Why We Give

I am incredibly grateful to be part of blended family; a family who has always included me in their familial traditions and culture since I was a young child. We share these same traditions with my own children so that they learn to honor a culture of which they are so very much a part of, but to which they simultaneously do not belong. When we sat down to discuss design, it was second nature to suggest a design based on the intricacies of Otomí embroidery and the beauty of hand cut papel picado. These have been a part of my everyday visual culture ever since I can remember. Pavo is, first and foremost, a family business. Our design decisions are not made in a vacuum.  Designing wraps based on traditional Mexican artwork was a way for me to honor my family; it was a way to visually acknowledge their importance and how much they mean to me. 

We consider charitable giving a private act, one not done for accolades, but because it is a key tenet of our shared philosophy of valuing the social good which can be accomplished by ethical charitable giving. The new year is a time for reflection however, and we thought we would offer some insight into why we give, what organizations benefit from our giving, and which of our products make it possible for us to donate. 

Before our version of Otomí went on the loom, we considered how to best make use of the funds from the sale of the wraps; we knew we couldn't share our appreciation for the skilled and complex textile design of Otomí embroidery without giving back to the communities that are responsible for creating this artwork. We decided, before Otomí was even woven, to give 100% of the proceeds to an organization that could reach the Otomí people. We had a difficult time finding an organization that had the necessary economic tools and resources to funnel large sums of money directly into the hands of Otomí women in a way that was both culturally sensitive to the dispersal of money in these communities and that would also insure that women were being aided in way that was safe and empowering. It wasn't until Otomí was woven and after much consideration and input from friends, family, and good old fashioned research, that we decided to donate to the International Development Exchange, with the specification that it be donated to those projects aiding and empowering indigenous women in Mexico. With the release of Otomi, we realized that we could make an even greater impact by also donating funds from Unicornio and De La Sol to IDEX. The money from these releases allows us to continue to donate to IDEX and other organizations, such as Grassroots International. We are in communication with IDEX and receive regular updates on the work they are doing. We are deeply invested in the work IDEX does, particularly the work they are doing to insure economic parity for indigenous women in Mexico.

Going forward we will work with our family members and artists in Mexico to generate artwork for our next generation of wraps. We will continue our charitable contributions which have made a great impact on the work IDEX is able to accomplish for indigenous crafts women in Mexico. Donating is not simply our desire; it is our ethical obligation. 

Our search for charities remains ongoing. We are always open to new suggestions, if you have a found a reliable way to directly donate to Otomí women, or if you have another cause close to your heart you think one of our patterns could support, we would absolutely love to hear from you. You may contact us here.

The Heart in Kith & Kin

Paper dolls are about family. They invoke not only our immediate family, but also our chosen family of babywearers in this vast passionate community of critical thinking people.  Kith & Kin evolved, as so many of our projects do, out of a craft started with our children. We cut snowflakes, fold origami, and rediscover connecting families in paper.  As we played, I remembered one of my oldest and most valued friends, Cynthia Director, and her textile design degree project honoring our often painful childhoods as little girls. Her work was about being two dimensional, about love, about solitude, and about holding someone's hand.  She strung long lengths of dolls together; she made lonely girls waiting for dresses with their folded paper flaps; she made sense of growing up.

Paper dolls come from an innocent place, I think for a lot of us they conjure up memories of the past. Kith & Kin celebrates our present, where we are now with our families, babywearing, undefined, all holding hands through our journey together.  

The paper doll pattern is one directional to help aid in the learning of new carries, or just to assist with old favorites.

Kith and Kin will debut during national Heart Month in February of 2015. All proceeds from the sale of Kith & Kin will be donated to The Children's Heart Foundation.  

 

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Of Whales and Mermaids

Pencil and watercolor on paper by Joseph Bogart Hersey, American (fl. ca, 1843-51), Ship Corinthian of New London, from Hersey’s journal aboard the bark Samuel and Thomas of Provincetown, MA, John Swift master, September 12, 1846-April 13, 1848. 

Pencil and watercolor on paper by Joseph Bogart Hersey, American (fl. ca, 1843-51), Ship Corinthian of New London, from Hersey’s journal aboard the bark Samuel and Thomas of Provincetown, MA, John Swift master, September 12, 1846-April 13, 1848. 

One of the greatest pleasures in working with a close friend is that they understand you, perhaps even more than you understand yourself at times. Erin gets me; I only hope I can do the same for her. 

Anyone else like Melville? Probably not. I admit to not caring for him that much either, but Moby Dick gets me every single time. And although I have read the book too many times to count, the ending still always comes as a surprise. 

Late last winter, I had just finished reading Moby Dick for the millionth time and was very caught up in the history of the whaling industry in Nantucket and New Bedford. Not exactly fodder for design inspiration, but I admit to being swept away by nostalgia and well, was overly excited, as I often am when I feel inspired. This led to a rather amusing conversation: 

J$: What if we did something along the lines of Moby Dick? I just reread it and think there might be something useful there. 

(Insert long pause)

Erin: What I'm hearing is that you would like a wrap with a whale on it? 

J$: Well, not just any random whale. 

Erin: An albino sperm whale with a grudge? 

J$: Yeah—maybe a man eating whale isn't such a good idea for a baby wrap.  Maybe something less literal? It doesn't have to be a whale. Maybe a boat?

(Insert second long pause)

Erin: So like a yankee schooner or whaleboats? On a Pavo wrap? 

 A whaleship sailed with three to five whaleboats swinging from davits (cranes used on ships). Spares, usually two, were stowed on top of the after house at midship.

 A whaleship sailed with three to five whaleboats swinging from davits (cranes used on ships). Spares, usually two, were stowed on top of the after house at midship.

J$: Hmm . . . well, when you put it that way. Maybe not? Maybe something else? I don't know. 

Erin: Let me think. 

See, when Erin says," Let me think," that is typically code for, "Oh Good Lord, J$ has lost it." And in hindsight, I do feel rather silly. I mean, Herman Melville in wrap form doesn't exactly call to mind images of snuggles or sleepy dust. So, I dropped it and reminded myself that perhaps not everyone loves a good seafaring tale of whales and revenge. 

But here's where things get really, really amazing. 

Ama in work

Ama in work

Later that week, inspired by the powerful women sea urchin collectors in Japan known as Ama, Erin texted me a painting she had done. It was a gorgeous mermaid, painted with dark, bold strokes on rich, creamy paper. I gasped and dropped my phone. Erin will never call herself a painter, but I will. That painting painted on a cold winter's day in the filtered, lingering sunlight of a late afternoon would become our Ama.

 

Of course, no mermaid is complete without her coterie of friends. Aquaria followed the next week and Sea Star, which had been on the back burner for months, finally found her home with Ama and Aquaria. 

It's not Moby Dick for sure, but I will always have a deep and abiding fondness for Ama and her many friends. 

With special thanks to Cleo Li Lebron and her photogenic family.  

The Chair

We drove by this fabulous chair every day on our way to the mill. We wanted to pick it up, but we were always late, our car was too small, what would we do with it so many miles from home? 

So Joel and I drove to get the chair anyway and before we went Bethanne said, oh I wanted that chair, and on the way Joel said, I meant to pick up this chair. We hoisted the chair into the back of his Southern issued pick-up truck and brought the chair back to the mill. The cushion was violently scratched out by a frustrated cat and the rain the night before gave it a rancid sour smell, but we love it all the same.

The Chair

BWI Atlanta

I don't have a babywearing group.

I was too shy, or overwhelmed, or introverted to seek out a local group as I should have when we started wrapping, and by the time I felt more functional, I barely had a wrappee. Instead I watched Michelle's FWCC tutorial on You Tube on a continuous loop and perused TBW to improve my technique and learn the vast history of babywearing. But I know I missed something truly great; BWI groups are filled with mamas enthusiastic about wrapping and carrying, and that translates into a community spirit filled with love and support fueled by a shared passion.

In Tempe the strength of these bonds was magnified by the intensity of the conference and the intimacy of shared space.  And on Sunday in Atlanta I saw again how a group of women with similar interests, yet vastly different lives, can experience great joy together.  

BWI Atlanta could be my babywearing group.  

Bright sun, big city

Bright sun, big city

Anna and Sara

Anna and Sara

What?!

What?!

Together

Together

Muse

Muse

A Love Story: Klee

Where do we start with Klee? 

Klee has been with us from the very beginning. It was one of the first swatches we looked at and pondered when we visited The Oriole Mill for the first time after explaining to Bethanne what we were interesting in developing with Oriole for Pavo. I can remember rubbing the fabric between my fingers and interrupting Erin's conversation with Bethanne to remark on how unique the fiber felt. Erin, who is always patient when it comes to explaining the intracies of  fiber to me, stopped her conversation and took the sample from my hands and pondered it for a fair amount of time. Too heavy. Not the right type of rainbow. Too much time to develop. Too expensive.  And I knew she was right. Of course, we went on to release Parterre, but that's a whole different story.  I look back on that conversation and laugh now. She should have just said no. I had wasted the previous hour drooling over a wall of sparkly, glittery lurex threads and fibers and Erin explained to me why Lurex was not an option over and over again, we had vowed to stay with natural fibers no matter how sexy synthetic temptation can be.  In hindsight, I can laugh over this memory. At the time, I was devastated that glitter would not be a staple fiber in the Pavo library. Actually, I wasn't all that sad. We had already committed to natural fibers, but there's something about glittery sparkles that makes the 7 year old in me giddy with delight.  Maybe I will convince her yet.  

Bethanne Knudson, designer of Klee and owner of The Oriole Mill, shows off her creation for the Pavo gals.

Bethanne Knudson, designer of Klee and owner of The Oriole Mill, shows off her creation for the Pavo gals.

But back to the story: Klee fell to the cutting room floor, metaphorically speaking.  And it stayed there for quite some time. Over a year after we first saw the Klee sample, it resurfaced. Erin suggested that perhaps we should revisit it because, well, it had grown on her. This is classic Pavo: One of us falls in love with a sample and the other person is typically not excited about it. Then the dance begins. We go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth until we finally hit upon a consensus. And so it was with Klee. But then the samples arrived and we were both on the fence, but neither one of us wanted to give Klee the proverbial axe, so we sent the samples out to various testers with no expectations or desires. 

When the positive reviews came in, we were a bit taken aback. Klee was too thick, too dense, and yet people seemed to be so smitten with the girl.  Despite the positive response, it went back to the cutting room floor because ultimately it was too cost prohibitive to produce. And there it sat for a couple of months while Erin and I did the dance. Back and forth. Back and forth. Should we take the risk? Will it be too expensive? Will it be to thick? What if it's better than we think? Will we regret taking the risk?  It's such a familiar and comforting routine—I often think we do this because it just feels so fulfilling and perfect. It never gets old. 

Of course, you all well know the end of this story. We decided to run Klee. We both cringed at the cost of running it, we both have stayed up nights second guessing our decision to run Klee, we have texted furiously at 3 am reassuring each other this was the right thing to do. It is fitting that Klee will be our anniversary wrap. Everything about Klee represents Pavo; it's not just the aesthetics or the attention to fiber and weave structure, but the interplay between color and fiber captures the harmony and dialogue that are the foundation of Pavo. Klee is the Pavo Dance embodied. 


Form and Substance

Authentic, simple, elegant, luxurious.

These are the principles that inform the Pavo aesthetic. Working with several different mills and designers over the last year we have seen our concepts evolve and divide.  While all are true to the spirit of Pavo Textiles, we saw a need to introduce a new narrative; one that will live alongside our original artisanal line.

We wanted to offer wraps that would be playful and fun: the type of wrap you take to an afternoon at the beach or on a relaxed early evening walk to the park. We wanted these wraps to be the ones that your littles reached for first when making a wrap fort or for swinging in a hammock.  We wanted them to be reliable, lighthearted, classic, and effortless. A storyline to encourage spontaneity in your routine. 

The colours of love

The colours of love

With our carefully coloured stripes and fanciful hearts,  we have put together the beginning of a collection that will define our new line: Pavo Form. Woven with natural fibers, a brighter palette, and conversational motifs, the textiles in this collection have a more casual look and feel, with the same craftsmanship you have grown to expect from us.  Pavo Form is a relaxed and playful Pavo. It is the perfect exemplification of the form and substance that drive Pavo Textiles.  

And, as always, made in the United States.  

Pavo Form will complement Pavo Textile's artisanal line, the soon to be re-branded Pavo Guild, and will be making its debut near the end of August 2013

Stripes in Form

Stripes in Form

Inspired by Otomi

Inspired by Otomi

Natural Otomi samples

And Otomi Unicornio in work. Shhhhh . . .

And Otomi Unicornio in work. Shhhhh . . .

Penumbra Syzygy

A penumbra is a partial shadow. During an eclipse, the penumbra is the area between full shadow and full illumination. It is the in-between area where light and dark meet and shadows come out to play. The whimsical looping of black and white in Penumbra Shadow reminds us that nothing can ever truly be seen in black and white; there is always a little grey area in between.

Penumbra was born from one of Pavo Textile's first samples, Procresco.  Developed by our artisan mill, it is a playful energetic design woven from all local materials. It is considered fiber forward, a designation reserved for textiles sourced, woven, and finished in the United States.

After Shadow and Lunar we are channeling the '80s again with Penumbra and a hot pink fill we call Syzygy, we think it is really fun and happy.  Bright lights big city and all that (actually, that was really depressing). Everything aligned and Syzygy was born. 100% cotton 280g/m2. 

Cobalt 100% cotton

Our third round of samples arrived this week and we are both elated!  

These wraps are on a lighter-weight warp than Garden Nuptial and therefore are a bit less cumbersome to wrap with. The density is quite high though, making this 100% cotton wrap extremely supportive. 

The Cobalt colourway we are calling Co 27 for the atomic element, it is the silvery blue of long winter shadows on snow.  Cobalt blue was always one of six colours I had in my limited palette when I was studying painting, it has such purity and mixes very clean. Old Holland Cobalt Blue is packed with pigment, the tube is weighty in hand, like a stone from the seashore.  

I am a lonely painter, I live in a box of paints
— Joni Mitchell
As the sky and the snow and the morning shadows.

As the sky and the snow and the morning shadows.

co27.jpg


This is Co 27 after a hot wash and dry, we like to imagine worst case scenarios with our samples.

This is Co 27 after a hot wash and dry, we like to imagine worst case scenarios with our samples.

Quickly ironed after the washing embossing incident.

Quickly ironed after the washing embossing incident.

R&D

It is true the one of the best things about textiles is the diversity in woven fabrics, from sheer gauze to heavy brocade, and as our deeply knowledgeable mill owner was telling us, that even when all things are equal—same warp, same weft, same input on the loom, the humidity and temperature in the room can alter the piece of cloth.  Nothing is ever the same twice.  

Heavyweight testing

Heavyweight testing

Right now we are working with our mill to develop wraps that perform with the traits we most value, a certain drape, a range of usable weights, moldablity, strength, and ease of use.  It is one of the most difficult parts of the business, but it can also be the most fun.  

Here is an example of my camera shy five-year-old catching a ride in a recent prototype, for example.  From here we will give feedback to the mill and make minor changes until we feel it is ready for critique from a larger audience.   I hope you enjoy some insight into the process!

xo, Erin