Tartan patterns are often about telling the story of a place. And more often than not it’s topographical features that inspire the designs. So here is our visual story of where we live: the Glendale Tartan.
We’ve been wanting to design a local tartan for a while. We finally started working on the design this spring and it’s been very exciting to see it come to life in its woven form. We’ve used the pattern to weave scarves in two colourways to begin with: Glendale Summer and Glendale Winter. But I’m sure the pattern will re-emerge in other variations and products before too long.
The starting point was the environment around us that we are immersed in every day: the glen. We first thought about how to define its visual features. We agreed on five key elements: the Hamara river, fertile fields next to the river, the two roads lined by houses either side of the glen, the hill beyond them, and the sea.
Of course there’s a lot more to Glendale than this short list – most importantly, its people and its fascinating history. We decided to focus on the visuals, though, because anyone coming into the glen is stopped in their tracks (often literally) by the amazing view you get coming over the brae.
Viewed from above, the glen looks pretty symmetrical. (You can check this out by climbing Macleod’s Tables; or you could just look at Google Earth!) There’s the Hamara river along the centre of the glen and fields either side of it, lined by the Fasach and Homisdale roads, and above that the rougher hill grounds. Towards the north-west Glendale borders onto the sea, or more precisely Loch Pooltiel.
I started putting these elements into a little drawing.
I then translated these ideas into something we can weave. I did this first on paper and then using a computer weaving software we work with.
We decided to weave a summer and a winter version of the pattern. While the glen and the hills look very green with heather in the summer, in winter the green fades and the yellowish-brown hills become more dominant. The two pictures below show what we had in mind with our colour choice. The sea is a strong presence throughout as well, so we gave it quite a lot of space in our design.
Here’s how those pictures translated to our computer weave plan.
Fast forward a few months, and here they are: Glendale Tartan Scarves in the online shop.
Watch our short video to see the scarves on the loom and find out more about the design.
It was such a pleasure to work on this design and to attempt to weave our locality into a textile. We hope the Glendale Tartan evokes a sense of this very special place.