weaver at the loom holding a shuttle

Welcome to my first journal entry! I wanted the journal to be a place on the website where you get to see behind the scenes. I’ll be keeping you updating with my weaving progress, loom search, my inspiration and places to visit amongst other things.

As an avid reader of blogs, I thought this would be a good time to start my own. With the Crowdfund campaign now coming to an end, I thought it would be a good chance to introduce myself and make this my official first post. 

So hello! I’m India Johnson. I didn’t take the usual path to weaving, as I studied Fine Art at Newcastle University. I specialised in painting and printmaking, but my designs often found themselves on textiles. After graduating in 2018, I began to look further afield for where I might like to end up, when I found a Graduate Weaving Placement in Orkney (possibly the furthest place I could’ve gone!) I’d never been up to Orkney, but I loved the sound of the remote and wild landscape, and its ties to tradition and their strong heritage of textiles. Commercial weaving had all but died out, and the placement sought to revive the tradition through teaching hand weaving. I joined Orkney Creative Hub in October 2018, and the placement with ScotGrad lasted a year. After teaching my own programme of workshops in the Loom Room, I knew there was something about weaving that I absolutely loved.

After the placement had finished, I decided to stay up in Orkney. I love living on the island, and it continues to inspire me everyday. Having a background as an artist, I find it’s an amazing place to paint and draw, and this will always be something I continue to do alongside my weaving. I still teach hand weaving classes freelance which I love, but my passion is commercial weaving, and how it can be made more sustainable.

So began the thought to start my own weaving company. I wanted to create contemporary textiles inspired by the place I live, but with sustainability in mind. With so many of us becoming increasingly aware of where and how are clothes are made, I thought this was the right time to get Orkney Cloth off the ground! I wanted people to feel like not only were the investing in a quality product that will last, but also contributing to a wider purpose- investing in the skills and craftsmanship which go into weaving.

I’m passionate about sustainability, and can’t wait to develop Orkney Cloth into an exciting social enterprise, where our mission is to produce contemporary textiles with as little impact on the environment as possible. I’m hoping that by reviving weaving, we’ll encourage others to follow suit too, and train and educate people in the importance of this amazing craft.

And so we’re up to present day! Thank you for taking the time to read my first journal entry, they’ll be many more to come so keep an eye out. I’m so excited to keep you updated on the journey to find a new loom, and all the other exciting things that are coming up this year!

Love, India x

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