Aneau, a name that means a small circular band of metal, is a textile brand embodying the idea of an infinite ring. Aneau treats quilting as an exploration of our human, cultural and generational connections. Conceptualised in Sydney by designer Anna Westcott, the pieces are crafted in a rural village in the foothills of the Himalayas through a partnership with the Purkal womens foundation. I spoke to Anna who, in collaboration with Hannah Scott-Stevenson, launched the brand in with a unique documentary photo series. The stills celebrate the striking splendour of the people and sights of Purkal, offering us a unique synthesis between the bold geometry and colours of Anna’s designs, and the raw beauty of the people and places that bore them.
Could you tell me a bit about what inspires your designs?
This collection doesn’t have an obvious concept – the concept is more so an expression of my aesthetic and taste in a holistic sense. I started with colour and mood boards then everything unravelled from there. The names are named after the galaxy – Nova, Aquila, Luna etc.
I take inspiration from anywhere and anything whether it’s the way the light falls on a building to small encounters with people. When I decided to embark on a range of modern quilts I became and still am obsessed with seeing patterns in things and colour studies.
To start the ANEAU instagram account I started by curating the photographs I posted so there was a sequence and story between them at large in colour, form or texture. The thing I love most about instagram is that it is a visual story and insight into someone’s mind and way of seeing the world.
What does the medium of quilting mean or embody to you?
I was introduced to quilting by my mum and grandmother. This generational love for quilting has spread through our family. Every Christmas, Grandma would have a slew of big bags with quilts to gift to different family members. I don’t know how she kept track to be honest – our family is massive!
A quilt is a precious item, when wrapped around you, it immediately conjures a safe spot to land and feelings of home. The ANEAU quilts are made to be used and adored all year round.
How do you think the influence of your family has shaped your work?
The values of my family influenced me and my work greatly – from our strong work ethic, ambition and a great sense of integrity.
Could you tell me about the ethical practices implemented by Aneau?
We collaborate with Purkal Stree Shakti which is a non for profit organisation that empowers women. The way the foundation is set up is incredible and very effective. The women are in groups of ten that are called self-help groups and within this structure there is a group leader who manages the work flow. This creates micro business skills and a sense of independence as they manage their own work. The foundation supplies them with lunch every day and also transport to and from work.
Where did the idea for the collaborative photo-series to launch the brand originate?
I first met Hannah Scott-Stevenson many moons ago on a blind meeting through a friend at Marlow & Sons in Williamsburg, New York.
We’ve been super close ever since. I think we see the world in a similar way and from the moment I decided to start ANEAU I knew I would collaborate with Han.
We wanted to celebrate the area in which the quilts are made. It was a very organic and serendipitous experience the way it unfolded. We shot for about a week. We travelled around the area, I literally had a suitcase of quilts and we would stop when we saw something interesting. One of my favourite images is the workmen photograph. We were literally walking down the street and they were congregating before jetting to work so we stopped them and threw the baby quilt on the back of the motorbike. It was magic! And I feel very fortunate to have worked with Han – she is so talented.
Shop the Aneau collection here