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Mourne Textiles, a hand loom weaving workshop in Rostrevor have formed a “perfect partnership” with world renowned carpet manufacturer, Ulster Carpets, based in Portadown to create a new company known as Mourne Weavers.

For over half a century, Irish heritage brand Mourne Textiles has been weaving fabrics and designing furnishings at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in County Down. This family business, started by late Norwegian design pioneer Gerd Hay-Edie, uses traditional weaving techniques on custom-made handlooms. Gerd handed down these techniques to daughter Karen Hay-Edie, a master-weaver in her own right, who in turn passed the baton to her son, Mario Sierra. 

From humble beginnings in a small workshop in the late 1940s, Gerd’s name became a staple in mid-century British design. Gerd developed long-standing collaborations with Robin Day for Hille & Co and Terence Conran, for whom she produced specially designed upholstery and rugs.

Mario Sierra, Creative Director, Mourne Textiles (left) and David Acheson, Head of Strategic Operations at Ulster Carpets, pictured in the new workshop of Mourne Weavers - a joint venture between the two companies.
Mario Sierra, Creative Director, Mourne Textiles (left) and David Acheson, Head of Strategic Operations at Ulster Carpets, pictured in the new workshop of Mourne Weavers - a joint venture between the two companies.

The collaborative partnership will create a number of new jobs and will also allow both companies to share knowledge and expertise to explore global opportunities.

Both Ulster Carpets and Mourne Textiles will continue to trade as normal. The third-generation, family-owned companies have helped retain the rich heritage of Northern Ireland’s textile industry.

Mourne Textiles is now a 21st century entity that stays true to its history and tradition. The workshop sources yarns from Donegal, as it did in the past, and custom dyes them to match the heritage pieces and iconic designs created by Gerd. 

These yarns are intrinsic to the Irish-Scandinavian roots of the workshop, resulting in a lifestyle collection made up of rich, vibrant tones and stunning textures: blankets, throws, shawls, cushions, tableware, rugs and upholstery fabrics. As Karen and Mario continue the legacy of Mourne Textiles, and continue to draw inspiration from the rugged vistas of their locale, Gerd’s designs are bought back to life for a new generation.

Ulster Carpets designs and manufactures bespoke carpets for the hospitality, gaming and marine sectors across the world while Mourne Textiles creates a range of artisan goods that are sold in regions as diverse as Japan, Australia, North America and Europe.

Joint Venture

The new joint venture, Mourne Weavers, will combine the key strengths of both companies to produce luxury woven furnishing fabrics, curtain fabrics, cushions and blankets for the commercial interior design sector.

“In terms of quality craftsmanship, bespoke designs and local heritage, both Mourne Textiles and Ulster Carpets have a shared philosophy and a strong passion for our industry. That is why the creation of Mourne Weavers is the perfect partnership,” explained Mario Sierra, Creative Director, Mourne Textiles. “We are delighted to have secured this substantial investment from Ulster Carpets that will allow us to retain the core strengths of Mourne Textiles while growing into new sectors with Mourne Weavers.”

Ulster Carpets is aiming to build on the company’s success within the artisan sector, following the 2016 acquisition of London-based Roger Oates Design, which designs and hand produces unique stripe runners and rugs.

David Acheson, Head of Strategic Operations at Ulster Carpets, explained, “The creation of Mourne Weavers and the product range that it will offer perfectly complements Roger Oates Design. We have no doubt that we will be able to combine this expertise with our knowledge of the global market to firmly establish Mourne Weavers within the commercial sector.”

Nick Coburn, Group Managing Director at Ulster Carpets, continued, “This investment in Mourne Weavers is indicative of the forward-thinking ethos of both companies and is in line with the core values of quality and design at Ulster Carpets.

“Despite the many challenges within the global market, we continue to show confidence in the marketplace and we are excited about the new opportunities that this new joint venture will bring.

“It also underpins our ongoing growth and diversification strategy to invest in the development of similar businesses and allows us to widen our portfolio into this exciting niche sector in Ireland.”

 

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