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Wallace Society Tartan


Welcome to our first Guest Blogger - Christine Macleod from the famous Kilbarchan Weaver's Cottage where she's curator, weaver and gifted enthusiast of all things tartan and the little village of Kilbarchan which used to house over 800 individual weavers.

Went to the Isle of Bute with my daughters Iona and Cara on the day the weaving Society of William Wallace tartan came off the loom.

The building , now Bute Fabrics, was once a convent and an orphanage with the
addition of the workshops to hold the ten or so looms This west coast island mill works to create beautiful cloth, which is sent all over the world. It produces fabric now furnishing places like Hong Kong airport, The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and The Queen's Gallery in Holyrood Palace.to name ut a few.

I met the managing director, James Sprint and a number of other friendly staff, but spent most of the time with designers Catherine and Fiona. They gave us a fascinating tour of the weaving shop and all the techniques involved in production. It was amazing to see how weaving has developed today from the old traditional handloom that I use in a village just a few miles over the water. When I first saw the piece of cloth for the Wallace Society being woven, it was an emotional moment. From the initial ideas for shades and thread count, designed to include important links with our patriot William Wallace, came a beautiful piece of cloth that I'm sure that many people will be proud to wear.

The attention to detail was immense. The cloth is woven on a rapier loom, the first time that I have seen such modern technology in action! Stuart, the weaver is a man of Bute and his equivalent in 1298 would have gone with Wallace to the Battle of Falkirk.

We were then shown all of the processes of inspection that the tartan will go through before it leaves the island bound for the finishers in Galashiels and Selkirk, before being returned to Ken MacDonald's shop in Paisley for uplift by he members of The Society!

One of my daughters present said that she could see that Bute Fabrics was "my kind of place", believe me, that's a huge compliment! It was an unforgettable day, and the very first time that any cloth that I have designed has ever been commercially produced. It is not done for profit or gain, but because it means omething very personal to many people. I wish that they could all have been there to see it happen and produced on an island so close to home that has such historic links with Wallace. It is a small place that takes the tradition of Scotland and Scottish fabrics to the wider world and breaks barriers between traditional and contemporary design. It is roducing top quality fabrics to suit today's environment and expectations. I could think of no better place this to have this tartan woven.

Written by Christine MacLeod at 00:00

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