Craftmakers in Orkney
Orkney's heritage and landscape is an inspiration for many local craftspeople. Talented folk of all ages make an astonishing range of handmade goods in Orkney, putting new twists on some traditional skills.
Importantly, many young islanders are now following in the footsteps of their ancestors and keeping traditional Orkney skills alive. For example, Orkney chairs - with their characteristic woven straw hoods - are so popular there is a waiting list to have one made by young island craftsmen.
Just a fraction of the amazing crafts you can buy in Orkney include: jewellery, pottery, ceramics, tapestry, textiles, knitwear, sculpture, carved stone and wood, musical instruments, stained glass, home furnishings and furniture. Materials used vary from the wool of local sheep to recycled items found on the beach. Many, but not all, of the craft outlets and studios in Orkney are featured in Orkney Crafts Association’s Craft Trail. There is a handy booklet with addresses, maps and details about all the members and their locations are signposted on the roads.
You can find many craft items in the independent shops that Orkney is famous for. And you may find interesting wares at special exhibitions throughout the year. Many of the artisans have websites for mail ordering goods and some travel to major craft fairs and exhibitions to show the rest of Britain the high quality of Orkney craftsmanship. The Orkney Craft Association website is a good place to start when looking for goods produced in the islands.