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TreeScarf in Herb & Tree

Price: £50.00
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TreeScarf in Herb & Tree

Our Designer

Orkney isn't the first place that comes to mind when you think of a designer who supplies some of fashion's top names such as Paul Smith, John Rocha, Liberty and Saks 5th Avenue. But since 1990, Ingrid Tait has been kept busy being doing just that – producing scarves, hats, throws and other textiles from her studio in Stromness.

 

  

 

Ingrid Tait of Tait & Style designs all our TreeTwists.  

 

They are 100% wool and made, largely by outworkers, in the Shetland and Orkney Isles meaning that they are 100%  British too.

 

In Ingrid's own words... I first became aware of needlepunching in 1985, while attending a spinning course at Huddersfield Polytechnic. The machine I saw there was used to bond unspun wool to make felt fabric. The end result resembled crude handmade felt, which to my mind looked dated and uninspired. The needlepunching machines were generally used in industry for producing wadding and insulation materials, and were not well adapted for fashion use.

As soon as I saw the technique, however, I became convinced that it had real potential for fashion- fabric manufacture. I set myself the challenge of developing needlepunching as a new bonding/embroidery technique. I wanted to create modern fabrics which could be commercial at the same time as innovative, and continued to develop my ideas alongside my other student work.

In 1986, while studying for a BA in Knitted Textiles at Middlesex Polytechnic (now University), I was commissioned to produce my first range of scarves for Liberty's of London. This initial collection combined abstract felt shapes, fleece and slub wool. The venture was a success, and Liberty's have continued to buy my collections ever since.

I continued to develop the technique and my design vision side by side, believing that one was no use without the other! Many people were supportive, but I should particularly mention Paul Smith, who commissioned me to produce fabric and scarf collections following my MA graduation show from the Royal College of Art in 1989. That type of encouragement fired me up to found a small company designing, producing and selling my accessories and fabrics.

The company is called Tait & Style, and has been based since its earliest days in the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland, where I grew up. Needlepunching has always been at the heart of the company's activities, although we have also tried to developed innovative designs using hand and machine knitting, as well as various embroidery and wet-felting techniques. Orkney is not generally thought of as one of the world's fashion centres, but it does have a tremendous pool of traditional skills that I have drawn on and used as an inspiration. In recent years, as exploring the possibilities of Fair Isle and other knitting have become more and more important to us, I have also worked closely with knitters in the Shetland Islands, to the north of here.'

Tait’s first commissioned products were the needle punch scarves her company still produce today. “I can’t believe I did it, but I just phoned the buyer from Liberty. I suppose at the time they were very new looking. I must have known there was potential, but never in my wildest dreams did I think they would be so successful.”

A desire to do something for our world. To make a contribution (however small). And, to tell people how we felt. We knew that we couldn’t make a significant environmental difference quickly but we felt doing nothing wasn't an option any more, we wanted to do something. Here we are.

Every tree planted adds to the forest, and every tree planted begins a lifetime consuming carbon emissions. We know that we can’t solve the world’s environmental problems overnight, but in buying, giving and wearing TreeTwists you achieve two things. First, you help restore the Caledonian Forest and second, you draw attention to the need to do something to balance the damage we do every day to our earth. One TreeTwist may not seem much but it represents a belief. A belief that we can make a difference, and that it needn't be all pessimism, and doom and gloom.

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