Meet Ria

"I founded Arcana in 2022 with the mission to awaken a stronger interest in nature by embellishing the everyday with beauty and meaning. My collections are infused with the 3 things I am most passionate about: nature, education and art. The art I create tells real natural world stories, and I believe in the power of bringing beauty and depth to the things we use every day. I believe that authentic change takes place following deep-bedded knowledge. I wanted to create something that wasn’t just pretty but purposeful. The intricacy and the artwork has been designed so that it shows the depth and distinction behind each species."

My first signature product was my heirloom woven recycled cotton blankets that promote nature connectedness by featuring species-accurate artwork that tell natural world stories. Every blanket comes with a Nature Connection Guide, which gives educational information about the species and ecosystem in each design.

Is there a special meaning behind the name Arcana?

Arcana means ‘secrets or mysteries’. It is a word that entered the English language at the start of the Renaissance, and it was often used in reference to the physical and spiritual worlds, and sometimes in reference to specialised knowledge. To us, it represents the ‘secrets of nature’, the magical mixture of science and meaning which underpins the brand.

How are your blankets made?

Our blankets are woven from 75% recycled cotton, 20% spun cotton and 5% polyester that is required in the recycled cotton portion to retain its strength. They are made by a small family run business in the Blue Mountains of North Carolina and ordered in batches to reduce the environmental impact of shipping. They then go to our Studio store in Devon where they are lovingly packaged with their Nature Connection Guides, which are printed in the UK on recycled FSC certified paper.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

For my debut collection, inspiration stemmed directly from my own personal connections to nature. My husband, Jake, is an entomologist so we do moth trapping in our garden every summer with our girls. The incredible hidden biodiversity of our own back garden in Hampshire became the inspiration for the Night Garden Collection. As my collections expand, I continue to tell the narratives of different natural world ecosystems and species that resonate with my audience, from the intertidal zone along the shoreline to the insect pollinators that fill our summer gardens.

Where are you based?

Arcana is very much a small British business and all our products are dispatched from Devon where our team member Linda Fox manages our Studio store. I live with my family between Bristol in England and Belize in Central America where my husband heads up an Environmental Research Institute.

What is your top selling product?

Of the tapestry blankets, these are our bestsellers from the three sizes we have: Large - Night Garden; Medium - Intertidal Sand; Wrap - Pollination Bloom


Which product is your favourite?

That is a hard question because the designs stem from personal memories, but I think my personal favourite is still Night Garden. It was my first design and the first one I ever saw woven. I love the scattering of stars and the vertical storytelling design that runs from ground level to the branches of the trees. It feels quite magical. It might change this year though with the new designs I have in store!

What is your biggest achievement so far?

My biggest achievement is exhibiting at Top Drawer and the partnerships it has allowed me to forge with independent businesses that now stock my blankets, like InSpitalfields. It’s incredibly exciting to me to be in real and inspiring stores where people can see the beauty of the blankets and feel the texture and light weight quality of them in person. So many people think the blankets are heavy and they are so engaged when they feel how soft they are.

Do you have anything planned for this year that you can share with us?

In the Spring I am releasing a new accessory - my Wildlore Patches, which are miniature embroidered works of art telling the story of species symbolic in cultures around the world. I am hoping to launch woven scarves this Autumn / Winter.

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