I would always have thought that a field of nettles was an abandoned field, but apparently they are grown commercially. Fabric company Camira, which was exhibiting at Clerkenwell Design Week, is using them in its furnishing fabrics.
Fibres from the nettles are mixed with wool, and have natural fire-retardant and anti-microbial properties. Take up of dyes is at a different concentration from the wool, creating an attractive speckled finish. And I was relieved to learn that harvesting and gathering of fibres is all done mechanically – no stings!
Luke Hughes, maker of beautifully crafted timber furniture, has been shortlisted for a Walpole Award, given to luxury brands.
Also shortlisted is Timorous Beasties, best know for its witty disrespectful Toile de Jouy wallpapers. The two companies worked together on the supreme court building. Good luck Luke Hughes.