WATCH: Vicky weaves herself into Borders textile history

Success looms for former Heriot-Watt student

Thursday, 10th March 2016, 9:52 am
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2016, 11:01 am
Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.

In three years, Vicky Swales has gone from being a student at Heriot-Watt, to a janitor, to a bespoke designer and manufacturer of quality scarves in her workspace in Selkirk.

Vicky, 25, left her home in Dunfermline to study at Heriot-Watt University, where she straight away knew what she wanted to do.

She said: “I started weaving in my first year and I fell in love with it.

Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.

“I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I graduated, and started off working with a 150-year-old loom in the Mac Arts Centre in Galashiels in exchange for doing janitor duties – letting people in, locking doors and stuff.”

But she knew she needed help to get where she wanted to be – with her own business, based in the Borders.

She said: “There’s so much textiles history and tradition here, everyone I have met has some link to a weaving mill.”

Looking for support and advice, she contacted Business Gateway.

Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.

She said: “They put me in touch with Tara Bolland of the Prince’s Trust, who guided me through the application process for a £5,000 loan for my loom – and I was awarded the money.

“Then I moved to Dunsdale Properties in August 2014, to this spacious room, that’s full of light.”

Now, Vicky is about to launch a new range of high-quality cotton scarves – which are all handmade and cost between £50-100.

She says of the range: “It’s a traditional process, but using contemporary design.

Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.

“I’m inspired by architecture ... using patterns from parts of buildings that most people wouldn’t notice.”

She said the Prince’s Trust is a valuable resource beyond the funding.

“I’m in touch with Tara quite often and she gives me a lot of support and advice, and she has given me a lot of opportunity to display my business to the community.”

Vicky is showing off her historic craft in a living history weekend in The Haining, Selkirk, in May.

Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.

For more information, visit www.vickyswalestextiles.co.uk

Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.
Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.
Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.
Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.
Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.
Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.
Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.
Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.
Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.
Vicky Swales is using a loom and traditional techniques to make scarves in Selkirk, with help from the Princes Trust.