A KILTMAKER from Forres is celebrating her part in a Chelsea Flower Show success.
Local businesswoman Andrea Chappell was commissioned by garden designer Jane Porter to make textile work and a commemorative kilt for her show garden at RHS Chelsea.
And they were thrilled when ‘The (Scottish themed) Still Garden’ won an RHS Gold medal, as well as the trophy for Best Container Garden.
Andrea – who created a kilt, cushions and collars for Jane – said: “It’s an amazing acknowledgement for everyone who collaborated on The Still Garden, of the incredible work that goes into bringing an idea to life at RHS Chelsea. I can understand, despite only playing a small part in it, why this accolade means what it does. To achieve a gold medal for Jane’s first presentation at Chelsea is an amazing achievement – to also win the trophy for best in her category is exceptional. Everyone is over the moon.”
Andrea, who lives behind St Margaret’s Church on Forres High Street, started her textiles business Acme Atelier in 2020. The graphic designer, who re-trained at Keith Kilt School in 2018, creates bespoke kilts in contemporary and traditional styles using the traditional hand-stitched method. She also employs experienced kilt-maker Helen Patterson on a freelance basis.
Andrea said: “Kiltmaking entered the Red List of Endangered Crafts in 2021. The list is collated by the Heritage Crafts Association, highlighting traditional skills that form part of our intangible cultural heritage but are in danger of not surviving.”
Jane owns a garden design company in Bristol. She enlisted Andrea’s help for her entry in this year’s Chelsea Flower Show Container Gardens section, which features first-time RHS designers and exhibitors. Container Gardens show how compact outdoor areas can be transformed into green spaces for health, wellbeing and the environment.
Andrea said: “Jane’s garden was designed to showcase Scottish species within a scheme that champions re-purposed whisky vessels and heritage crafts, including dry stone walling, wood carving, kiltmaking and printmaking. I created a commemorative kilt in Scottish linen for Jane, using hand-cut stencils to silkscreen and hand-carved lino to block print the outer cloth depicting the plants in her garden design. I silk-painted her lining, which was then traditionally hand-stitched to make the kilt. In the garden, I created cushions for the barrel seats, hand-winding pom-poms in Harris Tweed yarn to create a moss effect.”
The Still Garden team also each wore a Chelsea Collar, created for Andrea’s IV36 initiative, established last year, which re-makes and re-designs existing garments and textiles that return 20 per cent of sales to fund the training of a young person from Forres.
“The IV36 Initiative is currently just over halfway to its target funding,” said Andrea, “which will enable a young person to train at Keith Kilt School.”
Jane acknowledged the contribution her talented friend made to her entry’s success.
She said: “My kilt is absolutely beautiful and I never want to take it off! It’s the only one like it in the world and will always remind me of this amazing Chelsea experience. I feel so lucky to have met Andrea, she grasped this project and made it so much more than I could have imagined. She is astounding.”
See www.acmeatelier.co.uk for more information.
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