About Under the Stairs
In 2017, inspired by my eldest daughter's Summer project, I had a eureka moment! And quite unexpectedly, life began to navigate in a new direction. After perhaps a fated collaboration with my sister-in-law illustrator Georgie Letters, “Under the Stairs” was born (drying photo-sensitive emulsion without a dark room can be tricky without a cupboard under the Stairs...!) we are now finally able to share our beautiful collection of linen based textiles with you online.
I’m Lorna (a former midwife turned demon screen-printer, sewing ninja, & full-time mum to four) & Georgie (my sister-in-law, a self-employed creative Jill-of-all-trades, busily sign-writing, mural-painting, graphic-designing and illustrating her way around the West Country). In a nutshell, we’ve been designing, printing, sewing, and selling, a small range of future-friendly home textiles, inspired by the insects & animals who share our planet, and with a determined focus on environmental sustainability.
More and more people are looking to make better, more environmentally-conscious choices about the home furnishings, textiles & gifts they buy. Of course it's tough to be 100% sustainable or ethical, but... we believe in making things that are both functional and beautiful, using methods & materials with a reduced carbon, water & waste footprint. Things that are designed to last, and that do a little bit better by the planet.
Who are we and why are we here?
So, take one ex-midwife, desperate to get back to work now that the kids are all at school, but yearning to do something more creative with her hands. Supported by one small artist bubbling with bright ideas for her clients, but never quite finding the impetus to put her own art into action. Stir in a little encouragement from family & friends, a refresher screen-printing course (thanks Clifton Workshop!), a few YouTube instructional sewing videos (turns out I’m a natural!)...and what have you got? BOOM! One hard-wearing, planet-caring, love-sharing range of linen tea towels, aprons, table runners, napkins, hob covers & cushions!
We all love lovely things. We love to make our house a home, and to express ourselves through and within our personal spaces. As humans we have the most wonderful capacity to create and, it follows, a desire to surround ourselves with some of those beautiful and clever creations. But, we believe this just simply can’t continue to be at the expense of our planet.
Without wanting to put too much of a downer on things, complacent mass-manufacture, planned obsolescence, and a throwaway culture of consumption, are having a deadly effect on our planet. The fashion and textiles industry is a huge culprit. From the amount of pollution created during manufacture, and the enormous quantity of textiles that goes into landfill (350,000 tonnes every year in the UK alone), to the very real problem of plastic microfibers from man-made fabrics making their way into our rivers & oceans.
But, we feel a change! More and more people are altering their habits and taking personal responsibility ~ both as consumers, and as makers & manufacturers. We are part and product of these changes in thinking and behaviour, and we want to be able to offer our lower-impact creations to peeps who want to shop according to their environmental values. Besides, who wants to spend their hard-earned cash on things that are going to fall apart faster than you can say "didn't last five minutes"?! In days gone by, linens were handed down through generations, you know! Just imagine your great grand kids' joy when they find out you've saved them a planet and an Under the Stairs tea towel!
We refer to the things we make as “earth-conscious”. For us, this means we take an environmentally-aware approach to our business, with the intention of reducing our ecological impact as much as we can. From materials & supply; to production, manufacture & waste; to the life of the product; shipping, packaging...the list goes on. There’s much to consider, and to learn, and the landscape is changing for the better all the time. We’re certainly not perfect, but for now, we’re trying to be as earth-conscious as we can be, and we’re committed to being better.
We're proud to say that our products contain not one iota of new plastic! We are doing everything we can to minimise our use of single-use plastics, and we're vigilant about re-using and recycling as much as possible.