Material world


By Davina Richards


Bolt of Cloth celebrates the textiles and the spirit of creativity which drives us all. With the popular business swelling with new products it’s no surprise the stockist of designer fabrics and home furniture has expanded its business from one store to three.

Owner Suzannah Tonascia established the business on Madras Street back in 2009 and after the February 2011 earthquakes was forced to relocate to The Colombo in Sydenham.

In a bid to expand the business and reach the growing number of online customers, an Auckland store was opened in June, 2013 and incorporates Finnish textiles, homewares and clothing brand Marimekko.

In its latest move, a third store was opened at The Tannery’s Emporium in Woolston earlier this year.
Suzannah talks to us about the latest trends and fabric tactics.
What materials and designs are on trend right now?
Bright punches of colour and combining fabrics in unique and novel ways are two key trends we are seeing right now. It’s all about breaking the rules and being individual.
What materials would you suggest to people who want to create a cosy home this winter?
Softer elements like fabrics are perfect for insulation, absorbing sounds and making homes feel personalised and finished rather than sterile and show homey. While roller blinds are practical, there is nothing quite like closing curtains in winter for cosiness and then snuggling up to a pile of feather filled cushions on your couch. Make sure you have some lighting on dimmer switches or some free standing lights for moody perfection.

Can you tell us anything about the new products you’ll be getting in stock?
We are always getting new products in stock! We’ve just released a winter collection of wool/alpaca cushion covers which are warm and tactile, and perfect for mix and matching.

We have a really interesting new collection of Marimekko fabrics, ceramics and homeware arriving in July – lots of purples (inspired by the Pantone colour of the year), and a mix of elegant pieces with a folksy collection. We are also launching our own range of roller blinds and ottomans shortly.
Which upcoming designers should we look out for?
You have to keep an eye out for the winner of this year’s Bolt of Cloth Textile Design Award. Last year’s winner was ex-Christchurch designer Josie Dawson and we have her stunning designs in store as cushion covers.

We will be working with this year’s winner (entries close at the end of August) to get their designs in store in a suitable format by Christmas. We hope to have something exciting and inspiring to show you and be able to support an up and coming designer in the process.
Solid colours verses patterns, how do you use them and where?
I personally love patterns, but solid colours allow you to mix up more colours and patterns together in a way that works. Colour is an interesting thing, as the more you have the more you can get away with – and for lots of us, the happier it makes us feel.
Will customers be able to take advantage of special offers or promotions this season?
Yes. People who are signed up on our website as members already get lots of special offers. We email them a secret code every two weeks which enables them to buy certain items at a discounted price that isn’t shown online or in store. This is free and anyone can join at

We are also working on some very attractive packages for people needing to furnish windows in their whole home, and an interior design service that will enable clients using it to buy at reduced prices.

Do you have a favourite designer? Who is it and why?
That is a really difficult one as I like so many designers and for so many reasons. I love Florence Broadhurst for her timeless elegance and how cleverly she designed Etsuya Furuya for her quirky irrelevance and how untraditionally Japanese her work is.

I also love Sanna Annka for her modern folksy vibe (she has a funky new collection out at Christmas) and of course Maija Isola for her trail blazing designs for Marimekko which are still going strong 50 years on.

Do you prefer stand alone products or a combination to create an impact?
Definitely a combination. I think how you combine items is the magic ingredient that
makes each of our homes unique. The same object can look completely different in each environment it goes in – human creativity is limitless!
What process do you go through to determine what products make it into your stores?
It is a combination of instinct with some method. For fabrics, it’s about whether I feel our customers will love the colours and the design ,combined with the practical element of that fabric in terms of how I can visualise it being used and whether it is actually going to work for that. Some fabrics have been designed to just be more useful than others. There is no crystal ball unfortunately!

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