I had a wonderful holiday in Scotland a few months ago, and discovered the incredibly beautiful island of Harris - where not only are the islanders still making traditional Harris Tweed - but the industry is going gang-busters.
This, I'm sure, is largely due to the excellent management of the brand (apparently the Harris Tweed is one of the world's best known brands) by the Harris Tweed Authority.
The bulk of tweed is still hand-woven by islanders, usually on their own farms (crofts) from their own sheep, using traditional looms and equipment - it's literally a cottage industry. However, what's really causing the surging world demand for this cloth is the fact that no longer is it just the domain of leather-elbow-patched jackets for old gents, it's now produced in a stunning array of modern colours.
I had a delightful time trying to choose what to bring home in my limited luggage allocation (Geoff was very patient!) - but consoled myself with the list of suppliers who'll I'll be buying and importing fabric from in future.
Here are a few shots of the first Rapt! chair done in Harris Tweed, followed by some of my time on the island.
If you're interested in learning more about Harris Tweed, I strongly recommend a newly published book titled 'FROM THE LAND COMES THE CLOTH'. Written and published by Ian Lawson, it's basically a photographic 'documentary' showing the link between the land (islands of the Outer Hebrides), the islanders, their sheep (and sheepdogs!) and the way the fabric is produced. It's a magnificent publication largely because the photos are astounding.