Just before the arrival of my second baby was born, I was lucky enough to meet Alice Ross and Rebecca Attwood who make dreamy bedding, and now sleepwear, for wee ones under the name Forivor. They were at the very lovely Dot to Dot London Christmas market at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green with their ridiculously beautiful duvet sets.
The magical bedding tells the story of a fantastical land with one side depicting regular animals during their day and the other depicting their transformation into fantastical dream creatures to stir sleeping imaginations.
Like me they had an upbringing filled with dream literature landscapes of Lord of the Rings and undisturbed opportunities to explore wild and untamed places. They’ve truly channeled that into these heirloom pieces that would transform any nursery.
Tell me about your family.
AR – I don’t have any children yet but my family are extremely important to me. We’re really close and both my parents are creative… painting, making things and turning their home into a kind of curated museum, full of beautiful objects and trinkets. My family are a true inspiration to me and their creativity is always present in my illustrations and thought processes.
RA – I have a 2 year old daughter, Remie and she’s the best. I’m really close to my two brothers and my mum and Forivor is actually named after my dad who was called Ivor. We grew up in the middle of nowhere on the Welsh Borders without electricity so storytelling and reading books was a huge part of my childhood. I have vivid memories of my dad reading Lord of the Rings to us and being terrified by the dark riders – I still refuse to watch the films as I don’t want it to take away the version I created in my head as a child. I am so grateful to my parents for the childhood they created for us – it was truly magical and although technology is inevitably a big part of my life now, if I can I want to ensure as much of the elements of nature, storytelling and wonder are a part of Remie’s life too.
Tell me all about Forivor.
AR – Forivor’s super-soft organic cotton bedding, takes children on a journey from day into night, where interest in the natural world meets the imagination of bedtime. Bedding is such an important and memorable part of our childhoods. My duvet growing up was so boring, but I have such fond memories of it because I went to bed with it for about 10 years. We wanted to create magical bedding that you could look at again and again and spot something new each time.
RA – Forivor is about creating wonderful memories that you will remember for the rest of your lifetime. The theme of an enchanted forest provides the perfect backdrop for the imagination to grow but we also wanted to get children passionate about nature with the facts on nature included on the Character Cards. Making the textile industry less wasteful and harmful has always been at the core of Forivor and what better and more important place is there to start, than with children’s bedding.
What does it mean to you and how does it make you feel?
AR – When I first met Bex and she explained the idea and story behind Forivor to me, l got it straight away. The idea of transformation, between day and night and two worlds; where children could begin to build their own stories at an age where your imagination is your most powerful tool. What’s been a surprise to us is how much adults have taken to the concept and loved the idea and design. Our most frequent request has been whether we could do a double size or a version for adults. It goes to show that our imagination is still our most powerful tool and we have a desire to surround ourselves in stories and creativity. Seeing people’s faces light up when they see the design has been the best feeling and knowing that all our hard work has been worth it.
RA – We only started sending out to our first customers in November and it has been the most incredible feeling seeing people enjoying our designs. If we can create just a few magical memories for children to take with them through life then I would be extremely happy. The ultimate goal for me personally is to contribute to an increased awareness and action on environmental issues – its a grand goal but i’m a believer in two things: every little action counts and that businesses that do good business can make a huge impact. We’re only small but I am excited to try and do as much as we can as we grow.
What the hardest part about it is – is it managing the kids or something else?
AR – Alongside Forivor, I work at The British Museum and The National Portrait Gallery. In many ways there is a real synergy between them and it has given me a lot of flexibility during the initial stages of launching a company with Rebecca. It can be hard to find the right balance and feel that you are giving everything the right amount of attention it deserves, but I also feel really proud about how far we’ve come managing everything else life throws at you.
RA – Managing my time with Remie is the most challenging part of getting Forivor off the ground. In the early days it was easy enough to have her sleeping in the sling while I got some work done, but its not fair on her if i’m distracted by Instagram / emails / phone calls while I’m with her. I do a work swap with a close friend who has a son the same age and it really helps as it makes work time and childcare time much more clear cut. Looking after two children the same age requires my full attention in the mornings and I enjoy doing different activities with them. In the afternoons I work on Forivor and in those few hours I can get a lot of things done.
What or who is your inspo?
AR – I’m obsessed with book illustrators like Maurice Sendak and Jan Pienkowski, their ability to bring words alive in children’s books still astounds me and encourages me to find new ways to explore narrative and feelings in my own work. When I was thinking about starting to draw the world of Forivor, I thought back to getting lost in the pages of books I loved as a child. Having studied History of Art at University, I draw a lot of inspiration from artists, although I always like the slightly more surreal painters, particularly from France. I think Instagram is great because you get to see such a range of artists all having a go at something. I think it’s also important to step away from everything to find your own voice, it’s easy to get disheartened and distracted looking elsewhere for inspiration too.
RA – I had the idea for Forivor back in 2012 – one of those ideas that comes in the night and I remember waking up in the morning and telling my now husband about my idea – he was convinced from the beginning that it would work and he has been our biggest fan / investor and supporter ever since. It would definitely not have been possible without him. The inspiration behind the Enchanted Forest collection was definitely my childhood on the Welsh borders – next to the river where we used to play there was this tree that had roots we could crawl down into like an underground burrow. We would go there often to see what the river would bring next .