Who We Are
Sett & Beat is a mother and daughter brand that, like many creative endeavours, grew out of a hobby and passion.
Having grown up on a sheep farm in Victoria West, South Africa, Sandi took an interest in fibres and textiles in her twenties. She’s been weaving and spinning for over 45 years.
In 2020, her daughter Camila decided to join Sandi and combine their passions for textiles, handwork and sustainability to form Sett & Beat, a conscious textile studio.
We are very passionate about the planet and our natural environment.
By partnering with responsible suppliers and offering exclusive and limited edition handwoven products we hope to contribute to these beliefs.
By offering exclusive and limited edition handwoven products and by partnering with responsible suppliers we hope to contribute to these beliefs.
We choose raw materials that are better for the environment and are truly conscious about our processes.
In Tibet, spinning and weaving was mostly the work of farmers who had the winter months in their houses to busy themselves with tasks other than agriculture. They spun lambs wool and wove ti into narrow lengths of fine, dense fabric on back strap looms. Some areas in Lhokha, in southern Tibet, were famous for their woolen fabrics, producing such rare and expensive material it was available only as items that on epurchased once in a lifetime and pssed on as heirloom. Nomads catered to their own needs, spinning and weaving sheep wool that farmers considered coarse and unrefined. For this reason, Amdo nomads had little base to work from, beyond a natural inclination for spinning and weaving, From such a relatively clean slate, we were able to wholly create a textile industry, if on a small scale, in Amdo.
What Makes Us Conscious
Conscious for us means that everything we do, not only in our studio but also in our lives, is done deliberately and in a careful way. It also speaks to our deep and particular desire to do business to bring about good. Sustainability has become such a buzz word, all of these terms; sustainable, conscious, responsible, are all subjective and debated. No company or person can be perfect in every way, but we can make a conscious effort to bring about positive change.
We have identified areas that we have control over in our business and where we can make decisions that will have positive outcomes. We aren’t afraid to acknowledge the areas that we don’t have it all figured out (and as a small business that can be a lot), but we know that the customers that resonate with what we value in life will appreciate and support that things take time.
Conscious means one step at a time; considering the effect of our actions on others and the natural environment.
Made by Hand
Weaving cloth is an ancient process. Today we focus on how this intensive hand work can produce something that machines can’t replicate and most importantly that has a place in the 21st Century.
“Making a contemporary weave is like planting a seed into a new, uncultivated field. When the seed sprouts, the resulting fabric is a fruit which communicates with all our senses and makes us rejoice.” – Junichi Acai
Producing cloth in a hand weaving studio creates endless possibilities, whereby inspiration and ideas are the limit.
The Process of Hand Weaving
Creating textiles using hand looms involves a number of steps, all of which require a person, usually a piece of equipment and a lot of concentration.
That process looks like this:
Making the Warp: Involves winding yarns around a formulation of pegs or a wheel to create bundles that form the yarn that runs lengthways
Dressing the Loom: Taking these warp bundles and tying and threading them through a number of places on the loom so that they are all aligned
Weaving: Using a shuttle (this holds the weft yarn) weave crossways while lifting the shafts to create a pattern to create a textile
Finishing: This is dependent on the type of cloth woven, but usually includes tying fringes or tassels, washing, pressing, sewing and brushing
The materials that we choose to use are so important to us. We have the power to make material choices that can positively or negatively impact the world that future generations will live in. We choose fibres that are natural, renewable, recycled, biodegradable and where possible certified. As a small studio obtaining the materials we want to use can be challenging. This is the beginning of a life long process for us, one that we are extremely passionate about and committed to.
We consider ourselves lucky to have access to locally produced cotton, wool and mohair yarns. Although we understand the impact of non-certified cotton, we are making efforts to change the fibres we use, and continually researching the best and lowest impact options. We are open to our clients suggestions and requests, and through this have started working with natural materials including hemp, nettle, flax, banana and palm leaves.
Many people have no idea that South Africa produces about 50% of the world’s mohair. We are also home to the Responsible Mohair Standard and although traceability is not yet available to us, growing demand for it is helping to ensure that all Angora farms produce responsibly. This incredible fibre is one of our favourite. Once you have experienced soft and lustrous mohair it will also become your chosen source of warmth. We buy our mohair yarns from Port Elizabeth where the majority of global mohair is processed.
South Africa is a key supplier of apparel grade merino wool, and produces around 48 million kgs of wool per year. Although we don’t currently have the ability to process wool from its raw form, we still believe that supporting global wool production is the right thing to do. Animal fibres are renewable resources and growing demands for responsible production are helping to ensure proper land management is pursued.
We are lucky to have a cottage industry of Alpaca in the Western Cape with reliable partners who produce from farm to fibre in their own spinning mill.
This extremely soft fibre is a dream to work with and comes in a variety of natural colours due to the Alpaca’s having different colours fleece.
100% recycled Sari silk yarn is the by-product of colorful saris that women wear. Loose ends of saris are collected from industrial mills in India that is hand spun into yarn. Due to the production process, no two skeins are exactly alike. Banana silk is made from the bark of banana trees and spun into yarn, creating a unique and organic texture. There are so many different types of silk, we prefer to use these recycled or plant derived, or Eri Silk, also known as Peace Silk.
The cotton that we use is either locally spun and dyed, or it is sourced from our Indian supplier. We use hand spun, hand dyed cotton yarns, and where possible choose organic.
We are working with a European supplier to get a hemp and Better Cotton Initiative yarn. We can’t wait to incorporate this into our collections.
HEMP & GRASSES
There are so many wonderful and interesting natural raw materials out there, we have tried many and like to use raffia, hemp and nettle yarns, and reeds from local restio varieties to name a few.
These create very beautiful raw textures and can produce highly unique tableware and blinds.
We love bringing these qualities into the home, adding to that outdoor feeling indoors. Plus they are biodegradable!
A Note on Mohair
Mohair is one of those very special and unique fibres. Its inherent qualities are endless and difficult to replicate with other natural fibres. Unfortunately, the global production of mohair has rapidly decreased since it’s peak in the 1980’s and there is now just a fraction of what was once produced. Around 2.5 tons in South Africa is produced annually, and about 4 tons globally. This, along with other factors such as drought has made the price of mohair continue to rise each year.
Like all natural fibres, but especially animal fibres, we are always in awe of the luxury that humans have in being able to yield a renewable resource that we can turn into clothing and useable items.
We believe that by stimulating awareness and supporting the industry to continue producing this precious fibre we can contribute to the continuation of its production. It’s understood that around 30 000 dependents rely on the income from mohair production. We believe that with the focus on responsible and regenerative farming practices mohair (and wool) can form part of sustainable future fibres.
We have initiated a fund that will donate 1% of mohair turnover to the Empowerment Trust, a part of Mohair South Africa that provides support and assistance to previously disadvantaged and emerging farmers in South Africa. Their work has and continues to enable these farmers to establish and manage their own agricultural operations.