeida on Finding Beauty in Contrasts

Accidental beauty turns London-based artist Fabio Almeida’s head. Shapes created incidentally, the aesthetics of happenstance and the drama in the mundane – like some ordinary garage doors, or a neighbour’s fence alongside a dustbin, “scenes that are nothing special, but which create interesting images that weren’t intended.” 

Fabio cites the South American modernist movement as a key inspiration for his work, but this wasn’t always the case. Born in Porto Allegre in Brazil in 1968, “a city which is new new new,” he was engulfed by, and enamoured with, Europe’s many textures; “I think I needed to distance myself from Brazil in order to be here,” he says, “and it took me a while to realise that where I came from had an aesthetic value and that it was influencing me all the time.”

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A Brief History of Velvet

Once reserved for royalty, velvet has been wholly embraced since the Industrial Revolution made it more widely available. Calling to mind 1970s bohemia, the plush material continues to evolve with modern needs, recognised for its durability and luxurious finish across fashion and homewares.

To create the signature short pile, a special loom closely weaves together two layers of fabric which are then cut apart. The distinctive sheen is due to the density of the yarns and their even distribution. While silk thread is the traditional choice, alternative fibres determine the price and feel of the finished velvet.

Evidence suggests that ancient Egyptians used processes that mirror velvet manufacturing, indicating that this fabric (or one similar) has been around since 2000 BC. As the centuries marched on and Europeans tapped into the lustrous appearance of velvet, it was traded along the Silk Route and fast became associated with wealth and prosperity.

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Linen Through the Ages

The world's oldest woven garment, The Tarkhan Dress, is made of linen. The long-sleeved shift dress was unearthed from an Egyptian tomb in 1913, and is thought to be over 5,000 years old. That it survived at all is remarkable, but linen is one of the strongest fibres in existence.

While the Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians first developed organised linen industries, Europe turned out to be the ideal place for cultivating flax, which grows best in cool, moist climates. Linen industries sprang up in Flanders and Belfast in the 18th century, but they had cotton to compete with. It was fast and easy to make on the latest industrial machinery; linen craftsmen working on hand looms struggled to keep up. 

Over the decade, linen has regained popularity and flax is now grown all over the world. The plant requires no irrigation or chemical treatments; it is biodegradable and every part of it is used, meaning its impact on the environment is considerably low.

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The History of Cashmere

The harvesting of cashmere – the fine undercoat of a goat native to Central Asia – originated in the mountainous region of Kashmir, India, in the 13th century. To this day, traditional herders in this part of the world contribute to the global cashmere trade. The hair is combed from grazing cashmere goats and sorted by hand, before being sent to a cleaning facility.

The signature softness of cashmere, combined with the geographical limitations of obtaining it, account for its status as a luxury material. As it began being imported into Europe in the 18th century, it was soon associated with wealth and royalty. Cashmere continues to come with a higher price tag than wool.

TOAST uses recycled cashmere blended with merino wool to create lofty cardigans, easy sweaters and warming socks.

Cashmere Collection

The Making of Lokta Paper in Kathmandu

Crafted in Nepal’s Kathmandu valleys, our Fair Trade lokta paper is made by artisans from the durable and evergreen lokta plant. Growing in abundance in the forests of Nepal and regenerating to a fully grown plant in just over five years, it has been used for Buddhist texts and legal documents for centuries. 

The bark is peeled and dried, then soaked overnight and boiled. Next, it is beaten until it becomes a watery pulp consistency. Framed mesh screens are dipped into the mixture and carefully lifted out to achieve even coverage. This is set out to dry in the sun until a sheet can be peeled from the screen. Depending on the individual design, the papers can be hand-dyed, dip-dyed or hand-screen printed.

The Making of Our Syrian Glass Ornaments

Our recycled glass baubles and hanging vases are the product of a generations-old tradition. TOAST is proud to have a longstanding relationship with master glassworkers in Syria, a country with a rich history of the craft. While versions of the technique can be traced back to ancient Egypt, it was artisans in Damascus who developed the skilful method that is used today, evolving glass blowing into an established practice.

Unlike glassware formed with moulds, blown glass has a light and transparent feel. Air is blown into molten glass with a long and slender pipe, creating a bubble which can then be manipulated into delicate teardrop and spherical shapes. The resulting objects often feature subtle warps, marks and bubbles, making each piece unique.

Crafting Friendly Forms with Potter Frances Savage

Manchester-based potter Frances Savage trained in Stoke-on-Trent, the heart of the potteries, and Tuscany. For the Spring Summer 2024 collection, Outdoor Pursuits, Frances has hand-thrown three pieces exclusively for TOAST. Her distinctive decorative style, created using a slip trailer, is simple and illustrative. Her rich palette of black, cream and honey compliments the warmth of the red terracotta clay. 

“I’ve always been drawn to these colours,” Frances says. “Honey glazes have historically been used in pottery because it’s a simple recipe made of local clay and a melting agent. I like to think that I’m nodding to the tradition when I slip my pots,” she says.

In the Studio with Frances Savage

Playing in Nature with Artist Rosie Harbottle

Rosie Harbottle is an artist based on the edge of Dartmoor, Devon. She draws inspiration from her surrounding landscape, flowers and the beauty of everyday objects. Working predominantly with acrylic on canvas and oil pastels, Rosie creates colourful, expressive and textural representations of flora and fauna that celebrate the natural world and living alongside it.

“I’m always in pursuit of the perfect palette. Colour can evoke so much feeling. It’s always the first consideration when I begin a new painting.” 

This series of prints is inspired by the playfulness of outdoor pursuits and how we interact with nature. Using a palette of rich colours, loose brush strokes and mark-making, the flowers, insects and nature motifs depicted in this series evoke a sense of optimism and joy.

In the Studio with Rosie Harbottle

Modern Basketry with Amy Krone

Amy Krone is an artist living in the forest of the Catskill Mountains. She spends her time in her local forest, sustainably harvesting native white oak from her land to weave into modern baskets inspired by the traditional methods of Appalachian basketry - a journey that began in a used bookstore. The process is physically demanding, requiring her to split the oak into thin, pliable strips before weaving into dramatic swooping shapes.

“The people in Appalachia didn't have much and they were able to figure it out with just a little bit of muscle and a couple of axes,” she says. “I feel a real sense of awe in honouring the traditions of people who have come before me.”

Meet Our New Makers 2024

In the Studio With Polly Liu

Working from a communal studio in Peckham, Polly creates characterful tableware from sustainably sourced clay. She decorates her forms using Nerikomi, a Japanese technique which involves stacking and slicing different coloured clay and allowing natural patterns to emerge. Her interest in this craft reflects her overarching attitude to the material: that it has a mind of its own and can only be controlled to a point.

“Clay moves in a really unusual way,” she reflects. “It is not about manipulating it to line up with my design – I have to hear what the clay has to say.”

Meet Our New Makers 2024

Will Nock | Working with Wood

Furniture designer Will Nock creates work that responds to his material’s unique nature. After studying graphic design at Falmouth University, Will realised he preferred working with physical materials over channelling his creativity digitally. He taught himself carpentry, learning how to work with the unique grain of different woods to shape it into functional furniture. With a practice perched on the Cornish coast, Will’s pieces are informed by his rugged surroundings and crafted from locally sourced wood. All of his pieces for TOAST will be made from oak, a material known for its longevity and durability. 

“Even after the tree has been chopped down, the wood still breathes and reacts to the humidity. It moves with the seasons, so you’re sort of giving it a second life.”

Meet Our New Makers 2024

In the Studio With Kate Semple

York-based artist Kate Semple draws on her background in illustration and design to create stoneware vessels. In her studio, Kate uses pinching, coiling and slab building techniques to shape her vessels, appreciating that all these processes require are clay and her bare hands. 

“I’ve never been drawn to the wheel, I’ve always just wanted to sculpt,” she says. Once the form is finalised, she sweeps a dolomite glaze over the surface and decorates it with striking hand painted lines. Now, she works at the craft full-time.

Meet Our New Makers 2024

Rosie Stonham | Working with Glass

Rosie creates functional design objects that are informed by her interest in biology and the flow of matter between the body and the external world. In her London studio, Rosie creates her vessels by scrunching up old newspaper into rough moulds before blowing the glass by hand. As is the case with the human body, no two forms are alike. 

“The pieces examine consciousness and how the material of our bodies generates our immaterial inner life,” she explains. “I’m very interested in narrative expressed through objects.”

Meet Our New Makers 2024

Celebrating Inspiration and Exchange at The Leach Pottery

Over the last few hundred years, there are few potteries that have been quite as influential as The Leach Pottery. Widely regarded as the birthplace of British studio pottery, its founder Bernard Leach represented a new breed of artist-potter in the twentieth century, establishing an aesthetic tradition characterised by hand-thrown, functional pots, glazed in quiet earthy colours.

South-African-born ceramicist Roelof Ulys joined the pottery in 2013, today heading up a studio of six potters, as well as an apprentice and a merry band of volunteers. “The Leach Pottery doesn't belong to us,” he says. “It belongs to the generations of potters who have come through here before us and been taught by Bernard Leach and his apprentices.”

In the Studio with Leach Pottery

The Makers of Our Hand Painted Hats

“Our brand is centred on creating timeless, unique pieces with sustainability in mind and advocating for conscious and long-lasting consumption,” say sisters Cristina and Mariana, a painter and designer respectively, who founded Romualda in 2020.

Romualda is an expression of the sisters’ shared passion for art and nature, and its signature hats are inspired by the sea, sun and fresh fruit. Each piece is hand-painted by Cristina in the brand’s Madrid studio. They are thoughtfully designed to be cherished for generations to come.

“In our commitment to ethical practices, our hats are made using Fair Trade cotton sourced from agricultural cooperatives in Uganda and Kyrgyzstan, and the fabrics used for the linings are sourced locally and sewn by artisans in the north of Spain. The wadding inside each hat is made using recycled PET from ocean cleanups.”

Spanish company Guanabana supports women artisans in Columbia. The founder, Almudena Espinosa, grew up with a Columbian mother and was drawn to the country’s culture and people from an early age. She also discovered traditional crafts during her childhood visits, and in 2005, Guanabana was born.

Each design is the product of traditions passed down through generations and kept alive by artisan communities. Guanabana works closely with over 600 craftspeople, most of them women, providing legal, regulated, stable and quality work in areas with scarce resources.

Low-impact materials are used where possible, including sustainably sourced iraca straw fibres, also known as toquilla, which are intricately woven by hand to form unique homeware pieces.

Cortona Ceramics

A flying visit to a friend in Tuscany over ten years ago became a defining voyage for Canadian artist Jennifer Perez. Inspired by the charm of the people, the countryside and the colours, she moved there soon after. Through her company, Ivo Angel, she now collaborates with potters from Cortona and neighbouring Tuscan and Umbrian villages whose experience with clay stretches back years. 

“These artisans did not become artisans; they were born artisans,” Jennifer says. “They live and breathe their work as the tradition runs deep – in many cases, the skill has been passed down through generations.” 

Ivo Angel’s terracotta pieces for TOAST are traditionally crafted by Cortonese artisan Giulio Lucarini, who has been working with clay since he was 18 and describes it as his “natural calling.” They are finished with a hand-painted splatter effect, inspired by antique ceramics from the region.

Preserving Tuscan Ceramic Traditions

Amy Krone | New Makers

Amy Krone’s life in the Hudson Valley is rooted in connection; to nature, to her community, and to the Appalachian tradition of basket weaving. An unexpected find in a used bookstore introduced her to the method, but she has since made it her own, harvesting native white oak from her backyard woodland before splitting it by hand into thin, pliable strips for weaving.

Each basket takes Amy approximately twenty hours to complete. She works slowly and patiently in her studio, sipping tea and listening to audiobooks while tuning in to the rhythms of the craft. “I experience a real sense of awe in preserving the traditions of people who have come before me,” she says. “It connects me to humanity.”

In the Studio with Amy Krone

The Making of Our Portuguese Stoneware

Our organic-shaped Cove ceramics are crafted in Portugal using raw stoneware clay which is dug from the local area. Before the clay enters the production process, there is a period of cooling and solidification where the clay is tested to ensure it meets the manufacturer’s standards. While moulds are used to form the plates and bowls, each varies slightly in shape and colour.

Each piece is coated with a reactive matte glaze, developed from scratch by a Portuguese supplier using raw materials and pure oxides, frits and other components to achieve a more natural look. It undergoes a chemical reaction when fired at high heat, forming a unique texture on the surface of the burnt clay. Due to the unpredictable nature of the glaze, no two finishes are exactly alike.

The Making of Our Moroccan Glassware

Our Moroccan glassware is hand-blown from recycled glass at the Beldi Country Club in Marrakesh, the last factory in the country to produce blown glass. The group of 60 artisans create glasses, bottles and bowls using traditional techniques. 

The glass is blown using an oxygen and gas flame, with any waste from the process melted down in a furnace to be used again. Approximately two tons of glass are recycled each day, with the green glass being repurposed from beer bottles. As the molten glass is shaped, subtle bubbles and marks appear, making each piece unique.

For 15 years, the Beldi Country Club has worked to preserve other traditional crafts alongside hand-blown glass, including weaving, pottery and embroidery.