Lulu Lytle, long smitten with the romance and versatility of rattan, bought the machinery from the last remaining rattan weavers in Britain, Angraves, in order to establish Soane Britain's rattan workshop in Leicestershire, England. Currently, Soane employs twelve craftsmen to make its own range of rattan furniture and lighting as well as bespoke commissions.
"Threadbare stools found in Egyptian tombs and the Titanic's deck chairs are among the precedents for woven plant-fiber products made by the workshop Soane Britain, as the company's co-founder, Lulu Lytle, explains in "Rattan: A World of Elegance and Charm" (Rizzoli, $65, 224 pp.)...The book illustrates luminaries relaxing on curlicued or streamlined rattan, including Tsar Nicholas II, Elsie de Wolfe, David Hockney and Elizabeth Taylor. Ms. Lytle also details how craftspeople steam and ply the material. I for one could imagine spending a therapeutic day helping out at the Soane Britain workshop. Ms. Lytle reports that rattan sprouts surface hairs that need to be laboriously singed away, and 'when it is cropped it smells like mown hay.'"-The New York Times