Harris Tweed exhibition gets underway at An Lanntair

Fifty of the photographs used in the forthcoming book “From the Land Comes the Cloth” - to mark the centenary of the Harris Tweed Orb mark - were unveiled at an exhibition on Friday evening in the An Lanntair Gallery in Stornoway.

The photographs are the work of photographer Ian Lawson and will be included in the high quality 460 page book which will be published in April 2012.

The book will have 360 illustrations, 100 of which will be photographs which match the relationship of the land and the sea and the colours used in the famous Orb-stamped Harris Tweed.

Many of the stunning images also portray the everyday work of crofters.

Ian Lawson says: “From the Land” is both a tribute and celebration to the people and the place, my photographic journey of discovery.

“This unique environment is the island home of Harris Tweed. My book tells the story of cloth and weaver, showing the connection between earth and thread, interlocked lives, memories, special places and experiences.

“Wherever I looked I found beauty in this wild, illuminating land of tweed.’

Concering his collection of photographs Ian said: ‘I needed time to get the trust of the islanders, walk the hills, swim in the sea, hear the wind, smell the flowers, feel the salt spray, taste the food. sleep out under the stars, and be part of it, not just passing through, gathering and never giving anything in return.

“Slowly the land and the people began to reveal their lives and so very gradually I discovered their story. The book is a celebration of heritage, tradition and creativity.”

Alison O’Neill, herself a farmer and shepherdess in Cumbria, wrote the book and is also the PR manager for Ian.

She described Ian as a perfectionist, hard-working and reliable. She added that Harris Tweed was known all over the world on the catwalk but Ian’s photographs would show the people responsible for making it. The book she said was a work of art.

Donald Martin, the chairman of the HTA, described the images on display as a fantastic collection of photographs. He said Ian had been coming to Lewis and Harris for many many years and had fallen in love with the scenery and the people.

Brian Wilson, chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides, complimented the HTA for commissioning the exhibition. He said the images were ‘absolutely wonderful.’

The exhibition in An Lanntair will run until September.