Toast expands homeware with handcrafted textiles and tableware

We look at the work of the skilled artisans Toast has chosen to champion

object by toast
Toast

British brand Toast is now turning its attention to the home, having traditionally concentrated on womenswear during its 22-year history. Thanks to the recently appointed head of home, Judith Harris, there’s a renewed focus on beautifully made, rich textiles, cookware and dining table favourites, as the brand builds new relationships with skilled craftspeople and artisans around the world.

toast artisans
Nicholas Shurey, Ali Hewson, husband-and-wife team Takahashi McGil, House of Quinn and Blue Firth

‘I think storytelling is what sets us apart,’ explains Harris. ‘We encourage a considered, slower approach and our collection is full of unique pieces.’ Their tales are transportative: indigo-dyed Shiburi textiles made into cushions by a small, skilled community in China close to the Himalayan Plateau; handheld fans crafted from bamboo in Cambodia; lightweight Finnish wool blankets and rumpled heavy linens from Lithuania.

Nicholas Shurey for Toast Home
Nicholas Shurey for Toast

As well as looking far afield, Toast will also be championing homegrown talent – it has selected five emerging British creators and will be selling their handmade products in stores until December. The chosen few are (pictured, above from left) architect-turned-sculptor Nicholas Shurey, whose furniture and objects – carved with wood from Copenhagen’s forests – are part functional, part fantasy, and Ali Hewson, who uses slip trailing – a clay decorating technique – to create her hand-thrown ceramics, which are all expressive dashes, dots and looping lines.

‘I THINK STORYTELLING IS WHAT SETS US APART. OUR COLLECTION IS FULL OF UNIQUE PIECES’

Then there’s husband and wife duo Takahashi McGil (third from left and far right), who are growing a reputation for blending new and old, crafting rice spoons and bowls from local hardwoods using time-honoured Japanese traditions alongside contemporary methods.

Takahashi McGil for Toast Home
Takahashi McGil for Toast Home

House of Quinn (aka Julius Arthur), meanwhile, brings traditional quilting techniques up to date with bold, sculptural lines and sustainable fabrics. Each of the designs from his collection ‘En Tir’ – Cornish for ‘of the land’ – are one-of-a-kind.

House of Quinn for Toast Home
House of Quinn for Toast Home

Finally, there’s Blue Firth, a Nottingham-based artist who turns her talents to crafting everything from screenprints to stoneware, creating bowls featuring abstract, feathery marks.

Blue Firth for Toast
Blue Firth for Toast

Work by these new names will sit alongside pieces by existing favourites – think pottery by Pip Hartle and studio Arran Street East. ‘Customers will notice much more space in our stores dedicated to homeware,’ says Harris. ‘Part of our vision is to take pleasure in the things we do on a day-to-day basis, rather than have things that are too precious.’ toa.st

This article first appeared in July 2019 issue of Elle Decoration

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