Sharing a vision for innovative design
and a love of natural fibres.
We've been exploring the Scottish highlands and islands this past year, seeking out the remote surf spots; traversing these remote Northern Isles to test our products and find stories and new inspiration. It was our pursuit of uncrowded waves that took us there; a shared love of wool which led to our collaboration with Bute Fabrics.
Here at Finisterre, our commitments to product, people and the environment always have been at the core of what we do. It therefore made perfect sense that we found affinity with Bute Fabrics. Remote but also easily accessible to the mainland by ferry, the mill was originally set up by the Marquess of Bute for the community at the end of the second world war, providing accommodation and employment for returning service men and women. The last remaining original employee passed away last year.
Bute Fabrics now employees around 44 staff members, some of whom are local to the island, others who commute to the island using the ferry, and some of which span more than one generation - a succession of experienced workers and fresh younger eyes, plus up to 6 Scottish Textiles Apprentices experiencing a hands on training. A similar size to Finisterre, and also similarly only a stones throw from the sea, part of the landscape of colours and textures which provides so much inspiration.
The Isle of Bute Blanket
As old as the hills, or thereabouts, woven blankets have been keeping us warm for centuries - the first known woven checks were found stuffed into the mouth of a pot with almost 2,000 Roman coins inside, dating from the 3rd century. We wanted to draw on the centuries of tradition, paired with the Finisterre touch and the Bute signature colour and texture, we set about creating our own contemporary bespoke plaid featuring bright fishing boat colours.
The check is first hand woven onto an A4 sized hand loom to create a sample, and then adjusted to reflect the correct colours - the Finisterre orange needed brightening, for example. When weaving a blanket like this, the warp and weft threads cross at right angles, producing a checked pattern. Where the two threads of the same colour cross, the colour is solid; where two of different colours cross they create a third. Once perfect, the 100% lambswool blankets are then woven on a dobby loom at Bute, before being softened and teasled and a fringed edge created.
Words by Rachel Buchanan | Images by David Gray and Bute Fabrics