Last year saw the launch of our Harris Tweed Project, a celebration of the craft behind this iconic Outer Hebridean cloth and the creativity of our islands’ young people.
We wanted to produce a very special pattern for our distillery, to connect us to the age-old culture of tweed weaving here in Harris and its shared values of quality, beauty and provenance.
So, we were proud to collaborate with the Harris Tweed Authority, Harris Tweed Hebrides and our local education services to invite school children from across the islands to explore potential designs.
Through hands-on workshops, practical classroom guides and support from industry and distillery staff, we were delighted to receive over 150 entries by the time the closing date arrived.
After two difficult rounds of judging, we eventually narrowed the field down to just five finalists and presented their imaginative ideas to the talented team at leading producer Harris Tweed Hebrides.
Under the skilled hands and eye of pattern designer Roddy Martin, they’ve now interpreted the children's colourful paintings, drawings and mood boards into real samples of woven cloth.
The results are rather beautiful, and embrace a complex mix of yarn, spun across a myriad of colours, each drawing influence from distillery life and our natural island environs.
Among them, all the copper of the stills can be found alongside the greens and blues of sea and sky, the reds and burnt oranges of a peat fire hiding among the deep browns of hill and heather.
There are complex twills which only reveal their hidden depth upon closer inspection, bold plaids and overchecks, with hints of herringbone here and there.
Next week our judges will gather for the last time to decide once and for all which design will become our first official Isle of Harris Distillery Harris Tweed. It will not be an easy decision to make…
The lucky winner will then join our journey as we follow the making of this marvellous cloth. They’ll discover how wool is dyed and blended, carded and spun, learning all about the art of weaving by local men and women along the way.
Finally, they’ll see the world-famous Orb Mark being applied, a stamp of approval to prove that their design has become genuine Harris Tweed, made right here in the Outer Hebrides and nowhere else.
We look forward to sharing all this with you as the year progresses but meanwhile our sincere thanks go to all those who submitted entries and to the teachers, parents and partners who have supported the project so far.
If the enthusiasm and ability shown in this competition by the young people of these islands are anything to go by, our community’s future is in excellent hands.
For more information please visit www.harrisdistillery.com/harristweedproject