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Published: 23 November 2019

By Andy Ross

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Scottish Home Industries

A charming book has been added to the library: Scottish Home Industries by Alexander Ross.

Reprinted in 1974, this small tome was originally published in 1895 and was produced by the Scottish Home Industries Association. Some background reading produced this article from October 1889 about the formation of the Association, it being established by the Countess of Rosebery after the successful sale of Scottish-made work in London. The purpose of the Association was to support the small-scale industries of the country, reacting against the increasing mechanisation and industrialisation of craft processes. 

The book is actually only the introduction to the original 200 page document, written by Provost Alexander Ross of Inverness, which was produced to highlight the scheme's progress in each area of Scotland. Scattered throughout are lovely illustrations; a spindle whorl, Shetland lace knitting..., and lots of information about the ways in which people lived and worked at the end of the 19th Century. 

The Scottish Home Industries Association was only disbanded in 1957, leaving a legacy of the appreciation of small-scale crafting and having been instrumental in taking what were subsistence activities into the commercial realm. We continue to benefit to this day from that work. 

The library in the studio is open to the public. Please contact us if you would like to come along and use the books and documents, or see the textile collection. We are open all year round, except between the middle of December to the middle of January when we are closed for the festive season.