One of the main goals of my reading week was to get hold on some Harris Tweed for me to play with. I managed to get a couple of swatches from a furniture store but the real score came from my cousin, Rachael, who happens to be a weaver herself. She was able to give me quite a lot of scrap pieces that she had sent down from Lewis.
Rachael is a fourth year illustration student at Glasgow School of Art and is currently doing a dissertation on Harris Tweed and Island Identity. She has very kindly provided me with a lot of information and insight based on her own research and personal experience. After explaining my idea of tracing the weave back to the weaver she pointed out that the weaver often has no idea what happens to the cloth they make. Rachael often wonders what happened to hers and where in the world it might be by now.
It’s apparent that weavers form a certain bond with the cloth they make from the hours spent weaving – it’s a shame that they rarely get to see the fruits of their labour and thats something I think my project could potentially overcome. For now though, I’m looking forward to thinking of ways to experiment with the tweed Rachael has given me.
Rachael spent last summer learning to weave and now has her own registration number allowing her to produce authentic Harris Tweed. Her blog can be found on her Tweedy Tales blog.