Tartan specialists inspire Ilkeston students

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Students at an Ilkeston school have taken part in a unique project inspired by tartan.

Textiles students at Kirk Hallam Community Academy were challenged to come up with a range of accessories made from Derbyshire Tartan, which was designed to represent the countryside, moors and industrial heritage of the county.

The finished products were judged by the fabric’s creators, Leslie and Fiona Trotter.

Leslie and Fiona moved to Derbyshire three years ago from the Isle of Harris, in the Outer Hebrides, and they run a business called Tweeds With Style, which produces handmade garments using Harris Tweed, some of which have featured on TV and in magazines.

Harris Tweed colours are derived from the colours of the Outer Hebrides landscape and it was with this in mind that Fiona started looking at Derbyshire for colour inspirations.

She decided on green to represent the countryside, red to signify the industrial heritage, black is the coal and lead mining, blue and purple are inspired by the Blue John minerals and heather, white is the limestone quarries and yellow is the Tudor rose emblem which has been the county badge since the 1470s.

Once the colours were chosen and the pattern designed, the duo registered Derbyshire Tartan with the Scottish Register of Tartans, which gives it its place among tartans from around the world and prevents it from being copied.

The fabric came to the attention of Keilly Goddard, textiles teacher at Kirk Hallam Community Academy, and she contacted the Trotters on Twitter to ask if she could buy some for a project with her students.

She said: “I wanted to set the year 12 students a mini project. I had a chat with Leslie and Fiona and they really wanted to be involved in our project and they have donated the fabric and they also came into school to talk to the students.”

Fiona said they were also involved with a project at the University of Derby and thought it was important to support young people.

She said: “Our eldest son was in a pipe band and they wore kilts so we started to research tartan and see if we could possibly design and make a Derbyshire tartan and it just went from there.

“We were happy to come to Kirk Hallam to talk to the students and we were excited to see what they came up with.”

The winner was Grace Wookey, with a hot water bottle cover, second place went to Amy Gaskin, who designed a bag, and Bethany Wyld took third place with an oversized hair bow.