A Hands-on History: Barrydale Weavers
Based in the Klein Karoo, Barrydale Hand Weavers crafts beautifully woven textiles that are sold across South Africa and the world.
After Carol Morris met German-trained weaver Tivane Mavuma through the knitwear company she started in Swaziland, Barrydale Weavers was born. After recognising the growing demand for quality hand-loomed products, Morris relocated to the Western Cape and soon Mavuma – and a number of looms – followed her down to Barrydale to keep up the popularity of her creations. Having finally settled in the quaint town, which is situated just off Route 62, Morris and Mavuma trained up a number of locals, and now employ 18 staff in their factory as well as a few more in the Barrydale Weavers retail store. Visitors to the factory can also witness live weaving demonstrations – a detail that heightens one's appreciation for the techniques and skills involved.
Not only does Barrydale Weavers supply local shops and boutiques throughout South Africa, the brand also now exports to countries such as Canada, the United States, Denmark, Holland and the UK. Using the finest high-grade cotton, the weavers create a wide range of homeware products, including bathmats, cushion covers, rugs, table runners and flat-weave towels. The latter, says Morris, has been their fastest grower in popularity. Made from absorbent cotton, the towels are lightweight and perfect for drying off – but they also work well as a beach mat, throw or shawl.
Since Barrydale Weavers’ inception, Carol has noticed a growing interest in tactile, handcrafted pieces with an artisanal appeal. Citing her desire to move away from mass-produced homeware and return to a more pastoral approach to manufacturing, Carol says that the textiles made by her company have the potential to become heirlooms. Their durability and quality are testament to their lasting appeal.