A partnership between the Moray Council and the Confucius Institute for Scottish Schools has led to a China-themed tartan rolling out of the mills at Johnstons of Elgin, writes Clizia Sala
Scottish S1 Pupil Emma McCain had the chance to see the tartan she designed coming off the looms at the Johnstons of Elgin mill last February.
Earlier this year, she has won the design competition launched by the Moray Council and the Confucius Institute for Scottish Schools (CISS), with a design that reflects the links between Scotland and China.
With the supervision of Mrs Fionna Shearer, Principal Teacher of Art and Design, and Laura Garner, the Design Director at Johnstons of Elgin, Emma designed and produced the winning tartan.
The pattern she created includes colours that are common in Scottish tartans, namely, blue and white for Scotland, red and yellow for China, and green for the Confucius Institute.
The colours chosen embodied the spirit of the competition, which had the double aim of celebrating the educational links between Scotland and China, and raising awareness towards the increasing need for language employability skills.
At the time of writing, the Elgin mill manufactured a limited number of scarves – 400 units – and the CISS is planning to buy them.
The idea of the competition came from Willem Smit, from The Moray Council Education and Social Care Department, who approached Johnstons of Elgin asking if they would be interested in the project.
The panel decided on Emma’s tartan design as it married the colours together well in a bright colour pattern being popular in China today
The company accepted his proposal with enthusiasm, as the competition fits perfectly into its Schools Interaction Programme, which looks at ways in which young people in Moray have a better understanding of Johnstons of Elgin and assist them in developing their skills for work.
Pupils from six establishments in Moray had entered the competition, and all of them are learning Mandarin with exchange teacher Miss Fang.
“The panel decided on Emma’s tartan design as it married the colours together well in a bright colour pattern being popular in China today,” said Smit of the judges’ decision.
“We were delighted that the pupil who designed the winning tartan would spend time in our Design Department, seeing how the new design would be prepared for the Design Team for the production phase. The winning pupil & her classmates also had the opportunity to see the winning design going into production in our Weaving Department,” said Jim Morris, People Development Coach at Johnstons of Elgin. “It has been a real pleasure working with The Moray Council and the CISS on this exciting project.”
And Emma’s successes are not over yet: her tartan is going to be presented at the Scottish Parliament in June.
The project is testament to how Moray young people, their teachers and local businesses like Johnstons of Elgin can work together to bridge cultural and international gaps for the common good of all concerned.