Author(s): Lara Platman
Harris Tweed is a unique woollen textile that has been hand-woven by islanders off the west coast of Scotland for generations. Worn worldwide, it is cherished both for the clothing made from it and as a fascinating traditional craft. Lara Platman spent a year with the farmers, mill workers, weavers, tailors and designers who are carrying this tradition forward into the twenty-first century and in Harris Tweed: From Land to Street she follows the chain of craftsmen, from the islanders in the Hebrides to the tailors of Savile Row. With an eye for character, colour and light, and an ear for a good story, she has created extraordinary portraits of these living national treasures, complemented by evocative images of the landscapes of Harris, the tweed patterns whose textures and colours seem to emerge from the land, and the use of Harris tweed in the work of fashion designers including Vivienne Westwood, Margaret Howell and Paul Smith. Offering insights into a lifestyle whose continued existence may surprise many, this group portrait is a heartfelt celebration of craftsmanship and a way of life.
It's the biggest fictional hero endorsement to hit the Hebridean textile industry since Sherlock Holmes chose a Harris Tweed deerstalker. Our revelation on Saturday that the jacket worn by the eleventh Doctor Who, Matt Smith, is a vintage Dunn & Co two-by-two dogtooth will, we hope, galvanise fresh interest in this great, 100 per cent new wool cloth -- a material that should be as synonymous with Britain as denim is with the US. The Times 31 March 2010
LARA PLATMAN is a photographer and writer, specialising in documenting areas of culture that are often considered to be eccentric or endangered. Coming from a family who produced theatrical costumes, she has grown up around creative craftsmen. She trained as a photographer and then a journalist and now combines these two skills to bring an in-depth study to each of her projects. She has just completed a book of portraits of 130 craftsmen in their working environments for the Art Workers Guild, (October 2009, Unicorn Press). Her overarching ambition is to ensure that Britain's living national treasures are acknowledged by a wider audience. She lives in Gloucestershire.