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Friday, 12 February 2016

Harris Tweed: From the Land

Design, craftsmanship, community, heritage and landscape. All things close to my heart and all subjects embraced by a beautiful and moving new exhibition at Rheged near Penrith. Harris Tweed: From the Land is the culmination of ten years work by fine art photographer Ian Lawson, ‘capturing the essence of the place we call home’, the chairman of the Harris Tweed Authority, Norman Macdonald, told those at last night’s exhibition launch. Home is Harris, Lewis and their 35 or so associated islands in the Outer Hebrides, ‘some of the most remote parts of Europe’. Remoteness didn’t stop 24 islanders making their way to Cumbria to celebrate Ian Lawson’s talent and sensitivity, his photographs complemented by a display of bags and jackets, all marked with the ‘oldest, continuous trademark in the UK’ (since 1906). Bags, clothes and furniture can also be seen in Rheged’s new Harris Tweed shop where Ian’s photographic book Harris Tweed: From the Land is also sold. Opening the show last night, Patrick Grant, creative director of Norton & Sons in Savile Row, and judge on the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee, enthused over the way Ian had ‘paired the cloth with the landscape’ in numerous photographs (see pictures). The Outer Hebrides, he said, were ‘one of the most beautiful places on earth’. Having seen the exhibition, heard the words, smelt the sea and felt the cloth, I’m checking the ferry times already.

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