In June 2012, Twilling Tweeds invited Chitrali embroiderers to participate in a series of creative workshops, where they were exposed to basic photography, drawing and coloring techniques. Their own daily lives, people, objects and anecdotes became the immediate source of inspiration.  The workshops gave them the space to tell their stories in their own words and drawings; interpreting the life of both communities.  Throughout the workshops the women’s conversation and tales were recorded.  These made up the accompanying narratives.

Adil Iqbal, conducted a series of Art workshops in the Chitral valley, where he introduced aspects of Scottish culture and encouraged discussion on similarities of the two cultures to the female embroiderers.The workshops were conducted in partnership with the team of Mogh Ltd (Local Social Enterprise).

Adil said: ‘My aim when creating this collection was to connect textile workers in remote areas of Pakistan with those in the Outer Hebrides, creating a bridge between communities and promoting a cultural awareness between the two countries ’.

During the workshops, we invited the women to gather and discuss the following themes:

  • Wedding traditions 
  • Traditional songs and poems 
  • Childlore/Folklore
  • Traditional Food and Kitchen objects
  • Cultural traditions / Music 

The aim was to connect the weavers of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland with the female embroiderers of Chitral, North West Frontier of Pakistan.  A series of contemporary hand-loomed embroidered textiles interpret Scottish and Chitrali stories through illustrated narratives. The artwork incorporatesPakistani narratives illustrated on Harris Tweed as well as Scottish narratives on Chitrali calico.

The tapestries aim to depict the uniqueness of life in the Outer Hebrides and Chitral Valley. These ancient traditions will be preserved so that the skills of the artisans are not lost.

The pieces are illustrated and embellished by female artisans from Chitral.  This project encourages the women to be creative designers and gives them the space to tell their stories in their own words and drawings ; interpreting the life of both communities. 

Project funded by Dewar Arts Award and The Harris Tweed Authority.