The Orkney Cloth Company is a start up weaving business, founded by India Johnson. After completing a degree in Fine Art from Newcastle University in 2018, and a graduate weaving placement in Orkney, I am setting up my own cloth weaving business. I love design, art and textiles, and this business brings together a desire to revive the weaving industry up here in Orkney.
The Orkney Cloth Company aims to create sustainable hand woven products, which supports traditional craftsmanship and the local community. Our plan is to grow into a Social Enterprise, this will allow us to reinvest in the local community, workforce and ensure a low environmental impact for our products. Our aim is to revive the traditional weaving industry in Orkney, through training and weaving workshops. We want to create a small collections of blankets and scarves on a double width loom, which will allow us to be more sustainable in our production, and eventually weave our own lengths of cloth to sell by the metre.
In order to start commercial weaving, we need to invest in our weaving machinery! Weaving has ceased in Orkney for over 20 years, but at the time, it had greater prominence than Harris Tweed, known for its softness and lightness. The industry ceased due to their reluctance to invest in larger, double width looms. In order to revive the weaving industry, we are keen to invest in a second hand, double width loom. The Griffith Loom is an eco-friendly handloom, allowing us to produce wider blankets, multiple scarves and lengths of cloth.
Investing in a new loom will mean we can speed up production, making small and sustainable batches of handwoven products, and eventually weave our own cloth.
Your pledges towards our project will go towards funding our own double width loom, allowing us to cover the start up costs of weaving our own cloth. Any extra money we raise will go towards further weaving equipment, such as a sectional warper, to help get the yarn onto the loom!
Investing in a double width loom will allow us to invest in weaving training in our local community! At our core, is the aim to invest in traditional skills and craftsmanship, helping younger people get into the textile industry. We want to offer training and mini workshops using our new Griffith loom, helping young people to see the potential in working in the textile industry up here in Orkney!
Orkney is an archipelago off the North Coast of Scotland. Orkney was the capital of Neolithic Orkney and was ruled by Norse rulers until the 15th century. It is a rich fertile land with dramatic sea cliffs, low hills and still Lochs. Due to its high latitude the light here is amazing, influencing our designs.
Orkney has a rich history of weaving, from beautiful linens on Westray to soft colourful tweeds woven by the last commercial weaving mill in Kirkwall. We aim to reinvigorate the industry with fresh, modern environmentally focused designs.
Orkney also runs at over 100% renewable electricity. That means that any electricity used by our studio in the production, lighting and heating is green, and always will be. As the business grows we will source wool from local sheep farmers. In all the wool that we use we will ensure that is it from farms with high animal welfare standards.
As we aim to set up as a Social Enterprise, every time you make a purchase from Orkney Cloth, you will help create jobs, support a local industry, protect heritage and promote the culture of textile design.
At the core of Orkney Cloth, is our desire to work sustainably. This means that we use local suppliers where possible, limiting our products carbon footprint. We will only ever use natural fibres in our products, branding and packaging. And finally, we will endeavour to ensure that our products are finished in an environmentally friendly way, without the use of harsh chemicals.
Our scarves are currently woven by hand. We would love to be able to weave these on a Griffith loom to speed up production, and make them more sustainable to produce. We design and make every single one of our scarves, using 100% supersoft wool. They're long enough to wrap around yourself on a cold winters day, and light enough to tuck into your coat! Our two tone design comes in three colour ways, Mustard, Grey + White.
Approx size 10 x 70"
Our handwoven blankets are seriously soft, with lovely drape. Due to the width of our current loom, these blankets are smaller than the one you will receive! The new width blankets will approximetly 100x145cm and will be big enough to throw over your sofa, pop over the end of your bed, or snuggle up on a cold winter evening in! Pictured below is our mustard + putty design. The colour ways are the same as the scarfs in a pattern similar to the image below.
Approx size 100 x 145cm
We have a hand weaving studio next door, so for these workshops we will be booking the whole studio! For a weekend course, you will learn how to weave on a table loom to make your own scarf. The loom will be already set up, and you will have the joy of weaving it!
We have a hand weaving studio next door, so for these workshops we will be booking the whole studio! This workshop takes place over a weekend of your choice. You will learn to design, warp and weave your own scarf on a table loom.
£10,000 (including £5000 extra pledge by RBS Back Her Business) - With your pledges towards our project, we will use the money to go towards a second hand Griffith loom! This will allow us to hand weave our collection a lot quicker, improving our sustainability and allowing us to produce our own woven collections in house. The Griffith loom weaves double width cloth, meaning we can sell cloth per metre. We will be able to weave extra large blankets too!
£15,000- With your pledges for extra funding, the money will go towards weaving equipment, like a pirn winder, creel and sectional warper!
£20,000- With your pledges, the full amount will provide us with initial rent of our first building, materials and weaver training!
We are allowing 6 months between the project launch and getting your order to you. This allows us enough time to source, buy the loom and get it to Orkney. We will need to get it fine tuned and working, and finally get your order woven. We are expecting that all blanket products will be with you at the latest by the 1st of June, ready for that early summer picnic!
The scarves will be hand woven and we will aim to get them sent by the end of January.
The weaving workshops will take place at a time and week which is suitable for you. The workshops will need to be claimed by the 1st of September.
To get up to date with our project, follow along with us over on Instagram, our website and our Facebook page.
Thank you for your support!