We ventured up to Nashua, NH on Saturday May 23rd to peruse an exhibit showcasing 30 years of Rowan’s history held at Westminster Fibers.
What a treat! Not only did we get to meet Ken and June Bridgewater and many other members of the team, we saw some of the original pieces from the Rowan collection as well as some of the new Fall fibers coming from Westminster this year.
A quick history:
Many of you may know the history of Rowan, but I didn’t know the details until recently so I thought I’d share. Rowan was founded by Stephen Sheard and business partner Simon Cockin. Originally known as Rowan Weavers, the team started producing yarns for rug making kits in the late 70′s – early 80′s, until they realized their stunning yarns (96 shades at the time) could also be used to create hand knit designs. Enter Kaffe Fasset where the trio met up at an event showcasing textile artists at Bretton Hall University.
The group produced a mail order kit from Woman & Home magazine — the Super Triangles Jacket designed by Kaffe was featured on the magazine’s front cover. Only anticipating sale of about 400 kits, expectations were blown away when 400 turned into 7000 kits sold. Rowan Weavers officially became Rowan Yarns.
Rowan then launched its first magazine in 1986, featuring designers Kaffe Fasset, Sasha Kagan, Annabel Fox, and Sandy Black.
Perhaps the most famous Rowan issue was Magazine 10 launched in 1990 and featured the now famous Kate Moss at the then age of 16 on the cover. I’m told this is a highly collectible issue fetching a pricey sum.
Almost 10 years ago (1998), Rowan launched its line of fabrics with the Rowan Quilting & Patchwork Book No. 1, now publishing it’s 10th book in the series. Last year Rowan released Magazine 44, which was a montage of classic and studio designs to celebrate the 30th anniversary. The traveling show we visited was a part of this 30 year celebration. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, showcasing more detail on our visit to the exhibit.
All text and information on the history of Rowan is courtesy of the materials distributed at the exhibit and were created by the Rowan team. Thanks to them for pulling it all together for us to see and for me to be able to share with you.