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

Memories

Do you remember when you joined TBW? I do. I had been wearing my babies for a couple of years and had no idea that anyone else did something so incredibly "crazy." I had recently joined BBC (may I admit that?) and was delighted to find a whole board dedicated to various types of babywearing. It was there that I learned about thebabywearer.com. 

I headed on over and was intimidated at first. There were so many women there with vast amounts of knowledge. It was inspiring and amazing and I felt like I had finally found my tribe. I learned so much by cruising the forums and along the way, I made some amazing and wonderful friends. 

Until—gradually, then suddenly—babywearing moved to Facebook. And while that was great because it meant that babywearing could reach a wider audience, it also meant that all that knowledge that was there, hiding in the divided groups like a delicious secret treasure, was left unfound and lost to a new generation of baby wearers. 

Now TBW is back and better than ever. We are both so excited to see the new and improved TBW and are humbled and grateful to have had a small part in its relaunch. 

Cheers, TBW. 

Unicornio Pavo Real

Unicornio Pavo Real

Please consider playing a part in keeping thebabywearer.com alive by bidding generously on the wonderful Unicornio Pavo Real on TBW's fundraiser page.  All proceeds from the auctions go directly to TBW.   Good luck and happy wrapping!  

New—again!

Still in its infancy as businesses go, Pavo has followed a serpentine path toward our initial goals. We plan our color stories for each season at least six months in advance, we are working on Winter '15 as Spring '14 comes off the looms.  As much as we plot and plan for design and disaster both, we always come across  the unexpected.  We planted our bulbs for spring last autumn and are now seeing how they bloom from the garden, we are pleased with how our new wraps look together. We keep Guild and Form separate, but we do enjoy how they talk to each other each season, a nod to the sun, aquamarine, and the green growth of spring.  

Harmony Parakeet

Harmony Parakeet

Spring Form

Spring Form

Unicornio Pavo Real

Unicornio Pavo Real

Unicornio Vireo

Unicornio Vireo

Unicornio Heron

Unicornio Heron

Hanakotoba with Unicornio

Hanakotoba with Unicornio

Friends

Friends

The new Form wraps are a departure from Gotham and P2 in hand feel, they are soft and slinky, floofy and cozy, when compared with the tough strong Gotham. They wrap in the same mighty fashion, with our signature bias stretch and fine quality.  We cannot wait to see you snuggling your babies this spring and summer!  

Springtinis

Springtinis

Between the Sheets: Didion and Gotham

Perhaps one of the greatest joys in life is when you discover that a friend is as a voracious lover of books as you are. I was delighted when, early in our friendship, I discovered that Erin and I had many of the same books on our respective bedside tables. While our discussions of our most recent reads has taken a backseat in the past few months, our reading choices still occasionally influence the choices we make for Pavo, whether it be color choice, design ideas or when we decide to release a specific wrap or color way.  And so it was with Gotham Brick today.

We are headed into a week of unseasonably hot weather at Pavo West and along with the heat comes the brutal and powerful Santa Ana winds. Our house is at the base of the mountains and we are relatively sheltered from the winds, so when a wind advisory popped up on my notifications, I dismissed it. As i was perusing the stack of books on my bedside table before bed, I decided to dig through the bookshelves for Joan Didion. My copies of her works are dusty, old, and dingy with coffee rings on the covers and notes scribbled in the back. They are old friends and I was glad to curl up with them. As I read, I was once again enchanted with how Didion crafts language and imagery. Her short essay on the Santa Ana winds, an apropos read given the high wind warnings in effect, captures the restlessness and beauty that defines the Southern California landscape: 

"The Santa Ana"

Joan Didion

Excerpt from Slouching towards Bethlehem

There is something uneasy in the Los Angeles air this afternoon, some unnatural stillness, some tension.  What it means is that tonight a Santa Ana will begin to blow, a hot wind from the northeast whining down through the Cajon and San Gorgonio Passes, blowing up sand storms out along Route 66, drying the hills and the nerves to flash point.  For a few days now we will see smoke back in the canyons, and hear sirens in the night.  I have neither heard nor read that a Santa Ana is due, but I know it, and almost everyone I have seen today knows it too.  We know it because we feel it.  The baby frets.  The maid sulks.  I rekindle a waning argument with the telephone company, then cut my losses and lie down, given over to whatever it is in the air.  To live with the Santa Ana is to accept, consciously or unconsciously, a deeply mechanistic view of human behavior.

I recall being told, when I first moved to Los Angeles and was living on an isolated beach, that the Indians would throw themselves into the sea when the bad wind blew.  I could see why.  The Pacific turned ominously glossy during a Santa Ana period, and one woke in the night troubled not only by the peacocks screaming in the olive trees but by the eerie absence of surf.  The heat was surreal.  The sky had a yellow cast, the kind of light sometimes called “earthquake weather.”  My only neighbor would not come out of her house for days, and there were no lights at night, and her husband roamed the place with a machete.  One day he would tell me that he had heard a trespasser, the next a rattlesnake.

"On nights like that," Raymond Chandler once wrote about the Santa Ana, "every booze party ends in a fight.  Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks.  Anything can happen."  That was the kind of wind it was.  I did not know then that there was any basis for the effect it had on all of us, but it turns out to be another of those cases in which science bears out folk wisdom.  The Santa Ana, which is named for one of the canyons it rushers through, is foehn wind, like the foehn of Austria and Switzerland and the hamsin of Israel.  There are a number of persistent malevolent winds, perhaps the best know of which are the mistral of France and the Mediterranean sirocco, but a foehn wind has distinct characteristics:  it occurs on the leeward slope of a mountain range and, although the air begins as a cold mass, it is warmed as it comes down the mountain and appears finally as a hot dry wind.  Whenever and wherever foehn blows, doctors hear about headaches and nausea and allergies, about "nervousness," about "depression."  In Los Angeles some teachers do not attempt to conduct formal classes during a Santa Ana, because the children become unmanageable.  In Switzerland the suicide rate goes up during the foehn, and in the courts of some Swiss cantons the wind is considered a mitigating circumstance for crime.  Surgeons are said to watch the wind, because blood does not clot normally during a foehn.  A few years ago an Israeli physicist discovered that not only during such winds, but for the ten or twelve hours which precede them, the air carries an unusually high ratio of positive to negative ions.  No one seems to know exactly why that should be; some talk about friction and others suggest solar disturbances.  In any case the positive ions are there, and what an excess of positive ions does, in the simplest terms, is make people unhappy.  One cannot get much more mechanistic than that.

Easterners commonly complain that there is no “weather” at all in Southern California, that the days and the seasons slip by relentlessly, numbingly bland.  That is quite misleading.  In fact the climate is characterized by infrequent but violent extremes:  two periods of torrential subtropical rains which continue for weeks and wash out the hills and send subdivisions sliding toward the sea; about twenty scattered days a year of the Santa Ana, which, with its incendiary dryness, invariably means fire.  At the first prediction of a Santa Ana, the Forest Service flies men and equipment from northern California into the southern forests, and the Los Angeles Fire Department cancels its ordinary non-firefighting routines.  The Santa Ana caused Malibu to burn as it did in 1956, and Bel Air in 1961, and Santa Barbara in 1964.  In the winter of 1966-67 eleven men were killed fighting a Santa Ana fire that spread through the San Gabriel Mountains.

Just to watch the front-page news out of Los Angeles during a Santa Ana is to get very close to what it is about the place.  The longest single Santa Ana period in recent years was in 1957, and it lasted not the usual three or four days but fourteen days, from November 21 until December 4.  On the first day 25,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains were burning, with gusts reaching 100 miles an hour.  In town, the wind reached Force 12, or hurricane force, on the Beaufort Scale; oil derricks were toppled and people ordered off the downtown streets to avoid injury from flying objects.  On November 22 the fire in the San Gabriels was out of control.  On November 24 six people were killed in automobile accidents, and by the end of the week the Los Angeles Times was keeping a box score of traffic deaths.  On November 26 a prominent Pasadena attorney, depressed about money, shot and killed his wife, their two sons and himself.  On November 27 a South Gate divorcée, twenty-two, was murdered and thrown from a moving car.  On November 30 the San Gabriel fire was still out of control, and the wind in town was blowing eighty miles an hour.  On the first day of December four people died violently, and on the third the wind began to break.

It is hard for people who have not lived in Los Angeles to realize how radically the Santa Ana figures in the local imagination.  The city burning is Los Angeles’s deepest image of itself.  Nathaniel West perceived that, in The Day of the Locust, and at the time of the 1965 Watts riots what struck the imagination most indelibly were the fires.  For days one could drive the Harbor Freeway and see the city on fire, just as we had always known it would be in the end.  Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse, and, just as the reliably long and bitter winters of New England determine the way life is lived there, so the violence and the unpredictability of the Santa Ana affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability.  The winds shows us how close to the edge we are.

I fell asleep with those images dancing in my head. Imagine my surprise when I was woken up at 3 am with trees frantically beating against our windows, desperate to be let inside and protected from the wind mercilessly tossing them around in violent fits and rages. Our two outdoor cats were yowling at our door uneasy and frightened, our wind chimes had given up hope and clashed hideously against each other and the electric line that runs across the backyard bobbed around  as if controlled by some cruel puppet master. I sat up in bed and peeked out the window. The Easter pinwheels the boys and I had so carefully crafted were spinning wildly, like miniature dayglo whirling dervishes worshipping across the dais that is our raised garden beds. The winds had arrived, much to my surprise. And with their arrival came that old feeling of restlessness. The boys felt it too. Instead of hunkering down in the covers like they normally they do, they raced outside to try and capture the wind as it howled through our backyard. They chattered excitedly in the back seat on the way to school, awed by the sheer force and unpredictably of Nature. 

And so I find myself in the offices of Pavo West with the trees battering the sides of the house with a regular tattoo and bone dry leaves skittering down the hills. I feel restless, excited, and in awe all at once.  My playground is now a desk surrounded by wraps and paperwork. What better way to work out the restlessness than to do a release? And so, despite Erin's carefully crafted release schedule, we decided to release Gotham Brick. The dark, broody red threads succinctly capture the edginess the Santa Anas bring to Southern California. 

It is calm now, as it always in the afternoon, but when the sun starts to sink below the horizon, the winds will pick up.  We will be here, packaging wraps as the the orange and persimmon trees sway and bend caught up in a never-ending dance with a cruel master. We will create our own little sanctuary of order and peace despite the wildness and restlessness outside. 

 

 

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. 


lather, rinse, repeat

We have a few samples of Unicornio here in different constructions, we have decided on what best works for its weight bearing capacity and aesthetic, but let's rewind to the beginning. . .

Unicornio was born from our mutual love of Mexican culture and iconographic significance.  We took the Otomi concept as a jumping off point and infused the pattern with our own special animals and quirky florals. With the introduction of the unicorn and the peacock we have created a design that is the essence of Form: playful, ironic, and reverent.  

Unicornio weave-down sample

Unicornio weave-down sample

Within the repeat of Unicornio we have included symmetry and a hint of a diamond shape through the connection of the animals.  Working on repeats is one of my favorite parts of development, I get completely absorbed and look up to see hours have passed as I struggle with spacing and scale or trying to force a motif into an impossible space when the right thing to do is just start over.  In the words of Dennis Congdon, my most influential painting professor, "Don't save it scrap it", so I do, and do again, even with a deadline, even when it is good enough, because good enough is not perfect.

Unicorn repeat stepped out to look for alleys and tracking

Unicorn repeat stepped out to look for alleys and tracking

Working for Pavo with J$ has pushed me beyond the task of creating work for other brands, it has taught me to believe in myself, and to not depend on others' criticism or praise for direction.  Pavo is the most difficult thing I have ever done aside from raising children, and as with children, it has shown me that the best is always yet to come.

Strawberry Fields in work

Strawberry Fields in work

Heart of Gold

Every 15 minutes a child is born with a congenital heart defect. Despite the fact that CHDs are the most common birth defect, affecting nearly 1 out of every 100 newborns, research remains underfunded. In honor of American Heart Month and to raise awareness and funding for CHD research, Pavo will be donating all profit from the sale of Hearts in February to the Children's Heart Foundation.

Unicornio Otomi

Winter has just begun, but we are busy with spring and summer here in the studio.

Bright colors, playful motifs, and a dash of sunshine!

We are excited to present our new website which will be exclusively Pavo Form and will debut with the launch of Unicornio, our personalized Otomi inspired pattern, in March

Gotham

We first saw the as yet unnamed Gotham on our mill visit in October, it was peeking out from the archive, tempting us with its bold geometry and retro feel.  

We were at the mill to examine a series of development projects we had in work for several months.  Before we came knocking, this mill had not heard of baby wraps as an end use for body cloth; we worked many long and intense hours with our earnest and attentive representative (we love him) to construct samples that met our high standards for support, safety, comfort, and quality. We had begun with patterns created by the talented team of in-house designers in order to have a solid starting point of a mill-ready pattern while changing construction and investigating the limitless variables which are so very important to wrapping. This was also an essential part of developing a strong relationship with our new team; we share a mutual respect. We took what we learned from the process to further our own vision and we are so grateful to have the support of the designers as we create stories for Pavo Form together. Through trial and error we discovered several constructions suitable for wrapping and we continue to push boundaries with research and development. 

Oh, but Gotham!  Yes, it caught our eye and drew the meeting to a halt. We are so happy after three months of painstaking redesign to have Gotham as part of our Wanderlust collection in Form.  It is the city at night. It is architecture and art. It is industry and growth. It is Pavo.

In work: analyzing motif placement on wrap.

In work: analyzing motif placement on wrap.

Sparkleberry Seven draw

Seven Sparkleberries in seven days—the draw begins today on Facebook!

Sparkleberry Celebration

The release of Sparkleberry marks the anniversary of one of the first wraps we considered a possibility among our many trials and errors, Garden Nuptial. It was thick, luxurious, and cozy, but ultimately prohibitively expensive and too much of a departure from the norm for a debut release (of course, we choose to launch with something even weirder—Parterre, but anyway) . . .  

Jennifer has been using our Garden Nuptial sample almost everyday for a year, she even brought it with her on our retreat last month to snuggle with in front of the fire and it has softened to the most irresistible  piece of cloth imaginable.  It is still thick of course, but it is no longer so heavy and unwieldily. It is cushy, supportive, unique, and has maintained its sheen through a year of washing, wearing, and unnecessary roughness.

Based on several other reviews of Garden Nuptial we decided we should offer a very small selection of similarly constructed wraps under Pavo Guild.  Sparkleberry will only appeal to a limited number of babywearers and the price is still high, requiring us to limit the run accordingly. 

We will follow the release with a draw for a full set of Sparkleberries on our Facebook page in order to continue the fun!

As always with Guild, these wraps would not be possible without the genius of Bethanne Knudson and the entire crew at The Oriole Mill and Sew Co.  Our unending thanks!  

 

San Diego stripes

We are happy to finally have our summery stripes ready to go!  We named them San Diego as a nod to our West Coast roots and for the wonderful mamas in the San Diego area babywearing community. 

You will find Form by Pavo very different for our original Guild line, we use short staple cotton that is more affordable and as a result the hand is much drier and has an earthy organic feeling.  We are loving these wraps on the beach, at the park, and just out and about. You can leave one in the car, keep one in the diaper bag, and lend them to your friends! 

What people are saying about San Diego

 

. . . I was pleasantly surprised by this medium weight wrap. In hand it is like your favorite tshirt—the cotton welcomes a floppy, casual, and cuddly alternative post wash.
The casual nature of the Form line will prove to be a stash staple. Whether it be daily errands, a day at the beach, or a trip to the park, you will need one of these beauties by your side!
Stripes will be fabulous everyday beach, backyard, bumming around, toss in your day bag, workhorse wraps.
This wrap is a great deal more casual than the Pavo Guild wraps, in both look and fiber, and won’t fulfill the lust for the luxury of Guild, if that’s what you’re after. They’re really two different animals but both nice in their own ways. The cotton is unmercerized which add to the casual look and more flannely feel. I bet these wraps will get snuggly soft over time!
Christina stripes - 24.jpg
Form stripes twin - 34.jpg

Etini Magnolia

Our first official Pavo Guild with The Oriole Mill wrap Etini Magnolia is available now on our site. 

The detailed, intimate floral design that is Etini evokes the lush tropical florals found in the post-Impressioninst work of Gauguin. Although influenced by the Impressionist's use of negative space and the interplay of light, Gauguin stretched Impressionism beyond its boundaries, engaging the viewer to reconsider how line and colour came together to create space and form. Etini is nature re-imagined. It is the raw beauty of Gauguin's tropics brought to life through the intricacies of weaving. 

We hope you like it! 

 

Birds of a Feather

When we sat down to formulate our business plan for Pavo Textiles, one of our initial goals was to locate a reliable mill in the United States working with natural fibers and a transparent manufacturing process. If we did not find the right mill for our venture Pavo would remain an intangible concept.  File under: Dreams

Our intent was to find a mill in the United States, but we cast our net wide, looking at mills from all over the world in order to compare price, skill, sourcing, and technique.  The more time we invested in our search, the more it became clear to us that we absolutely needed to find a mill domestically. The number of textile mills in the United States had been quickly dwindling and when those mills closed, decades of knowledge and expertise were quietly being lost to the dust of history.  From 1997 to 2010, over 1200 textiles mills closed, with most weaving equipment in those mills being shipped overseas to be used in mills producing cheap textiles, destined for import to the United States. Between 2004 and 2009, almost forty percent of the jobs in the textile industry were lost with such jobs being outsourced to cheaper labor in countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, and China.

We were firm in our conviction to produce American-made textiles and we renewed our search with gusto.  Our initial efforts were disappointing; there were a limited number of mills who could produce to the quality and specifications we required and those that were able to do so were decidedly wary of working with an unknown entity, which is what Pavo was at the time.

In our search one mill we heard about over and over again was The Oriole Mill; they came highly recommended by our contacts in the industry, and were spoken of with a hushed, reverent awe.

The Oriole Mill was founded in 2006 by Stephan Michelson and Bethanne Knudson as the textile industry in the United States was quickly transitioning production to cheaper overseas facilities and leaving laid-off workers and deserted towns in its wake. While other mills were closing their doors, Oriole was setting up shop.  To say that this was a bold, risky, daring move is most certainly an understatement.  In the face of a flagging industry focused on cheap disposable goods The Oriole Mill is deeply committed to weaving high quality textiles made with the finest natural fibers and have made a reputation for being innovative, independent, and luxurious.  Their ideology embodied everything we wanted to be able to say and do with our textiles.  Oriole seemed like a natural fit for Pavo since we shared many of the same convictions:  the desire to create heirloom quality products, fair wages, the use of natural fiber, superior design, unsurpassed technical skill, and a deep and abiding commitment to high quality American made products.  We wanted in.  

For us, it was a match made in heaven. So we called. We emailed. We called again. It took months before anyone at The Oriole Mill would even talk to us. In hindsight, it is not surprising; they are a small artisan mill with exclusive clientele and they offer a unique service no longer found in the States and we were a buzzing fly with an unknown end product.

 

Penumbra Matelassé baby blanket

In a textile industry that’s ninety percent gone, what’s the other ten percent doing? There’s not a lot of quality goods being made. The other part of that ten percent is the high-quality industry. That’s where we come in.
— Stephan Michelson

By the time we met Bethanne and Stephan they had taken on rock-star status, but were even more impressive in person.  Bethanne is a passionate artist and educator. She has the energy of a lightening bolt in both body and mind. She is a masterful technician and designs the cloth from the fiber to the loom, taking into consideration the innate structure of the fabric and what it can support.  Bethanne reminds us of Michelangelo, who was able to see the form of the figure within the stone before the first cut.

Our relationship began with reworking Oriole's English Sonnet design to suit the desired (and required) characteristics of a woven wrap, and, at Bethanne's suggestion, developing Penumbra as a parallel release to create the beginnings of two distinct  collections for Pavo Textiles: En Plein Air and Effets de Soir.  

After ten months of working with The Oriole Mill we are thrilled to announce our exclusive partnership and co-branding under the label 

Pavo Guild

named for our mutual desire to thrive while producing luscious textiles in a constantly shifting market and to also capture the synchronicity of the birds in both our brand names.  The Oriole Mill produces home furnishings that complement Pavo Textiles’s collections, and Pavo Textiles will work with The Oriole Mill to extend our product line and continue our commitment to producing strong, safe, beautiful woven baby wraps.  We plan to innovate and overlap as much as possible, incorporating our collective designs with the traits appropriate to woven wraps to bring you the finest textiles made in the United States.  

Pavo Guild will distinguish itself from Pavo Form in that it will be made from the finest most luxurious fiber on the market, and will be woven exclusively under the partnership of The Oriole Mill.   

In addition to The Oriole Mill we are also deeply indebted to Libby O'Bryan of the adjacent Sew Co, who is responsible for our fine finishing and the development of our final product. She spent hours of her life aligning the border of Parterre, and adjusted our raw size chart to allow for little to no waste in the cutting room.  She asked all the right questions and had all the right answers as we fumbled through the explanation and demonstration of our woven wraps.  The combined forces of The Oriole Mill and Sew Co listened intently as we explained our product—its need to be weight bearing, what safety standards it must pass, how it should feel to parent and baby—and they are continuing to listen and innovate as we grow in our relationship. 

The most sustainable is that which need not be replaced.
— Bethanne Knudson

Pavo Textiles is incredibly lucky and infinitely grateful to be working with both The Oriole Mill and Sew Co. as we begin our exclusive collaboration into woven wraps and beyond.