Edinburgh - 13 July 2005 - Another six of Scotland's most talented artisans have opted to have their wares represented within the dynamic luxury brand Thistle & Broom (www.thistleandbroom.com). Thistle & Broom presents an extraordinary collection of luxury goods made exclusively in Scotland to an audience rooted in connoisseurship and a love of Scotland on a global basis.
The new product lines include hand-wrought Orkney Chairs from Scapa Crafts; uniquely knitted and felted soft furnishings from Mary T Design; fine oils of massive scale from renowned painter Richard Wemyss and a couture clothing line which currently includes beautifully hand-stitched kilts, skirts, and cloaks from Piob Mhor which are being made in part of the exquisite Harris Tweeds created by Nike-famed Donald John MacKay of Luskentyre Harris Tweed Company.
To join the luxury co-operative, these artists each met the rigid criteria Thistle & Broom uses to ensure its craftsmen offer only the most opulent Scottish merchandise: they've been hand picked by T&B's Managing Director and Chief Creative Officer Teresa Fritschi. "Each of our offerings are obsessively researched by me and reviewed in person. Often times it's a referral of 'you need to talk to…' that takes me from one end of Scotland to another, island hopping included. I personally meet each supplier to ensure that what is being offered is not only aesthetically perfect but so that I can be assured that the authenticity is unquestioned; we can honestly say that everything is beautifully and inspirationally made in Scotland," says Fritschi.
There is a unified standard of excellence the artisans bring to T&B, they self-edit to ensure that every product is perfection.
"I take tremendous pride in what I do. To underscore that, every one of the chairs carries my own signature and the Scapa Crafts quality seal," says Jackie Miller of Scapa Crafts. "Thistle & Broom's website is a window for the quality crafts of Scotland and allows us to reach customers who are interested in the high quality products we make."
Catherine Aitken offered of her involvement, "I wanted to be part of Thistle & Broom because it reflects everything I bring to my own designs: a love of the Scottish landscape colour palette, the use of traditional materials and an emphasis on luxury and quality. I am also glad to be associated with the other designers and manufacturers involved, whose fabulous work I admire. Thistle & Broom is an ideal opportunity for one stop shopping by those who are inspired by Scotland worldwide".
Uniquely, Thistle & Broom has created a line item of expense for 8 percent of its pre-tax profits to be donated to organisations whose missions sustain various aspects of Scotland's heritage as part of its business model. One of these "Friends" as identified on the T&B website will fund a scholarship/apprenticeship opportunity to study with a master.
Fritschi explains, "I know that our artisans sincerely appreciate how much I care about their work and the future preservation of their unique skills. While we've created a co-operative luxury brand to market their efforts, as far as I know this is the first of its kind in Scotland and possibly the world, it's the continuation of Scotland's traditional arts and crafts, which is so supremely important to our business model. By allowing Scotland's young people to see that there is a high value associated with the handwork of generations of their fore-fathers and mothers in developing a degree of particular skill they can earn a good living doing something that gives them pleasure."
It is for that reason Donald John MacKay and Piob Mhor partnered with T&B.
"There used to be a loom in every household in Scotland's Western Isles, today there are less than 200 weavers of authentic Harris Tweed left. If Scotland casts aside its heritage what will remain of this country's own identity?" asked Donald John MacKay of Luskentyre Harris Tweed. "We've gained some notoriety for our work for Nike, but Teresa's efforts have a vision to sustain our heritage. She's placed a high value on quality and authentic hand craftsmanship as offered throughout Thistle & Broom which, Maureen and I feel will drive demand for all of our products."
Ruthven Milne of Piob Mhor says, "Rarely do you come across a company that is so wholeheartedly committed to supporting the culture, history and landscape of Scotland. Terri's vision has ensured that anyone with an interest in Scotland will immediately warm to this philosophy."
Mary Eric of Mary T Designs echoed these sentiments. "Terri's enthusiasm for continuing to foster Scotland's arts is second to none. She's enriching the national heritage of Scotland for generations to come, and I'm honoured just to be part of the process."
"My work has, up until now, only been seen by those who have heard of, or been in, the proximity of my exhibitions," says Richard Wemyss. "Although the numbers have always been some of the highest many of our local galleries have seen, they are still relatively small numbers when taking a international audience into consideration. Thistle & Broom is the chance to let the wider world with an interest in Scotland see another side of our country."
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