Looms weave a new space for creatives

Ardchattan Centre's Breege Smyth with the donated Harris loom and textile design artist Jessica Giannotti

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A community hub project has inherited three looms to weave into plans for a creatives’ co-working space.

The Ardchattan Centre at the old Bonawe School is now the proud owner of a tapestry loom, a rug loom and a four-shaft Harris loom for making scarves.

The tapestry loom was gifted by a young weaver from Glasgow who was moving to a new studio and ran out of space, the rug loom was donated via The Rockfield Centre from a woman on Mull and the Harris loom came from Port Appin.

This week Argyll and Bute Council workers were busy emptying the closed school on the shores of Glen Etive revealing the uncluttered potential the building has to offer, said Breege Smyth from The Ardchattan Centre.

‘The plan is to put the looms in a space that can be used for creatives to come and co-work on any projects they have. We’ll also make room for a large cutting table and we’ll be running classes and workshops. It’s just one of the projects we’ve got in mind,’ she added.

‘The council has been in emptying the school, so for the first time we’ll be able to use space other than the hall.

‘We are still on a fact finding mission to see how the community wants to use all the space for when we own the building,’ said Breege.

Last month The Oban Times reported how Ardchattan community is moving another step closer to buying the former school.

An application for a second-helping of money from the Scottish Land Fund to buy the building from Argyll and Bute Council has now been submitted and the outcome should be known by October.

The ambition is to turn it into a thriving community hub, with plans so far including using it for workshops, evening classes, a bakery and cafe, as well as a meeting space for the whole community and for events – the idea of providing holiday accommodation had also been part of the package.

Scottish Land Fund has already funded it £6,360 towards transforming the building into a centre-for-all.

Profits eventually made from the centre, once established, would be put to purpose, running more community services. An electric bus, with a charging point at the centre, was requested by 66 per cent of people who responded to an earlier wish-list survey.