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Material World

A San Mateo company partners with talented textile-based artisans to create one-of-a-kind wares.


Fancied-Up with Fabrics
Pillows by Stephanie Seal Brown and objects reimagined by Llane Alexis will be available at Bolt Textiles’ upcoming benefit event.

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A closeup of lampshade frames that Alexis turned into side tables.

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Wrap Session
White linen braiding adds character to brass candlesticks rescued from a local Goodwill store.

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Llane Alexis has a knack for elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary. Working with cloth remnants, he spends hours braiding, coiling and handstitching. Bricks from the hardware store or rocks found anywhere from Joshua Tree to Japan are transformed into texture-rich functional art ($450 each)—a doorstop or a paperweight, perhaps. The native of Cuba, who has called San Francisco home for 16 years now, started his artistic career as a painter, but nearly a decade ago, he began working with scraps of fabrics; it was his way of combating the waste he observed in the fashion industry. With those scraps—and his laborious process—he gives new life to mundane or cast-off objects. “I get lost playing around with the fabrics and materials I’m working with,” he says. “I think of their origins and history. I combine them together, and it is like weaving a brand-new story.”

Lately, he has been working with fabrics from San Mateo-based Bolt Textiles. The company’s co-founders, Noël Walters and Mary Nelson, approached Alexis after reading about his work in a design magazine. The pair supplied the fabric from their sumptuous range, as well as the items for Alexis to revamp. His ingenuity is on full display in a pair of wire lampshade frames that he recast as side tables by swathing them in stitched plaits made with Helene, a cotton velvet, in a shade of gray. Brass candlesticks were updated with the Anna linen in white.

The limited-edition Bolt Textiles x Llane Alexis collection, which includes about a half-dozen pieces, will be available for purchase at a private benefit event that Walters and Nelson are hosting Sept. 30 at the Woven Design showroom in San Francisco. Although prices are still pending, proceeds will be donated to the charitable organization Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse. The fundraiser will also highlight Bolt’s latest collaboration with Stephanie Seal Brown, who specializes in handwoven linen tapes. Pillows composed of Bolt fabrics have been elegantly embellished with Brown’s trim ($275 to $425). “It’s very rewarding and exciting to see our textiles used by these artists,” says Walters of the project’s additional upside. “You feel good about being part of creating something that’s so unique.”

For event and invitation details, click here


Originally published in the September issue of Silicon Valley

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