India Johnson has set up a new social enterprise, Orkney Cloth Company, to revive weaving in Orkney. She has set up a Crowdfund campaign in order to raise funds for a double width loom, so that weaving can continue once again on the island.
Commercial weaving in Orkney had ceased in the mid-1970s, with both weaving mills, Sclaters and Argarden closing. At the time, their cloth had greater prominence than Harris Tweed, and was known for its softness and lightness. Orkney Cloth Company aims to bring this tradition back to the island.
In order to start commercial weaving, the company needs to invest in their weaving machinery. The industry ceased due to the weaving mills reluctance to invest in larger, double width looms. In order to revive the weaving on the Island, they have set up a Crowdfund project, using funds from their pre-orders to invest in a second hand, double width loom. The Griffith Loom is an eco-friendly handloom, allowing the business to sustainably produce wide blankets, multiple scarves and lengths of cloth.
Their key aim is to invest in traditional skills and craftsmanship, helping younger people get into the textile industry, offer training, mini workshops and demonstrations using their new Griffith loom, helping young people to see the potential of working in the textile industry in Orkney.
They are aiming to raise £5,000, which will be match funded by RBS scheme Back Her Business.
India Johnson, Orkney Cloth’s founder says “I came to Orkney last October and fell in love with weaving and the landscape. Weaving often reflects the place its made, and I saw an amazing opportunity to revive Orkney’s rich weaving heritage, whilst combining it with contemporary design”
Take a look at the project below: