Agate & Ayre

Location: Glasgow, UK

April Hay | @agateandayre |

I am a digital textile designer and seamstress, and the one-woman operation behind Agate & Ayre. I work from my home studio in Glasgow, UK, creating slowly made accessories that feature my textile designs inspired by Scottish geology. My work is sold through my website and in selected galleries across Scotland.

The primary inspiration for my textile designs is my own photographs of rocks and mineral textures found around Scotland. Each design is named after the stone or geological process that inspired it, and through social media, I delve deeper into the details, sharing knowledge in a way that is accessible and interesting. I believe very strongly that science is for everyone, irrespective of academic ability or background. I’m a very visual learner and I hope that my work ignites a passion for geology in a way that a textbook never could for me.

My journey really started in 2016, while I was in my last year at Gray’s School of Art, when I began to explore the relationship between science and design. I wanted to take a science subject that I loved and turn it into a beautifully visual collection of textiles to be appreciated by anyone. I grew up in Aberdeen and my summer holidays were spent exploring Scotland’s beautiful ‘ayres’ (shingle beaches), so it made sense in every way to use my experience of geology to inform my work.

It wasn’t until 2020, when I lost my job in the pandemic, that I decided it was time for me to make Agate & Ayre a reality. I’m still working from my spare bedroom-turned-studio, but I took the time in lockdown to really perfect my sewing skills to elevate my collection of products. My work reflects my personal values of being as sustainable as possible and not encouraging overconsumption. My textiles are printed in the UK using environmentally conscious inks, with minimal water waste, and my hand-sewn accessories are designed to transcend seasons. You’ll want to hold onto them forever.

I like to think of Agate & Ayre as my own creative brain on the page. When customers buy a piece of my work, I want them to feel that connection to the Scottish landscape as seen through my camera. Every detail of my products is considered. I’m very particular about not only the source of my raw materials but also the tactile nature of them. I love selling in person, as customers can appreciate how well made and hard-wearing my pieces are, but having an online presence lets me reach customers further away than my doorstep. This has been key in my journey as a pandemic-born brand, especially through lockdowns.

Along with my ready-to-shop home and fashion accessories, I also offer a clothing commission service which allows customers to order a piece that is completely made to measure. I love designing and making clothing commissions and I hope to keep growing this side of my work. I’ve found a niche market of geology students who commission graduation dresses from me, which has been one of my proudest achievements. I’ve had orders for them from as far away as the USA, which really affirms for me the originality of my work.

My vision for Agate & Ayre is to grow at a level that feels sustainable to me. I absolutely love what I do, and the way that I do it, sewing products in small batches myself. I don’t launch new designs every season; new product drops are always small, but that way I can ensure the quality and longevity of my work.

I’d love to move back to the coast and have my own studio space so that I can continue to build the apparel side of Agate & Ayre. But mostly I just want to keep sharing my passion for the Scottish landscape and do my bit to get people to notice the gorgeous inspiration to be found at their feet.

““ I wanted to take a science subject that I loved and turn it into a beautifully visual collection of textiles to be appreciated by anyone.””
— April Hay
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