Through intentional, ethical craft, Daughter Handwovens weaves new value into an old art.
Like most creative endeavors, Daughter Handwovens sprouted from mere curiosity. For owner Alex Forby, it sparked from the scraps of material her college roommate, a fibers major, brought home during their time at the Savannah College of Art & Design.
“I always really loved fibers in general,” says Forby. “I was knitting and crocheting and all of that stuff early on.”
Forby, a paint major, remained in Savannah after college and took a desk job. Though burnt out from painting, the itch to create never left, and she scratched it by buying a tabletop loom. After teaching herself to weave washcloths and hand towels (simple rectangular shapes, as Forby points out), she found a market for her crafted wares, and Daughter Handwovens was born in 2015.
It’s clear that for Forby, the process is what makes the product. Intentionality is woven into each step, from where and how the materials are sourced (everything is one hundred percent natural and chemical-free), to how they are made (small-batch goods require much less water than manufactured ones).
Old and New Come Together at Daughter Handwovens
“I really want my materials to honor the process,” says Forby. “But I also want to make sure the materials I’m using have their own story and purpose.”
Knowing that the product you’ve purchased will grow softer with age and, eventually, enter easily back into the earth is certainly a draw for the Daughter Handwovens clientele. Copper-toned towels, red-clay throws (Forby admits a tendency towards an earthy palette), scarves, pillows, shirts, and more come alive on two looms—an antique Union 46 and an 8-shaft—that operate from her basement studio in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. But it’s not just well-crafted utilitarian products catching consumers’ eyes. Daughter Handwovens also offers a line of DIY kits and tutorials—items like bracelets and coasters that are perfect for beginner weavers.
“I do a lot to try and educate people about weaving,” Forby says. “I’ve had several interns and apprentices over the years. I’m constantly trying to share weaving as a passion and an art, because it isn’t something you see a whole lot of anymore.”
For Forby, the art of craft has immense value, and Daughter Handwovens is a convenient conduit to help bring a new definition to the concept of women’s work and homecrafts, skills that culturally can seem “less than.” It’s a passion that ties into her business’ name and is fueled by her faith.
“Every woman is a daughter. It’s the one thing we all for sure have in common. We may not all be sisters, we may not all be wives, we’re not all mothers, but we’re all daughters. Not just of our earthly moms, but of God,” Forby says. “We have value in our work, whatever we end up doing . . . I think that’s a really beautiful thread we all get to share in.”
See more at daughterhandwovens.com
Photography by Jordan Petteys.