We produce exclusive limited edition textiles; working with renowned contemporary artists
and artisanal makers to create timeless fabrics.
Our collection is comprised of a selection of limited edition by-the-meter fabrics suitable for home furnishing,
accessories and wearables, each complemented by a limited edition textile readymade piece.
Our relationship with the artists we work with is at the very heart of what we do. Prior to the establishment of Saison International, we each have over a decade of experience of working in the art world and so draw on this knowledge and our contacts to inform our collection and approach to working.
Each artist is selected for a quality in their work that we feel would translate well into fabric. It is important to us that our collaboration offers something truly unique, exemplified by the fact that these artists do not strictly work with textiles. It is also imperative that our fabrics are not simply reproductions of the artist’s work, which is why we work in close dialogue to create a unique new work for the collection.
Despite the relative underrepresentation of artist textiles within the art historical canon, artists have long adapted their work to the medium. From Anni Albers’ pioneering woven works to Sonia Delaunay and Henry Moore’s printed fabrics, textiles enabled these artists to bring their work more in touch with everyday life. Saison International draws on this history, as well as the Arts and Crafts movement and Bauhaus, Finnish design houses Artek and Marimekko and also interdisciplinary initiatives such as the Bloomsbury Group and Omega Workshops. Their shared ethos integrated art, design, craft and technology to produce groundbreaking conceptual designs and high quality consumer products for the home and everyday wear. To this end, our holistic approach respects the achievements of the past whilst aiming to create products with artistic significance today, that allow people to forge meaningful new relationships with the spaces in which they live.
We also believe that great art and design is made up of elements that tell a story about time and place, and as such Saison International’s own identity draws on the pictorial scenes of current and historical production sites, key European regions and natural landscapes historically associated with textile production, craftsmanship and international trade.
Our brand has been developed in response to the current context of cultural production, which is experiencing a rapid shift toward cross-pollination and interdisciplinary working, as artists, consumers and brands alike re-evaluate artistic terms in relation to broader cultural, political and economic conditions. In addition, consumers are taking more responsibility for their purchases and lifestyle choices; wishing to further understand product origins along the value chain and production methods and their ecological impacts on the environment. There is an intimacy to this relationship which sits quite naturally with the way in which artists work, making them well placed to push and challenge its boundaries.
Through our own creative practices we have been able to develop relationships with crafts people from various industries. Working locally and at small scale enables us to produce highly considered, bespoke products, sourcing local manufacturing and materials in both England and Belgium.
The launch collection is screen printed in Southeast England onto 100% cotton and 100% Belgian Linen, which is woven in one of the oldest mills in West Flanders, with the flax harvested from the surrounding fields.
Our cloth has been produced from field to fabric in our local region, where artisans have been working with flax for centuries. Their skills and expertise have been passed on from generation to generation. The Belgian region’s rich soil and mild North Sea climate, where sun and rain alternate, is ideal for growing a fibre that is known worldwide for its quality.
With the Belgian flax – used to weave our linen – grown and harvested from the fields surrounding the mill, and the company’s zero waste commitment and carbon neutral classification, the minimal ecological footprint of the production process means linen is one of the most sustainable fabrics available. Flax grows quickly and naturally, taking just one hundred days from sowing to harvest and it doesn’t need to be watered, fertilised or sprayed. Our supplier works with so called dew retting of the stems, a process whereby the fibres are extracted naturally, without adding water.
Our England based printing partner follows the strict requirements regarding the use of chemical and water treatment that apply across Europe. Pigment printing is widely accepted to be the most ecologically friendly and sustainable method of printing textiles. With regard to silk screen printing, pigments are preferable to dyes because the process requires significantly less water.
Our storage facility is based near our printing partner, which minimises the carbon footprint of transporting our products.
Our readymade pieces are produced in close collaboration with makers within Europe who are all working at the cutting edge of sustainable design, sourcing local materials in keeping with the heritage of their locality.
Designed in house by co-founder Sam Watson, our printed matter is produced using recycled paper with content designed to maintain long lasting relevance and minimise unnecessary waste.
Our brand is built around the spirit of collaboration and a critical approach to the rich cultural value of our product. We want to bring people’s attention to the relatively untapped history of artists and textiles, which we do through a cultural programme of special public events, exclusive published articles, essays and interviews from leading artists, writers and scholars exploring the social and cultural relevance of our products and the work of the artists in the collection. Keep an eye on our upcoming Journal and Events pages to keep up to date on our activities, published texts and interviews. Alternatively, feel free to sign up to our Newsletter to receive updates, including upcoming artist collaborations and special offers.
Saison International was established by Eleanor Wright and Sam Watson. Now based between Antwerp and London, we first met in Northumberland, UK in 2012 and have since spent our time living and working in Finland, Greece, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium.
The ability to travel and work within different environments, to understand cultures from the forms of buildings and cities, and the vocabulary of design, art and food has led us to consider these elements as key to articulating the connecting tissue between different societies. We see design, art, architecture and the built environment as a means to articulate between differing scales and timespans, through which chronology is usurped by a timeless way of being.
Having spent a lot of time living and working in Helsinki in particular, we were able to familiarise ourselves with the buildings and interiors of pioneering modernist architect and designer Alvar Aalto, as well as his design house Artek. It was the simple notion upheld by Aalto that our surroundings are inseparable from us, and Artek’s limited selection of timeless textiles, together with our own practices and careers in the contemporary art world that enabled our idea for artist textiles to take form. The prospect of being able to take home and live with a piece of art in the flexible form of a few metres of textiles was truly inspiring for us.
So, after several years of careful development building on these legacies, and with a fresh perspective defined by our times, we look forward to sharing our vision for artist textiles with as wide an audience as possible.
“When the objects we use everyday and the surroundings we live in have become in themselves a work of art,
then we shall be able to say we have achieved a balanced life.”
— Bruno Munari