28th July 2023
After writing about the idea of legacy in ASU #387, we came across Mourne Textiles whose rich history with loom and thread has passed from generation to generation since its founding in 1949. Established by textile pioneer, Gerd Hay-Edie, Mourne Textiles is now a third-generation family run business in the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland.
Currently managed by her grandson, Mario Sierra, the company is continuing to produce hand-woven textiles from the same workshop established by his grandmother over seventy years ago.
Mourne Textiles has been a part of Mario’s life for as long as he can remember, with the workshop being his playground whilst growing up. He still fondly recalls the distinct smell of lanolin from the fleeces as well as the rhythmic sound the looms would make as they created the fabric.
‘I am proud to share my grandmother’s passion for weaving and continue the Mourne Textiles legacy from the original mill in Rostrevor.’
Mario’s mother, Karen Hay-Edie also shared Gerd’s passion for weaving, becoming a Master Weaver herself. Over the years, Karen’s skill and expertise brought a fresh element to the business and was a vital component in breathing new life into Gerd’s designs. Today, Mourne Textiles ‘connect the designs of the past with modern influences, to create a collection of luxury home furnishing fabrics, cushions, blankets and scarves.’
Much of Gerd Hay-Edie’s lasting influence upon the world of weaving was brought about by her collaborations with iconic designers such as Robin Day, Hille Furniture and Conran. Today, Mario continues the story of Mourne Textiles in a similar way to that of his grandmother as he embraces opportunities to work alongside the designers of today.
Whilst it wasn’t stated if there is a fourth generation Hay-Edie ready to take the helm of Mourne Textiles, the company is committed to the people who work for them and know their success is built on the energy, craftsmanship and passion of all their team members. As a result, Mario continues ‘to champion native weaving talent, ensuring that these valuable skills are shared, learnt and transferred within their community.’
From that position, we know that whether the next generation to take on Gerd’s legacy is a direct descendant of the Hay-Edie family, or part of the Mourne Textiles team, the art of the loom will continue. And in a world where some of the skill of needle and thread is at risk of being lost as its founding generation passes, it’s heartening to hear that companies such as Mourne Textiles are ensuring it won’t occur in their hands.