Blairgowrie Berries and Cherries tartan
The Tartan: The much-admired hand-woven tartan was on display at Ashleigh’s Warpweftweave Studio in Lesley Street during the 2014 Perthshire Open Studios and caught the eye of Melanie Thomson of local fruit growers Thomas Thomson (Blairgowrie) Ltd. Melanie was excited to discover the inspiration behind it and decided to support Ashleigh in registering the new tartan. Together they’ve named it ‘Blairgowrie Berries and Cherries’ and hope it will become a useful design to promote the town. “Ashleigh’s choice of colours in the tartan was exactly right for the fruits that we grow – wonderful cherry as the background and blueberries to the fore with the traditional raspberries and strawberries running through – I placed an order for a scarf straight away!” said Melanie. “I’m hoping it can be used for a range of items such as handbags, table runners, kilts etc. and am keen to hear from anyone who is interested in using it.” warpweftweave studio is hoping smaller and larger companies will follow suit and take the chance to obtain a new tartan registered for their business. The boost to a company for a corporate tartan goes beyond the cloth and design - it gives a chance for businesses to set a new identity, stand out from the crowd and promote Scottishness.
Following the introduction of the hand-woven tartan, the town’s Happy Feet Dance School were keen to use the design for their new costumes, necessitating the commissioning of a lighter mill-woven cloth. The fabric was re-designed to suit the finer thread, and a long process of selecting a mill and the correct colours was started, culminating in Strathmore Woollens being appointed to weave the tartan. A month of successful Kickstarter campaign to get the new fabric funded was the key to the project going ahead and generated lots of publicity for the ‘Tartan for the Town’ project. Three months in the making, the fabric finally arrived in the Artificer Studio on 10 July, well in time for the launch of the tartan on 22 August. Ashleigh comments “We still have a journey ahead of us to get the Blairgowrie Berries and Cherries products on the shelves, but we have plenty of orders to fulfil – keeping us busy”.
Tartan so Far...
Blairgowrie berries – for sure, but what about the cherries?
Renowned for the quality of raspberries produced in large volumes since the end of the nineteenth century, Blairgowrie is now home to a small but expanding late cherry industry. Thomas Thomson (Blairgowrie) Ltd, one of the forefathers of the raspberry industry, are now helping to pioneer cherry production in Scotland - in the same fields that first grew raspberries over 100 years ago! Melanie Thomson explains “There have been huge changes in fruit growing over the last 20 years; growers have had to be enterprising and react to the market demands - changing seasons, methods of production, varieties and even the types of berries grown – for example, blueberries, which have only really become a commercial crop in Scotland the last 10 years. Cherries are an exciting development for us because as with blueberries we are playing to Scotland’s natural strength of being late in the summer. We can, with the help of polytunnels, produce wonderful sweet juicy black cherries to supply supermarket shelves throughout the UK following on from the English crop and fresh from the fields of Blairgowrie. Unfortunately, we can't class a cherry as a berry - hence ‘Blairgowrie Berries and Cherries’ and also the crop definitely deserves to be promoted”!