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    Making the Simo bed in Marrakesh

    Making the Simo bed in Marrakesh

     

    The Souks, aka 'markets' of Marrakesh, are renowned for their infusion of craftsmanship, commerce, and artistry. I was lucky enough to visit family friends who call Marrakesh their home in the Spring of 2019. I was so inspired by the textiles and makers that we decided to make a collection of dog beds from the trip.

                                                                                                                                                                After going to a myriad of shops and touching heaps of fabric, we chose to use a textile called Sabra. Sabra is made from 'cactus silk' - the strong and smooth fibers that run through the agave plant. This plant produces a material that has a heavyweight feel and smooth finish, a perfect dog bed material. We worked with a local artisan named Mohammed (a pretty common name around these parts). He was warm and jovial and poured us traditional Moroccan tea that was both bitter and exceptionally sweet. Over the next two months, we worked closely with Mohammed going back and forth on the details of the beds as he sewed each cover by hand.  We chose a subdued charcoal color as our base with pops of jewel-tone detail. Each cover is one-of-a-kind, with traditional symbols and embroidery that is both funky and chic. The pallet of these beds comes from the all-natural botanical pigments used to dye the yarn and the process of hand dyeing, washing, and drying these materials under the Moroccan sun.

     

    To pair with this cover, we chose to work with 100% natural shredded latex inner fill. On both a personal and professional level, we've been doing whatever we can to reduce our use of plastics. We want to do our part to lower the amount of waste that gets put into landfills and our oceans each year (#loveyoumamaearth). Most dog beds are made with a synthetic fill called 'polyester fiberfill' aka polyfill. This is a type of plastic made with petrochemicals that can take 5,000+ years to disintegrate and is often very difficult to recycle properly. Polyfill also has a low density, which means it compresses over time to have a flatter, less 'cushy' feel. 

    Natural latex, on the other hand, is made with sustainably harvested sap from the rubber tree. To the touch, it's akin to a high-quality and organic memory foam. It has a high density, which means it's heavier, but also that it keeps its shape and 'cushiness' over time. This is especially important for 'mature pups' with older bones or joint pain. Natural latex also keeps cooler than polyfills or synthetic memory foam beds which makes for a bed that's comfy enough for you to want to nap on too. 

     

     

    These beds have been designed to look and feel elegant for years to come. Every part of the beds cover, insert, and brass zippers have been carefully selected for longevity and style. They are not 'fast fashion' and are not meant to wind up in a landfill next year. Although they are more expensive than many other dog beds on the market, their mark-up is less than traditional retail and we think it shows with the quality of these beds. We hope you and your pup love these beds as much as we do!

    Traditional Indian Block Print

    Traditional Indian Block Print

    Block Print has been a tradition and way of making textiles in India for hundreds of years. Its intricate detail, beauty, and variation have long inspired my design instincts and fabric collecting habits.  Once we started working these textiles into collars and leashes, we knew we needed to create a whole collection. That collection is our latest, The Florals.


     After a lot of research and swatching, we decided to source our fabrics from artisans in the Chhipa community, an old Indian community engaged in Fabric Printing and Dyeing since ancient Indian Civilization. 

    One of the things to love about Block Print and purchasing from the artisans in the Chhipa community is that this way of manufacturing textiles is more sustainable than large fabric mills. Unlike giant textile mills that use excessive synthetic colorants that pollute waterways these traditional methods are low impact and support craftsmanship and multi-generational artisan families. 


    The crafting process for Block Print starts with an artisan carving (by hand) wooden blocks to create beautiful, intricate patterns. Color is then painted onto the woodblock and printed in repetition on fabric.

     

    Once dried, the crafter repeats this with another block and/ or layer of color that lays over the first. Usually, this is 2-4 colors in varying degrees of detail. One 10-yard piece of fabric might take two skilled people an entire day to create.

     

    We love all the natural variation this process creates, little lines and sways of colors that skirt outside of lines and blur these fabrics from textiles into works of art.  

     

    For The Florals - we made leashes, collars, and bandanas. For extra weathering, we decided to wax each piece in this collection with a blend of beeswax and essential oils, which absorbs into the fabric and helps to keep it water-resistant and give it extra strength and durability. This wax blend also makes it more resistant to dirt and stains to keep your pup looking fresh. 

    We’re really happy with how this collection has turned out and love that we’ve been able to combine our craftsmanship with the craftsmanship of others. Thank you so much for your support in making this happen, we know your pups are going to look fly a.f.

     

    A collaboration with artist Alex Steele

    A collaboration with artist Alex Steele

    I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to pick favorites, but I’m going to go ahead and say that this just might be my favorite collection to date- our Mid Century Mod collection.

     This line of rad dog collars and leashes was born via a collaboration with badass Oakland based designer, artist and, friend Alex Steele.

    Steele’s line of super original, minimalist funk vêtements (that's fancy for clothes) have a real effortless confidence to them, and I’ve long been a fan. For this collection, we wanted to create a cohesive mix and match line inspired by natural patterns, and the simplification of what has been done before.   

     Each piece retains the wabi-sabi richness of handmade materials and was brought to life using traditional block print and hand-painting methods. 

      After working with Alex to hone down to our favorite prints, we paired with contrast stitching for that mix and match feel, reinforced with industrial strength nylon and solid brass hardware for hardiness. And as always, this collection has been made in California with love for our very special doggos.

    A Fond Farewell to a Friend

    A Fond Farewell to a Friend
     Maybe you knew of Yogi, met Yogi, or have no who I'm talking about.. but Yogi was my dog, my best friend, and the reason I started Beast and Babe. After 11 years together (and a few more before that) he died peacefully in my arms last month on the summer solstice after an exceptionally wonderful life. 

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