Meet the Maker: Coarse Cloth

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First-time Flea vendor Coarse Cloth, a Boulder-based company that creates individually felted, super-soft merino wool handbags, natural fiber bags and natural fiber jewelry, will be making their debut at the Holiday Market. Started by owner Joan Doll in 2015, Coarse Cloth sources materials, designs, and manufactures all of their pieces here in Colorado, and aim to use products that contain no toxins that are also manufactured with negative impact on the environment. So, just in time for the holidays, find the perfect gift - or, simply treat yourself to a bag that is not only stylish, but also consciously and locally made.


what does your brand mean to you?

The Coarse Cloth Ltd motto is: Artisan Quality from fiber to fabric to finish. Coarse Cloth Ltd starts with the highest quality fibers and makes the felted fabric that becomes a handbag. That means the making of every product is completely within our hands.

first product you created? 

My first products as a fine artist were multimedia paintings that I sold at juried shows in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. How HAS your BRAND evolved?

how has your process evolved?

My background and education are in the fine arts and textile design. I was an apparel print designer for Anthropologie and a jacquard designer for residential and contract fabrics for Craftex Mills, both in Pennsylvania.

My success in the fine arts include paintings chosen for notable corporate collections. Later I graduated from Philadelphia University (College of Textiles) at the top of my textile class receiving awards from the University and industry before graduating.

During my time with Craftex Mills as a jacquard designer, I was fortunate to have designed for their tapestry looms, creating fabrics of great complexity and depth. Designers at Craftex Mills conducted seasonal trend research culminating in collaborative concept meetings including colorway selections. Our fabrics were highly regarded in the industry because of their art and craftsmanship.

As a print designer for Anthropologie I worked in their women’s apparel division. I developed print designs from artwork I created and also reworked archival designs into repeats for their printed fabrics.

I continue to make art using acrylics, watercolors and mixed media collage that bring uniqueness to my textile designs. I also use the Adobe Design Suite to enhance my designs digitally. Coarse Cloth Ltd is a way for me to combine my art, textile design and clean, locally sourced materials into wearable art.

what’s your favorite product you’ve created

Because the handbags are customizable, it’s not that hard to make any one of them a favorite. The handbags are available with custom strap materials and lengths, lining colors, top zippers or hidden magnetic closures, in vegetarian versions or carefully sourced, toxin- free leather. There are many different silhouettes and color combinations. As a person who prefers a more compact bag, I would probably pick the Scout handbag for myself.

What materials do you work with?

We source our luxuriously soft, merino wool yarn from the renowned Italian mill Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgosesia. It is loosely knitted into shapes using only antique, manual knitting machines. Edges are hand-crocheted to produce a seamless body when felted. Felting creates a stable, soft and thick fabric. Linings are made from GOTS-certified, organic fabric. Our merino wool felt is very soft, strong, durable and more forgiving than leather. Wool resists wear, repels moisture, is naturally flame-retardant and can be easily brushed clean.

Leather straps and trim are vegetable-tanned, English bridle leather from Wickett and Craig of America, one of the few remaining U.S. tanneries still working exclusively with this non- toxic method using only American hides. In 2015 they received the Tannery of the Year award and were featured in an article from World Leather, August/September 2015 detailing their operation and business.

Handwoven straps are made from cotton, hemp and wool using traditional tablet weaving techniques. Each strap is a work of art. Many designs and colorations are unique to Coarse Cloth Ltd. Bespoke straps are colored according to customer needs.

Custom, brushed-nickel D-rings and screw-back hardware are lacquered for durability. Zippers are metal, YKK, US-made. The natural materials used by Coarse Cloth Ltd result in a unique, plush and rich appearance.

Coarse Cloth handbags are renewable and toxin-free for your health and the health of the environment.

WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR STARTING YOUR BRAND?

My inspiration for starting Coarse Cloth Ltd stems from my interest in textile art, clean production, and future plans that include community. I envision eventually having a physical location that will accommodate many aspects of textile production: a variety of looms for weaving, knitting machines and printmaking apparatus. Textiles are such an important part of our lives and yet most of us don’t know much about them or how they are made.

ADVICE TO OTHER SEEKING A SIMILAR PATH IN LIFE?

I think we could change the world for the better if we all lived by our craft. Instead of working for someone else, we would ideally work for ourselves, fully engaged and loving every moment. The community aspect of being a creator means connecting through our work and being supportive to each other as we grow. Choose to be a maker.

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QUICK FACT #1

Although the word “coarse” can mean rough, in this case it means something different. The company name Coarse Cloth Ltd refers to the fact that natural fibers are naturally coarser in size than commercially produced microfibers, yet natural fibers are not necessarily less soft. The natural fibers used in our products are extremely soft and, importantly, toxin free.

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QUICK FACT #2

While a textile student, I concentrated on weaving and print design. I had little interest in knitting although that was part of the curriculum. Knitting on antique manual machines is the foundation of Coarse Cloth Ltd.

Follow COARSE CLOTH:

 
 

on the denver flea wish list: 

The Compass Handbag in Garnet/Onyx (a very seasonal color that we love)!

 

 
Being a part of the positive changes happening within Colorado make it an great place for small businesses like mine.
— JOAN DOLL