Quality is evident in just one glance of Elytra's hand woven scarves. The detailed patterns adorning these beauties have been thoughtfully designed and executed on a traditional floor loom. It's no wonder that we fell in love with these infinity scarves when we first saw them. The combination of handwoven traditional craft and chic modern designs is nothing short of perfection! We spoke with Chelcie Laggis the brains behind Elytra Textiles about her love of weaving and what goes into creating these designs.
Chelcie: I grew up outside of Atlanta, GA in a tiny town called Woolsey. It's a special place because as kids, we were able to explore outside all day. We'd go to a local cemetery, catch fireflies, walk in the surrounding woods all summer long, and lay in the grass looking up at the stars. I realize as an adult that some of my favorite memories were these things that one just can't experience unless they're in the country.When did you first start creating and designing handmade goods?
Chelcie: I never considered myself to be artistic growing up. Music was my thing throughout my childhood and my teens. But after discovering that I didn't want to pursue music, I went to art school. Once I was there, I found myself drawn to the textile department. So I tried just about everything: screen printing, embroidery, felting, spinning, and weaving. Once I took that first weaving class, I was hooked. I bought my own loom right after graduation, and have been designing and weaving ever since.
What drew you to making scarves? What do you enjoy most about it?
Chelcie: Scarves are an accessory that everyone loves to have plenty of. They're both beautiful and practical, and can be a real statement. When I started designing textiles, I was making pillows. I think I have more of a knack for home decorating than fashion, so it seemed like a no-brainer. But, until I'm able to hire more help, it's a lot of extra overhead and extra time to complete pillows after hand-weaving the fabric. After some thought of what I could create, I realized that the steps post-weaving for scarves were minimal. My designs started busier, and as I've grown have become more minimal and timeless.
My favorite part of making scarves is absolutely weaving them. I love the my finished product, but as long as I'm sitting at my loom in that meditative, repetitive state, I'm very happy with being a maker.
Chelcie: I always go through my own little dance when I design and create a new product. The dance consists of designing a pattern, realizing a few hours later that it's too busy, reigning in the design, going a little crazy again, then finally repeating to myself to keep it simple, keep it simple, keep it simple. Minimalism is what inspires me more than anything, but sometimes it's quite hard to edit. Once I finalize my design, I think about color and fiber choices, and finally map out how to thread my loom. Setting up a loom for weaving is a very detail-oriented process, full of math and planning. One mistake during this process, and the entirety of the fabric is flawed. But I love this challenge.
Chelcie: The definition of Elytra is 'the pair of hardened forewings of certain insects, such as beetles, forming a protective covering for the posterior or flight wings.'
I love insects, specifically beetles. I love their intricate design, their coloring, and their fragility. I have been drawn to beetles especially because I once read that Ancient Egyptian culture adorned so much with beetles and scarabs because it was a symbol of constant evolution. That is an idea that sticks with me personally as well as professionally. I want to always be evolving into a better person and a better artist; Learning from mistakes, and paying attention to what works.