Where does the Firespiral love of cotton come from?
When we first started out, Tamsin and I sat at my kitchen table one Sunday morning (with good coffee and danish pastries to make us feel more professional) and we made a list of the things that were close to our hearts that we wanted our business to champion. Near the top of that list was to make really great 100% cotton wraps. This was at a time when the popular move was towards ever more complicated and exotic fibre blends, but we felt that cotton was massively underrated and had so much more to give to wrappers that it was given credit for. It was with cotton in mind that we developed our looser, Alchemy weave, which many other companies have since adopted and we take to be a big thumbs up for how well it wraps!
Bolton is a cotton town. From around 1100AD it had a reputation for spinning yarn and weaving cloth and gradually it grew to specialise in cotton as our year round damp climate was ideal for processing the fibre. That is a pretty impressive history, and reminds us just how ancient a skill cloth making is. At one point the cotton industry was the main source of work for the local residents- working from homes at first and then mills as the industrial revolution took hold.
There are two things that I find fascinating because they involve me at a personal level. The first is that as far back as we can trace our family records, my ancestors were working with cotton and living within the same few streets in Bolton. They were self employed home weavers, doublers, spindle & fly makers, ring spinners, with the trail ending at my Grandma whose working life was spent as a needle setter, fixing thousands of tiny metal needles in place ready to comb the cotton. For me to be part of the resurgence of the industry, to visit the places that they worked and continue their legacy is pretty humbling.
The other thing that I always knew but failed to appreciate, was that our village is a ‘company village’. Although there are recorded settlements here as far back as the bronze age, the village as I know it today was built by the local mill for its workers. That was pretty commonplace in itself, but Egerton had a reputation for being radically enlightened and caring to its worker/villagers in stark contrast to the squalid and harsh conditions elsewhere. We’re going to write more about this because it deserves a blog post in its own right. We’ve tried to pick up this baton of doing business in a conscientious, equitable way and apply those progressive principles to the modern day workplace.
So you can see how we are pretty enthusiastic about cotton here! It feels like something we have a responsibility towards.
We want to chat more to you about the popular myths that surround cotton wraps and a give you more insight into what makes our own cotton wraps great to use, but those are both topics for another day- we know how hard it can be to find chances to sit and read, and our time is probably up!!
The wrap pictured is Nebra Octarine Starmap, 100% combed cotton, alchemy weave and available in our web shop from 6pm on Sunday 16th October.