Five | Six Textile is a Hand Woven Work of Art
Emma Wingfield, Co-Founder
Los Angeles, CA
I moved to Los Angeles from New York in May. Five | Six’s other half (Laine Henry) still lives in New York.
I have a masters is History of Art and Archaeology with a focus on West African art. I began my career as a commercial art gallery manager and then moved through various positions within the world of art. I worked for museums and independently for a variety of arts organizations. Throughout all those experiences, what I enjoyed the most was working with living artists and was fascinated by the creative process that happens at the convergence of arts, culture, and commerce.
Five | Six Textiles is a home textile brand that marries timeless motifs with contemporary aesthetics. Handwoven in Côte d’Ivoire and designed for the well-traveled home, each Five | Six Textile is designed in partnership with a collective of Dyula weavers we’ve been working with since 2014. We’re extremely proud of this long-standing partnership, because it allows us to create a collection of home textiles that tell a story through their use and bring global communities into local homes.
Each textile is a unique work of art that combines their bold motifs, clean lines, and contrasting colors that exemplify the eclecticism and ease of contemporary design, while celebrating the rich hand woven traditions of Dyula weavers. Each piece is a collaboration between us and our weavers, but we’re very focused on it being their art.
Five | Six started as a conversation. My first trip to Côte d’Ivoire was in 2014. We visited the weaver’s village and workshop and at the end of the visit, Vali (the head of the collective) asked if we new anyone who could help them market their textiles outside of the continent and consult on basic product design. I continued to think about this conversation and after returning to New York I told my friend Laine (who is a designer) about it. Laine was working in NY’s fashion industry and looking to take her experience with design and do something good with it. We put our heads together, formulated a partnership with Clement Coulibaly (who is based in Abidjan) and the collective of weavers.
It was important to us that this business be a true partnership with the weavers with the goal of making sure they were not only paid fair wages, but good wages, which hopefully allows them to continue to master and innovate through their artistry. We Kickstarted our first year of production and operation costs in 2016 and the business has been self sustaining ever since.
Five | Six is unique because of the simple nature of our partnership. Both Laine and I have taken time to research hand weaving from this region and the history of weaving globally. Hand woven textiles is one of the earliest forms of art whose craft can easily produce a useful object or fine art! Five | Six sits at the center of that. These textiles are beautiful to look at but also serve a utilitarian purpose. They are a living piece of art, whose appearance changes depending on how its displays (folded, draped, hung, or being used etc.).
We all make a point of traveling to Côte d’Ivoire once a year to spend time with the weavers and their community in order to design together and innovate ways that this business can grow and help preserve these craft industries. The weavers are constantly innovating new motifs and the history of design from this region is complex and fascinating. Together we’ve been able to stay true to their artistry while highlighting design innovation.
This is constantly changing, but right now, my favorite product is the Adjoukrou Blanc Throw. It was one of our first products and really stands the test of time. I love the pops of coral and yellow agains the indigo and natural cotton color base. All of our textiles are woven with 100% raw cotton which produces quality cloth that is significantly durable, reminiscent of linen, and softens with use. I love that it patinas as you use it.