Coffee with... Cloth & Clover's Tania McIvor

11th February 2021

Born out of a love for fabrics and interiors, coupled with a fascination for the traditional processes and skills involved in their design and manufacture, Cloth & Clover produce charming fabrics and wallpapers that are designed and printed here in the UK. Using flax, a flowering plant which requires fewer fertilizers and pesticides than most other crops, they make every effort to ensure that they produce their high quality base cloths goods without causing undue harm to our planet.

As well as their eco-credentials, Cloth & Clover have also earned their stripes in the Interiors world. Having developed a strong decorating style that is instantly recognisable, their timeless designs are loved by so many and look effortlessly beautiful when featured in the home. We caught up with founder Tania McIvor of Cloth & Clover to discover more about this fascinating brand...

What led to you starting your own design company?

There wasn’t a defining moment when I decided to start Cloth & Clover, it felt like a very natural step for me to continue to pursue my practice of designing and making, albeit in a smaller more artisanal way.

What were you doing career wise before you set up Cloth & Clover?

I was the creative director of a brand licensing agency. My first design job after graduating was with Laura Ashley which laid the foundation and inspired my love of textiles, patterns and printmaking.

How would you describe your design style?

Cloth & Clover is a distillation of my design style which is best described as calm and understated, with a palette of gentle colours the designs have a rustic prettiness inspired by the effortless comfort of English country house interiors.

From where do you draw inspiration?

Inspiration is such an important part of the creative process and like all designers I draw mine from many different sources. Childhood memories of my grandmother, her love of collecting and innate ability to create beautiful homes taught me a great deal about the value of good design.

I look to the past for my inspiration, my prints and patterns are based on historic textiles first and foremost. I love to travel and explore new places. I’m an avid reader of interiors books and magazines, and when I can, I make frequent visits to museums, craft or textiles fairs and flea markets.

More recently, and as a result of restrictions on our lives, I’ve found amazing inspiration and insight from virtual conversations and design workshops, in fact I was so inspired by the potter Frances Palmer’s recent talk that I immediately booked myself into pottery classes such was my enthusiasm to learn to throw a pot!

Cloth & Clover's items are produced in the UK, how important is this for you?

Harnessing the best of British manufacturing skills and craftmanship has always been important to me.

My collection is produced solely in the UK, the linen is milled in Scotland and I print locally which enables me to remain hands on with all of the processes involved.

I’m very keen to support and encourage traditional British craftsmanship, particularly textiles and printing – little remains of what was once one of the country’s biggest exports, if we don’t continue to utilise British makers we risk losing them and their skills forever.

Who are your favourite designers?

There are many incredibly talented and clever designers who I really admire, perhaps top of the list should be Robert Kime for his canny collectors eye, depth of knowledge and innate decorating style.

And Christopher Howe and Lulu Lyttle for championing traditional British craftsmanship and design.

How would you characterise your own interior style?

Infinitely English, traditional and deeply comfortable.

Do you follow any style rules in your home?

With the exception of technology, I buy very little that’s new or modern. I much prefer to buy antiques or second hand things that show character and wear in them.

What piece of furniture could you not live without?

Our antique bed which comfortably fits family, friends and our black Labrador Dolly!

We know it’s always hard to pick a favourite but is there a design that you are particularly fond of?

I think my favourite designs are always those I’m working on at the time.

Which is your favourite city, and why?

My heart is in the countryside, but I live and work in London - the city is so full of culture, energy and ideas it’s hard not to love it. Paris comes second for it’s elegance and style and Tokyo because the Japanese approach to life is so refreshingly different it’s impossible to leave without feeling utterly inspired.

What is your favourite holiday destination?

Rajasthan – I love the beautiful and quirky people, their sense of colour and pattern, the colour washed buildings, ambling cows, tooting lorries and overflowing buses - it’s a wonderfully bonkers and deeply inspiring place.

What are you currently reading?

I’m just about to finish Lady in Waiting by Lady Anne Glenconner which is fascinating and a wonderful insight into a lost world of glamour and royalty. Also The Land Gardeners breathtakingly beautiful book, Cut Flowers is a visual tonic and a great source of inspiration.

Caldecote Fabric
Lulsley fabric Lulsley fabric
Lulsley Fabric
Pixley Linen Pixley Linen
Pixley Linen

We’ve seen lots of people take up new hobbies this year from baking to learning a new language. If you had the time is there a new skill you would like to learn?

I learned how to darn from one of Toast’s virtual workshops which are great as they are donating funds raised from the events to support the Crafts Council, and I’m keen to get back to pottery as and when real life classes can start again.

What can we expect from 2021 from Cloth & Clover?

I’m working on several fabric and wallpaper designs at the moment along with developing a new colour palette for the collection.

What do you like best about F&P Interiors?

The website is a brilliantly curated resource for researching and buying fabrics and wallpapers from a wide range of designers and styles. I also love that you offer sound decorating advice and lots of inspiration, as well as insight into the designers and producers behind the collections.

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