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October 22, 2016 By Andy Ross

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A mashup of news

It has been an exciting week with all sorts of things going on. Here is our news...

On Sunday we finished weaving the cloth for The Shetland Tweed Company. Sixty metres of cloth has come off the loom; the longest piece we have ever made! Kirsty wove it in the main because I have been busy doing grant applications and new websites and business planning (more about all that shortly) and it looks fab. Now the length needs to go to the finishers and hopefully it will come back soft and fulled out, ready for sale to everyone. How fantastic is that?! We will let you all know when it is ready...

Business planning is necessary and I am very glad that we now have all the plans for the various companies. I have learnt a whole lot more about business planning while doing these and I think the best advice I have for anyone doing a plan is "tell the story". Telling people why we want to do the things we want to do, how we want to do those things and what resources we need has been an interesting and useful exercise to go through. Onwards and upwards!

People sent wonderful things through to us. Mesmerising sand tables (watch the video), a poll from Kate Davies (yes, I know Kate is a knit designer but the book is about people you who work with wool and I think it will be a great publication), and a film about tweed from the National Library of Scotland. We watched a fascinating documentary on iPlayer about the exchange of art and ideas from Ancient Greek to China. (Who knew the terracotta army could actually have been influenced by Classical Europe?) and we learned that Dr Seuss made sculptures and paintings in secret. We were reminded of the translucent ants eating coloured liquids post and we had glorious weather for walking to work and taking many photographs. This week we had mist lying in the valleys, and brilliant light and fantastic red grass outlining deep blue lochs and sea. Oh, and the Crafts Council posted a link to Mariko Kusumoto's fabulous textile sculptures which you can wear!

Hannah started to learn how to thread Alvin the loom ably taught by Kirsty, and we managed to put two grant applications in for a Big Project which we will tell you all about later in the year. Daisy, the intern, left us - thanks Daisy for spending time here. It was great having you around. 

And in the wider world we stayed in touch with family and friends in South Africa where the Higher Education sector is undergoing great strain with student protests and state crackdowns. It is times like this when creative work becomes much more important because we all need to know people are making lovely things by exploring the Big Wide World of Wonder out there and that life is not always full of strife and conflict. Let's hope that the South African people can find a way to get through this. In the meantime, please know that we are thinking of you all and hoping things calm down soon. 

The studio will be closed in November while Kirsty and I are both away. If you want to visit, please call and see if Maggie or Hannah is in - 01957 744 355. We hope you have enjoyed the summer as much as we have. Enjoy the rest of the autumn and speak to you all in December. 

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