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What, exactly, are tartan mosaics?

They are an entirely new concept.  Both innovative and original, mosaics are contemporary artworks made from different tartans woven together to make a totally unique individual tartan.  The Director of the Scottish Tartans Authority, Brian Wilton MBE, described them as being a ‘tartan tartan’!

What’s the idea behind them?

The idea of weaving the different tartans together is to create, by combining them, a visual representation of the connections between everybody who lives here, people related to us around the world, and those who simply love the history, traditions and colours of our national cloth.

In what way is this a new concept?

Traditionally, individual tartans represent individual clans, so by interweaving them, I wanted to emphasise what brings us together and connects us all – a love of Scotland – rather than what sets us apart from one another.  The idea was to create something contemporary out of a wonderful tradition while retaining the meaning and essence behind it – clan means family, and these symbolize the extended clan of everyone with an affinity for Scotland.

Are they all the same?

Quite the contrary – every single mosaic is different. No two could ever be the same, therefore your mosaic will be truly unique to you.

How many types of mosaic are there?

There are three different collections.

Scotland: Our Family is made from combining your own family tartans, which you choose.  The uniqueness of the idea is immediately obvious here, because even if you and another family member were to commission mosaics from the same tartans, they would not be the same because different parts of the sett, or pattern would be used  for each.

Scotland: Our Colours is a mixture of colour-coordinated varied tartans inspired by our landscape.

Scotland: Our Unity, the original inspiration for the other pieces, is a mixture of multi-coloured tartans celebrating the connections that exist between everyone with a link to Scotland, whatever that may be.

In both the Colours and Unity collections, the tartans are carefully chosen for you: Colours is all about harmony, whereas Unity is about colours clashing spectacularly to great visual effect – both perfect illustrations of how we all connect with one another despite our differences and it all, somehow, works!

Doesn’t jumbled-up tartan look a little odd?

It’s certainly very different, and nothing like it has ever been done before.  The response to the mosaics and the concept behind them has been amazing, however – one was presented to Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, and hangs in the Cabinet Room of Bute House, his official residence in Edinburgh.   They have been shown in seven art galleries across Scotland and  commissioned as personal, wedding and anniversary gifts, as well as for family heirlooms.

How are they made?

In each mosaic, every row is made up of individual, hand-stitched strips of tartan.  On completion, the finished piece is placed on an inner frame, standing proud of it, and then encased within a bespoke, hand-finished frame.  These are black in keeping with traditional Highland formal dress, where the men’s jackets are black in order to show off the glorious colours of the tartans to best advantage.

How big are the mosaics when framed?

The small woven panel is 8x8ins/21x21cm, the medium is 10×10/26x26cm and the large is 16×10/41x26cm.  When framed, add approximately 6 inches/16cm to the width for most frames for the overall size of the mosaic.

Where does your tartan come from?

The tartan is finest quality, woven in Scotland and sourced from Lochcarron of Scotland, Strathmore and House of Edgar.  For family combination mosaics, light worsted wool (10oz) from Lochcarron is used, and mixed weights of tartan (10-13oz) from all three mills are used for both the Colours and Unity collections.

Does each clan have only one tartan?

No. Most clans have several variations of their tartans – Modern, Ancient, Hunting, Weathered/Muted, Dress – and some are specific to clan areas. These can be mixed and matched if you’d prefer to keep to your own family’s tartans.

Why does it cost the same for two tartans in a clan combination mosaic as for four?

The cost of a mosaic is not in the tartan but in the labour of love, the care and attention to detail  and the amount of time involved in making it.  If you have only two tartans you want to use, then why not use two combinations of each as outlined above? If you want, for example, a Mackay and a MacNeil, you could choose a Modern and Blue Mackay, and an Ancient and Modern MacNeil.

What if I only want to use the tartans of one family?

Either stick to two, or if there are other variants of your own tartan, mix them all together!

How long does it take from order to delivery?

Since all of the mosaics are made to order, this takes approximately 4-6 weeks.  You will be informed of the status of your order by email as soon as it is ready for dispatch.  Once it has been sent, you will be provided with the tracking/waybill number.

What if I can’t find the tartan I want?

There are more than 500 tartans in the database and if the tartan you want isn’t there, it can be found if it exists and is currently woven.  Once found, it can be transformed with the others into a tartan truly unique to you, a mosaic that you will always treasure as a personal reminder of your connections to Scotland.  Both e-mail and telephone enquiries are very welcome.    

+44 (0) 1700-502865/+44 (0) 790-662-5950

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