Harris Tweed Hebrides X Blackhouse Student Design
The brief was to design an authentic Harris Tweed interior weight fabric that would embrace creativity, provenance and innovation to enhance the established Harris Tweed Hebrides and Blackhouse furniture collaboration.
Harris Tweed Hebrides and Blackhouse tasked students with the challenge of designing a woven pattern that was true to the traditions of Harris Tweed and would fit within the design aesthetic of Blackhouse. Illustrating how fabric design can bring new innovation to existing furniture collection shapes and attract new customers for both Blackhouse and Harris Tweed Hebrides.
Submissions for the competition were asked to explain yarn colour choice, weave structure, fabric texture, furniture design whilst referencing the Harris Tweed Hebrides and Blackhouse collaboration.
With a working title of Dualchas, which is the Gaelic term for ‘community and landscape working together’ with ergonomics meets the natural environment as a key theme. GORM was selected as the winning design from Ruby Gardner, Glasgow School of Art.
“Blackhouse are Scotland’s only handcrafted luxury Harris Tweed furniture company. Harris Tweed embodies everything Blackhouse associate with the rugged landscape of Scotland’s unique Hebridean Islands. Vibrant heathers, subtle mosses, wild lochs, moody mountains and impressive skies are all entwined in the DNA of our beautiful Harris Tweed. Using the winning GORM fabric design from Ruby and carefully selected, sustainably sourced and handcrafted hard wood timber frames, we created a piece that is not only beautifully made but is built to last a lifetime.” Graham Blackadder, Director Blackhouse
“I was very much impressed with all the work Ruby put into this project, particularly based on the challenging circumstances which limited the interaction with Harris Tweed Hebrides and Blackhouse ahead of the project submission. It was also during a time when university studies were so disrupted, and it has been to her credit that this piece of work has been so successful. The judging team involved in the Harris Tweed Hebrides & Blackhouse, Campaign for Wool design competition certainly hope this project will help as Ruby progresses with her studies and possibly heads into the world of textile design as a career choice. Ruby’s fresh colour palette and innovative approach to designing a new Harris Tweed® pattern was noted by the judging panel, along with her clear vision for the structure of the fabric pattern used to create a unique and distinctive piece of furniture within the Blackhouse Harris Tweed® range.” Margaret A Macleod, Sales Director Harris Tweed Hebrides
(The comments are on behalf of the full judging panel which included Mark Hogarth Harris Tweed Hebrides, Moira Leishman Navy Blue Textile Designer, Graham Blackadder Blackhouse, and Elaine Bremner Glasgow School of Art).
The Campaign for Wool Competition allowed final year weave students to work on live project briefs set by industry leaders in woven textiles. Students in recent years have become increasingly interested in sustainability and working with wool fits well with this. The project gave them the opportunity to work within the commercial boundaries set by the companies while also challenging their perception of wool, its application and to consider possible careers in the wool related industries. The competition was launched at what could have been the worst possible time as lockdown was immediately announced but this provided a fantastic focus for students to continue to be creative and work in new ways. The positive feedback from companies was a welcome boost to the students and publicity around wool week will provide much appreciated publicity for the now graduates.
“My project with Harris Tweed has been a breath of fresh air during lockdown, allowing me to explore the stunning landscapes of the Scottish Hebrides. The versatility of wool has allowed me to achieve both a haze of bold colour and a detailed exploration of the islands’ unique structures. To see my design transform from a digital fabric simulation to a tangible product has been incredible, so I would again like to thank all those involved at Harris Tweed for the incredible opportunity.” Ruby Gardner, Winning Student
100% Pure New Wool cloth from Harris Tweed Hebrides, Harris Tweed is the only fabric in the world with its own Act of Parliament ensuring the highest copyright protection of the hand woven cloth and unique designs. Chair and fabric available to order from www.blackhouse.co.uk