Mungo was founded in 1998 by Master Weaver Stuart Holding. Based in the seaside town Plettenberg Bay, South Africa and housed in the historical homestead of Old Nick Village. Here all our sampling is done on antique 19th century Hattersley looms in our Working Weaving Museum. Other fabrics are woven in a boutique weavery close by which employs and empowers the local community. We design, weave and make a wide range of home ware products including table linens, bedding, throws, apparel and more. Mungo is a unique textile company with the rare ability to create fabrics from the inception of design to the final product. Ensuring all our products are from an ethical and quality beginning.
Who we are
by Dax Holding
Mungo Retail, The Shop, is situated in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa at the Old Nick Village. We are lucky enough to have access to one of the oldest building in our area dating back to 1896. A testament to the craftsmanship of the builders of that time, our double story structure is built from compacted clay bricks and hand sawn Yellowwood from the local forests. Many a knowledgeable customer walks around slack jawed with their chin tilted to the ceiling in awe of the golden hewn timber.
Quite frankly, it can be a problem. We don’t charge an entrance fee, we’re not a museum, and we find that these ‘customers’ quite resemble dodgem cars as they bump into our other customers who are innocently trying to purchase a table cloth or some new towels.
Luckily for us we have a dedicated following of return clients who majestically brave these perils, much like matadors (luckily we don’t sell much china), some have become very adept at making their way to the relative safety of the sales counter where they find our very own Cecilia who with a beady eye and a warm smile very efficiently swipes your card with one hand, packs your goods with the other and diverts the wayward with her foot.
Not everyone understands the value of quality. Most have fallen for the lower price, better value pitch. But the secret is out. More and more people are coming to understand the value of products made on a small scale with quality in mind, products that have a story with real human beings behind them, beautiful, flawed, real, majestic and interesting human beings. Not a corporate face and a huge marketing budget to sell the illusion of perfection, or the illusion of imperfection, or the illusion of wholesomeness, or whatever the latest fashion.
We know, and continuously prove,
that good quality made with a conscience
never goes out of fashion.
We are one part of a 35 year old business. We are a part of Mungo Design, an artisan textile company that produces only the best quality fabrics. I would say rediscovering the lost art of quality textiles but that would be a lie. If you have visited us here in the past 35 years you would have seen that it was never lost, I think you would be better off saying it had been misplaced. I would hate to call those who knew, selfish, but I would also hate to be called a liar. They never told. When a friend asked where they had found those divine towels they would reply with a bit of a mumble and comment on the new Victorian tap fittings. It took us a while to realize what was going on, and now that we do know we have decided to fix it. So here is our site to give everyone a chance to have a bit of Mungo in their life.
How It All Began
by Janet Holding
The path to creation of Mungo Design has been long and spans the greater part of the working life of one man, Stuart Holding.
Equipped with extensive practical skills learnt during a 5 year apprenticeship in the Weaving Mills of Yorkshire U.K. he caught a ship to South Africa where weaving technicians were in hot demand. Fed up with industry and conventional ways of doing things he built a loom in the lounge, learnt to spin and started weaving curtains and jackets for a clientele keen on his hands on approach. This was the 70′s and the Craft Revolution was gaining momentum. He even experimented with weaving dog hair collected from doggy parlours. Opportunities arose on the glorious Garden Route so everything including wife and 2 dogs were squeezed into a tiny rusty car and a new adventure began.
Securing the lease on a wonderful old trading store, called Old Nick, on the edge of the N2 highway he began teaching the local people to spin and weave. The Xmas season brought many eager holiday makers to the in house shop and the quiet times were used to develop a wider range of product. It was very much a family affair with his wife, Janet (myself) running a pottery workshop in tandem with helping with the making up of woven product for sale and the children cutting their teeth on everything to do with making things by hand.
As things grew bigger premises were required and the workshop moved into the old school at The Crags nearby. He bought some redundant power looms and developed ranges of pure cotton furnishing fabrics and the South African version of the classical mohair blanket, all sold under the name of Stuart Holding Fabrics. Products were sold locally and abroad.
Stuart entered a partnership with Cape Mohair but was not well suited to the corporate life and in time moved on.
An opportunity arose started a weaving project in the Tsitsikama but this ill-fated venture burnt to the ground in one of the fynbos fires that race through this area from time to time.
It was time to reassess his options and after building a house, spending months sailing on the Chesapeake Bay in the U.S and eventually buying and renovating the Old Nick farm house complex, Stuart finally gave over to his passion for designing and weaving textiles.
Thus was Mungo Design born – an expression of Stuart’s own brand of skill, philosophy and aesthetic!
How We Design & Weave
by Stuart Holding
The ideas usually starts by me thinking of a product that will compliment our range. I will come up with a weave construction / design that is appropriate to the product. Usually it will be the first time I have woven this combination so it keeps it exciting. I have been collecting antique weaving books for the last 40 years and these are often used for inspiration.
The process starts by me sourcing a suitable yarn which matches the requirements that the product will need, the fabric must be durable, aesthetically pleasing, and have a great tactile quality.
The weave design plans are drawn up by hand the old fashion way onto graph paper, this information is then used by us for weaving the sample on our 100 year old power looms. Once the fabric has been washed and made up into a product it is then tested by us using it day to day. The fabric is then given a name (not just a number) and its life begins.
The fabric is woven in our boutique mill on modern Dornier looms.
WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE WE
Situated on the Garden Route at Old Nick Village, 3 km east of Plettenberg Bay on the N2. South Africa
Mungo Retail is housed in the original trading store of the century old Gansvlei farm, thoughtfully restored and renovated to its original grandeur. If you happen to come explore the grounds of the now ‘Old Nick Village’ and take a moment to stop and listen, the clackety clack of the 150 year old dorneir looms will draw you up through the lush indigenous gardens and you will find yourself in a one of a kind working weaving museum. A real experience with real people making unreal product.
- GPS coordinates 34.034675,23.372742>