For over 40 years Ehrman Tapestry has commissioned some of the world’s leading textile designers. These designers have revolutionised the traditional craft of needlework with new colours, patterns and ideas and they continue to set the pace. Their designs are simply the most exciting and stylish around.
The business began in 1978 and has remained a family affair. Starting as a craft store on London’s Fulham Road in Chelsea, Ehrman showcased the work of graduates from the Royal College of Art and Central St Martins in particular. One of that original group, the American Kaffe Fassett, suggested they produce needlepoint kits and 40 years later Kaffe remains one of Ehrman’s most important and prolific designers. Knitting kits, wallpapers and fabrics followed but needlepoint kits remained the core. Setting up their own business in America in 1996 the company decided to focus exclusively on this subject. Ehrman kits are now sold in countries around the world.
A Small Personal Affair
Ehrman is a small business which brings many advantages. Everyone connected with the product is invested in it and takes pride in what they do – photographers, graphic designers, canvas printers and wool dyers as well as those directly employed by the company. In smaller operations contributions feel valued and are valued. It becomes more of a team effort and a connection to the designer’s work develops at all levels.
Where Ehrman differ from other needlepoint companies is their use of contemporary design and the designers they commission. To find out more take a look at the designer section and their videos. No other company works in quite this way and it gives the Ehrman range an unrivalled depth and breadth of styles. Many come from different artistic backgrounds. Some were persuaded to try their hand at needlepoint and some suggested it themselves. They bring a different energy from a wider world and spark each other’s imagination. This flow of creativity is a heritage to be celebrated.
A Craft For Our Times
An Ehrman kit only uses one simple stitch. It is about the look not the technique and this accessibility is one of the strengths of the brand. There are different levels of complexity, but you don’t need to be an expert to stitch an Ehrman canvas. They are meant for relaxation to be worked at a pace to suit yourself, in front of the TV, in the garden, on holiday; and stitching one is a great way to forget the cares of the world and lose yourself for a moment in a beautiful world of colour. As Kaffe Fassett says: “Needlepoint is like a meditation. It’s both rhythmic and constructive and at the end of the day you have something lovely – a pillow for the couch or a hanging for the wall.” It comes as no surprise that in our busy lives younger people are discovering the soothing pleasure of this old pastime.
The wools in Ehrman Kits are 100% pure new wool. They are dyed in Yorkshire and Scotland to an exacting standard as 350 shades are involved, some very close. Then they are wound onto cones and stored in our Yorkshire warehouse. Each kit has its own yarn ‘recipe’ and the last stage is to chop the required number of lengths in each colour for packing into the kit.
The canvases are 100% cotton and are printed in England in the West Country. It is a manufacturing process requiring close attention to detail. Printing on canvas is difficult, unlike paper the canvas moves and the colour is only printed on the outer edge of each square. It is almost like printing on air and our printers are as much craftsmen as manufacturers.
All our kits carry a colour chart as an additional guide. Sometimes it can be difficult distinguishing between close colours so the chart can be used for cross reference. They are beautifully printed and give a good impression of the final piece.
The kits come complete with a printed canvas, a chart, a size 18 tapestry needle, an instruction booklet and all the wool. The wool is packed in ‘bundles’ which make it easier to identify the different shades.