Orkney is a group of islands off the northeastern tip of mainland Scotland. There are approximately 70 islands in the group, of which twenty are inhabited. The largest is known as the Mainland and most of the rest of the islands are grouped into North and South Isles.
Many tourists who make the trip to Orkney do so to visit the numerous archaeological sites around the islands, including the fantastically preserved Neolithic farmstead on the island of Papa Westray, the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar, both on the Mainland.
Nowadays, as many visitors are tempted to Orkney by the islands’ vibrant cultural life, which includes an active and entrepreneurial craft community. In fact, Orkney has the largest concentration of craft jewellers in Scotland, much of whose work is exported all over the world.
Over the following pages we’ve highlighted just a few of the many craft makers working throughout Orkney. For details of many more, visit the website for Orkney Arts & Crafts which lists all their members, some of whom have open studios, workshops and shops.
The Orkney Crafts Association also has a wealth of information about makers throughout Orkney and it has a fantastic craft trail to download, which will help you identify which Orcadian craft makers are open to visitors.
Artlands North is an online, interactive map showcasing the wealth and diversity of art and craft in the north of Scotland.
Established in the 1990s, the Orkney Craft Trail guides visitors to many workshops around the islands, where you can meet craft makers at work.
Emergents is a new organisation supporting craft, fashion and textiles in the Highlands and Islands.
The Orkney Chair is a type of wooden seat with a high back made from straw which has been made in Orkney since the 1700s.
The future of two popular Scottish craft firms and a prominent agency have sadly become uncertain in the current economic climate.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has been awarded funding for a Harris Tweed Training and Development Programme
Craft Scotland have rounded up regional funding deadlines for makers, which are approaching in January.
The 2012 Starter for 6 Main Programme is now open for applications.