Material world: an interview with Caroline Inchyra of Inchyra Designs

Inchyra Designs sells fabrics. Behind that stark statement, though, there’s a wealth of detail. Founder Caroline Inchyra not only set up the company, but also had the original idea to design this range of environmentally friendly fabrics, inspired by original archive patterns. Her plan was to find a way to recreate both the look and feel of old linen, which have a soft, textured feel and a depth of subtlety in their colour that makes modern printed fabrics look garish. From re-creation of old fabrics, the range grew to include completely new designs, tied into the original colour schemes to make a cohesive collection.

Framboise fabric by Inchyra Designs

This Framboise design is based on an early 1900s French linen

Based in Inchyra House, at the heart of the Inchyra Estate, near Perth, Scotland, Caroline runs the company with her husband James, Lord Inchyra, and this glorious corner of Britain is a constant source of inspiration for her work. (In case you’re wondering, ‘Inch’ appears in many Scottish place names and supposedly means meadow. Sara Walker finds out more.

An Inchyra pure new wool throw.

“Inchyra Designs is a bit of change of direction for me,” says Caroline. “My first career was in finance, structuring investment funds in the City. Life at Inchyra couldn’t be more different – I think that there’s no way you could live in Scotland and not be influenced by the colours – they are so soft – at all times of year really.

Caroline Inchyra and husband James from Inchyra Designs

Caroline and husband James.

“My designs are either a reproduction of an old pattern that would otherwise be lost to us or they are new designs based on old designs.  I often refer to myself as an editor rather than a designer – what I do is see possibilities and then work with existing pattern to create something new.  My newest collection, Trifolium, actually came from a piece of antique china – so that has opened up a whole new world of possibilities! The most complicated part of the whole process is probably the actual production – ensuring that colours and designs are right and repeatable – there’s often a lot of too-ing and fro-ing with sampling from the printers until we’re all absolutely sure that it’s right. What started as an obsession with finding a way to recreate old linens, both in look and feel, has evolved into a whole collection of fabrics.

The new Balazuc collection

“I think I love all my designs equally, so it’s hard to pick a favourite – they’re all like children, honestly!  I think I’ve said Framboise in the past because that’s the design that started everything and the base for the whole collection but I might just say now that it’s the Balazuc Collection as that is what really got Inchyra noticed and the year since it launched has been amazing. That collection has been very successful for us – but our designs are all very timeless so they go on and on! We’ve also launched a range of home accessories such as throws, lampshades and cushions, which are mainly made in Scotland with a few in England.”

Trifolium Clover raspberry on ivory fabric by Inchyra Designs

Trifolium Clover / Raspberry on Ivory

The look and feel of the fabrics has a wide appeal, and products from Inchyra Designs have featured in Homes & Gardens, Country Homes, Period Living, Country Life, House Beautiful, the World of Interiors and English Home, to name a few.

“Running your own business can be a challenge! Today for example, we’ve had deliveries in from our fabric printers so those have been checked and sent on to our finishers.  I’ve been talking to our photographer about product images. We had a delivery of chairs covered in our new Trifolium linen, which now also need to be photographed.  I’m interviewing this afternoon for a new member for the fabric team.  And, in between that, I’ve been talking to a magazine about wedding awards for our barn wedding venue and the tour manager for a band that are playing here next week about getting ready for the show!

“I’m not sure what’s round the corner for Inchyra Designs. We just keep doing what we’re doing and it seems that good things happen!  We really couldn’t have imagined ten years ago where we’d be today.  It’s constantly exciting – whether it’s a new fabric launch, a new customer or a new music show that comes across my desk.”

For more information about Inchyra Designs, visit the website at Accessories prices start at £85.

All images (c) Inchyra Designs 2018.

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