The machines that we use are most commonly recognized as the machines used to produce traditional Harris Tweed. Harris Tweed is a specific type of fabric made only with local wool in Scotland on the Outer Hebrides Islands. To get the Harris Tweed stamp of approval, weavers and producers must adhere to these regulations and work through the Harris Tweed Authority. At Bare Cloth, we implement a similar concept as the Harris Tweed Authority in that we also use only wool from our region to produce our products, as well.
The Story of the Journey of Our Machines
While on a family trip to Scotland to honor her grandparents Keila McCracken and her family traveled to the Outer Hebrides where Harris Tweed is made and hand woven in the homes of local artisans. Within 48 hours of being on the island the family was invited into many homes of the weavers, where they eventually got to see a working Hattersley Domestic Loom. If you ask Keila's parents they will tell you they instantly knew that a Hattersley Loom would one day be stateside for Keila to work on and use. At the time Keila was working to find a more affordable and realistic way to produce wool cloth in the Northern Minnesota Fibershed to produce sustainable clothing for women that live in the northern woods.
To make a long story short... Keila connected with Daniel Harris of the London Cloth Company. Daniel had a working Hatterlsey Domestic Loom and Pirn Winder that he was willing to sell, plans were put into place to fund this dream and purchase the machines to eventually come stateside.
Thanks to a generous Region 2 Arts grant and a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign, Bare Cloth purchased these two machines. From doorstep to doorstep, it took well over two months for the machines to arrive in Bemidji, Minn - home of Bare Cloth. While we were not able to secure a Warping Mill, we are working with a local group of machinists, engineers and designers to make our very own Bare Cloth Warping Mill.
A Big "Thank You" Goes to...
The search for these machines took months, and in some cases well over a year, to locate. The Hattersley Loom and Pirn Winder were bought from Daniel Harris of the London Cloth Company. Daniel is one of the few remaining Hattersley experts in the world. He works with the Looms, restoring them to working condition, even after they have sat for 50 years in old barns collecting dust and rust. In the summer of 2015 Keila McCracken traveled to London to be trained by Daniel on the Bare Cloth Hattersley Loom.
Bare Cloth would like to recognize and thank two main groups for your help and support. First, Daniel of the London Cloth Company - your dedication and enthusiasm for restoring these majestic machines along with your willingness to share your time and knowledge are making this Bare Cloth dream possible. Second, "thank you" to all of you who supported our Kickstarter project, "Hattesley Loom: Making Eco-Wool Fabric." You are all an active part of making this a reality. Thank you!