Since late last year, we’ve been exploring the craft and creativity of our community’s young people through The Harris Tweed Project as we set local schoolchildren the challenge of designing a new and very special Isle of Harris Distillery tweed.
After running a series of practical workshops in collaboration with our friends at the Harris Tweed Authority and Harris Tweed Hebrides, we were delighted to receive over 150 entries in an island-wide competition to create the final design.
After a difficult first round of shortlisting, our combined team of judges were able to narrow the field down to 34 submissions before the tough task of selecting the best five to go through to the final.
Luckily, we were helped in this process by the knowledge and experience of the Harris Tweed Authority’s chief executive Lorna Macaulay who joined us for an afternoon of discussion and tough decisions. Lorna tolds us…
“It was a real treat to view the entries and a real challenge to whittle them down to just 5. The young people who entered the competition grasped from the very outset the core values of the Isle of Harris Distillery and surprised me with their ability to translate that into a woven design concept."
"It should come as some comfort to us in the Harris Tweed industry that there are young islanders coming through who clearly have the skill and interest to continue in their generation what those 150 years ahead of us started. I'm looking forward to seeing the outcome of the next stage in this interesting journey.”
So, we’re now delighted to announce that the five finalists are…
Ethan Macaulay (P3) - Leverhume Memorial School
Kate Macleod (P6) - Sgoil Nan Loch
Abby Burley (P7) - Laxdale Primary
Neil Morrison (S3) - Sir E Scott School
Scott Murray (S3) - Sir E Scott School
Their handiwork is now in the hands of the talented team at Harris Tweed Hebrides, the UK’s leading producer of Harris Tweed based at their busy mill in the village of Shawbost, Isle of Lewis.
Harris Tweed Hebrides have been instrumental in the revival and ongoing success of this historic cloth over the last decade and regularly work with the world’s best designers, fashion houses and style brands to produce their beautiful cloth.
So, we’re very fortunate to have them collaborate with us on this project as they now set to work transforming the ideas and inspiration behind each of the finalists’ work into tangible pieces of Harris Tweed.
The result of their efforts will be real samples of Harris Tweed cloth, made using wonderful pure new wool which has been dyed, spun and woven by hand right here in the Outer Hebrides.
We’ll be sharing photographs of these swatches with you when they’re finally ready and our founder Anderson Bakewell will then choose the overall winner who will go on to follow the production of their design to completion as a roll of genuine Harris Tweed.
Meantime, if you’d like to learn more about Harris Tweed, we’d encourage you to visit the links below and discover another great local industry sharing our values and ambitions for long-term success here in our island home.