The story behind Sami Couper’s Ombre cushions by Faith Eckersall

Hand Dyed Linen Cushion

There is more than a touch of a magician about Sami Couper; split-second timing, a deftness of hand, and the ability to transform a piece of plain linen into an everyday work of art.

It can take her up to 20 dips to achieve the perfect ombre, that imperceptible fade; from brilliant fuchsia to palest blush, from intense jade to the faintest mint.

We met Sami at a trade show and her products really stood out for us – we found them a perfect fit for Sorbet Living; unique (we’re always looking for that!) and the bright, sorbet colours were spot on. They represent everything about the look we want to create for our customers as well as fulfilling our commitment to buying handmade and supporting British design.


Hand Dyed Linen Cushion in CoralAlways fascinated by fabrics

‘I’ve always experimented and made things for myself,’
Sami decided to start making cushions to furnish her new home in Nottingham.

The ombre technique is one of those that is easy to describe and very tricky to achieve because, says Sami: ‘So many things affect it – you have to mix the dye at the right temperature or you can get little dots in it and when you’re dyeing outside, the wind can be a terrible problem. If I get a sudden breeze I panic.’

Dyeing indoors as its own difficulties, too, mainly in the setting up; with its innumerable cloths and towels to lay out and the dangers of a sudden splash.

But once she’s in the flow it is, says Sami; ‘Almost mesmerising, watching the colour appear.’

Because they are handmade – each cushion goes through a ten-step process and that’s excluding the dips – they are all different, representing the moment in time of their creation. Sami relishes the idea that while they represent true craftsmanship, they are definitely made to be used.

She has created her cushions in dark greys and blues but her favourites are the brighter colours which remind her of her native Tasmania, and again, these airy, bright colours of Australia, combined with the white linen, are integral to Sorbet Living’s interior style.

‘I live in Nottinghamshire now and have a baby and a five-year-old, so spend a lot of time inside our home’ Sami says. ‘Because of this I think it’s more important than ever to have beautiful things to look at, and to use.’

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