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Generous sponsorships help to educate future generations in the art of colour and the craft of textiles

When SDC published the first in the series of Malcolm the Weaver educational books in 2014, we hoped that the textile industry would help us realise our goal of distributing free copies of the books to primary school libraries. After publishing our second book in 2015, we are now seeing how truly generous and supportive the industry is through their increased sponsorships of the books and that aim being realised. To date, more than 2,000 copies have been sponsored and we hope to push the project further and get at least one book into every primary school library in the UK.

Garnet Bank Primary School welcomes Malcolm the Weaver

Garnet Bank Primary School welcomes Malcolm the Weaver

Why is this important to us? The 4-8 year olds of today are the textile designers, colourists, knitters and artists, painters and weavers of 2030 and beyond. Therefore, teaching them about wool, hue, value, chroma, and the emotion of design, colour and textiles through the Malcolm the Weaver series is a wonderful investment for the future.

Sponsors have told us their reasons for getting involved with the project are that they see the value the books bring to their local communities, local children and their future. For many sponsors, such as Camira Fabrics, they have been able to build stronger relationships with their local schools as a result and to use the books as a platform to develop their own educational projects.

Illustrator Sharon Campbell

Illustrator Sharon Campbell

At the Future Textiles ‘A Stitch in Time’ festival at Dumfries House, HRH the Prince of Wales presented 25 books to local school teachers attending the event.

“I hope that distributing this wonderful children’s book in Argyll & Bute will help young people to understand and appreciate the importance of Scotland’s place in Britain’s textiles industry. Textile weaving has been important to humankind since the beginning of civilization and it continues to be an important sector for Scottish industry. Textiles are used in many different ways, the manufacturing process is relatively complex and considerable skills are required from the technicians on the factory floor to the designers in the studios. In short, it’s a fascinating industry. I hope children are encouraged by this book to take an interest in Scotland’s rich history in the manufacturing of textiles in our country.” John Crichton-Stuart, the 7th Marquess of Bute, Owner of Bute Fabrics

We are now seeing larger quantities of books sponsored and in turn more primary schools and their pupils benefiting. Recent sponsors who have come on board include:

  • AF White/ Evva Prest – 400 books to schools in Northern Ireland
  • Dystar – 100 books for distribution at ITMA Conference and for schools in Europe
  • Johnstons of Elgin – 150 books to schools in Moray and Borders regions in Scotland
  • WJ Johnson – 200 books for the Kirklees region
  • The British Wool Marketing Board – 500 books for sheep rearing areas of the UK
  • The Harris Tweed Authority – 100 books to all primary schools and libraries in the Outer Hebrides.
Learning about colour

Learning about colour

‘This lovely book captures the essence of a child’s mindfulness. In a simple, quite magical way Malcolm the Weaver takes us on a remarkable journey, questioning and informing, every step of the way. It is a manual for children everywhere who look at the colours of the natural world and want to know where they come from and how we can best capture them. The history of weaving is woven through every page. Captivating.’Selina Scott, Broadcaster and Proprietor of Naturally Mohair

Many companies are realising that sponsorship is an excellent way of enhancing their corporate social responsibility strategy through investing in the education of young children. Additional benefits for the sponsors have included positive news stories for press and PR and social media promotion.

Malcolm talks to the children

Malcolm talks to the children

We have been bowled over by the range of companies sponsoring the books so far. These have included: AF White/Evva Prest, Ashley Bank Investments, Border Technologies Ltd, British Wool Marketing Board, Bute Fabrics, C&J Antich, Camira Fabrics Ltd, Charlie Allen, Dumfries House (Future Textiles project), Dystar, Harris Tweed Authority, The Incorporation of Weavers of Glasgow, Johnstons of Elgin, Schofields Dyers & Finishers, Skopes, Standard Wool (UK) Ltd, Walker Slater Retail Ltd, Williams Bain, The Worshipful Company of Dyers, The Worshipful Company of Weavers and WT Johnson & Sons.

If you’d like further information please email colour-experience@sdc.org.uk or malcolm@theclothofkings.com to discuss how you can get involved.

Media campaign/support: BBC CBeebies, BBC Radio Leeds, Yorkshire Post, Harris Tweed Authority, YouTube.


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Comments (1)

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    Stewart Roxburgh


    A brilliant initiative. I have known Malcolm for many years and have watched his personal passion for storytelling turn into this marvellous idea that will impact on future generations. Well done to the SDC and to the companies and organisations for getting behind the project. Long may the support continue and we look forward to some inspired textiles from the next generation.


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