December 30 2010
Blodwen.com is a virtual general store founded in March by two Welsh businesswomen on a mission to promote, preserve and revive the country’s traditional rural craft skills. Craft, as we all know, is officially “on-trend” at the moment, so their timing is spot on, and the products themselves – including earthenware jugs, bowls and pots, vintage dowry quilts, turned wooden bowls and willow coracles (yes, really) – are the perfect mix of handmade authenticity and sleek contemporary chic.
The website is straightforward but it’s designed for browsers rather than click-and-buy shoppers, so park yourself in a comfy chair and take time to wander through each of the 14 departments, reading the fascinating stories behind the pieces. (I discovered, for example, that those coracles, at £1,200, are made by master craftsman Bernard Thomas from willow he harvests himself and that the earthenware is thrown by hand in a pottery that’s been run by the same family since 1610.)
It’s all desirable stuff but I’m particularly smitten by the 1920s Tailor’s Sample Quilt, which is made from dozens of rectangular samples of suiting fabrics (third picture, £1,400), the Cawl bowls (first picture, £38 each) and the limited-edition book of Nursery Rhymes, printed – in Welsh – at one of the world’s few remaining private presses (second picture, £140). Beautiful.