Paisley and how new designs begin

Ever since I used the 'twisted tear drop' shape as a leaf shape in the 'flower' tie I have played with the idea of a paisley design. Recently I submitted a number of design concepts for a private commission and it seemed a perfect opportunity to play with the paisley idea. The twisted tear drop shape is the core of the paisley design and although I have always loved the shape of the motif I have felt rather ambivalent about most of the designs that I have seen it used in.

Originally of Iranian and Indian origin It remains a popular motif today and is widely used decoratively in a huge range of products. Eventually I realised that it was not these ancient patterns that I disliked but rather, to my mind, the rather dreary colours of the scottish textiles from the other side of the world. Apparently there is a town in West Scotland called Paisley that produced paisley designs at a centre for textiles. Having sorted that in my mind I felt freed up to look again

at that beautiful shape and to incorporate it into a new design.

So far I have not released a series of ties using the design but it is getting close. I have included some sneak peaks at the first samples so by all means let me know what you think. 


So far the response has been very positive so I am fairly confident that Aya Kawa will be releasing its first paisley design in the very near future. For sure there will be no muddy colour combinations!

One of the most important elements of designing a tie is the decision on the colours. The jacquard weaving process that we use at Aya Kawa results in a rich sumptuous fabric with some parts of the design in raised relief almost as though they are embroidered. The down side is that because the different coloured threads are carried through the whole weaving the fabric can become too stiff and dense if more than 3 or 4 different colours are used. There are also a limited number of warp threads available for using as a background colour and added to that, each thread colour influences the others. For example if you have decided on a white warp (background) and your design colours are pink and green the white will likely become pale green if that is dominant and the pinks will become more mushroom pink than clear pinks. Of course it is also important to look at how much of your design is in any one colour as that will influence the mix of colour as well. My son used to wonder why on earth I spent such an inordinate amount of time pondering the thread book. Now that he also works with fabrics he has changed his tune.

I try not to be influenced by changing fashion when it comes to design and colour combinations, as my view is that the creation of such a classic accessory as a tie, is much more akin to creating a work of art that will still look beautiful in 50 years time. The technical process of weaving, is a world away from the relatively instant production of a printed fabric but produces a depth of colour and texture that warrants the effort, time and expense involved. 


Lynn Elzinga-Henry
Lynn Elzinga-Henry


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