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NOVEMBER 2015
Jilli Covers Heathrow in Tartan

Jilli Covers Heathrow in Tartan

Jilli Covers Heathrow in Tartan

Heathrow launches Made in Scotland week to honour great Scottish inventors.

Passengers arriving at Heathrow today could be forgiven for thinking they’ve been diverted to an airport north of the border thanks to its tartan takeover, which stretches from the runway to the restaurants. To mark St Andrew’s Day, the plethora of plaid has been specially commissioned by Heathrow to say thank you to Scotland, remember its true greats and celebrate all that Scotland has done for Heathrow.

All airports, as we experience them today, owe a huge debt to Scottish pioneers, namely McAdam (the inventor of the road surfacing material known best known as Tarmac), Watson-Watt (developer of radar), Graham-Bell (telephone inventor) and Logie-Baird (creator of the television). So, on Scotland’s national day, Heathrow is taking the opportunity to thank those pioneers by symbolising items in Heathrow that are made in Scotland with a tartan tag. But it’s not just engineers, scientists and inventors, Scotland’s natural produce and food & drink maestros are being recognised too.

Working with Glasgow born and based textile artist and designer Jilli Blackwood, a graduate of The Glasgow School of Art, who’s most famous for creating the outfits for the Scottish team at last summer’s Commonwealth Games, the airport now has its own unique purple-hued tartan which has been used to tag Scottish exports within the airport’s walls. Inventions including ATMs, invented by John Shepherd-Barron, televisions and telephones have been covered in the bespoke plaid.

But it’s not just the airport’s fixtures and fittings that have had a Celtic makeover as even the Scottish food and drink now sports a tartan design. Travellers visiting Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food restaurant in T5 can enjoy a set menu of smoked salmon and sourdough with a special tartan butter, followed by the traditional Scottish pudding Cranachan with a white chocolate tartan garnish, both of which have been developed by the head chef Andrew Winstanley and given a special twist with Heathrow’s new tartan. For those looking for a little tipple before take-off, the Made in Scotland Martini served in a specially created tartan glass is bursting with Scottish ingredients including Hendrick’s gin, Drambuie and Tayside raspberries.

Talking about creating the tartan, Jilli Blackwood said: “It’s been really exciting working on this project with Heathrow. Being asked to work with the airport’s iconic colours was really quite challenging and forced me to think outside of the box. The final design is instantly recognisable to all as a tartan, yet one based on such bold and contemporary colours. It’s a brilliant symbol of Scotland and Heathrow’s relationship and has been used in some really interesting ways.”

In addition to the tartan takeover, Heathrow’s runway, which has seen approximately 770,0000 planes fly to Scotland carrying over 42m passengers has been renamed the John McAdam Runway in homage to the Scottish inventor of tarmac. An estimated 378,000m2 of tarmac has been used across the two runways – that’s enough to fit ten and a half Edinburgh Castles. As well as being made from a Scottish invention, it is expected that a third runway at Heathrow would create up to 16,100 new skilled jobs in Scotland and deliver up to £14 billion in economic growth.

As part of the week-long celebrations, Passenger Ambassadors at Heathrow will be sporting limited edition tartan sashes and will be happy to explain to interested travellers about the Scottish takeover.

Commenting on the Made in Scotland event, Emma Gilthorpe, Strategy Director at Heathrow said: “Scotland has always played an important role in innovation and export and it’s fair to say that we wouldn’t be where we are today without the originality of some great Scots. From John Loudon McAdam, to Preston Watson and Alexander Graham Bell, Scotland is the birthplace of many revolutionary inventions and it’s these revolutionary inventions, which make Heathrow the UK’s Hub airport that it is today. From Tarmac to telephones, some could argue that, in some way, Heathrow was actually made in Scotland so we simply wanted to pay homage to the Scots by hosting a week-long celebration. Thank you Scotland.”

Photos courtesy Heathrow Airport Limited.

NOVEMBER 2015
Design Outside the Lines Retreat - Santa Barbara, California

Design Outside the Lines Retreat - Santa Barbara, California

Jilli Blackwood has been invited by Diane Ericson to be the guest artist for the Santa Barbara “design outside the lines” 2016 Retreat. I will be working alongside Diane in the studio and I will be providing three presentations:

I will be discussing inspiration, imagination and my life as a Textile Artist working in Scotland. How the Scottish landscape impacts on my working practice. I will be demonstrating techniques, the manipulation of fabric, how I work with colour, proportion and design.

An area I will touch upon is, the practice and thought process I use in my work regarding ‘the circular economy’. I will illustrate this with some examples.

NOVEMBER 2015
Naked Craft Exhibition

Naked Craft Exhibition

Jilli Blackwood will be exhibiting at the Naked Craft Exhibition in Canada. The Naked Craft exhibition strips ideas of craft back down to four sub-themes that bridge the past and the present, Old Scotland and New Scotland, traditional and changing ideas. Naked Craft is designed to be playful in how it engages a public audience; at a time in popular culture when the words “handcrafted” and “artisanal” are the “it” words of marketing houses, attention must be redirected back to craft itself. Craft is a sexy word, and Naked Craft intends to show the viewer just how sexy craft itself can be. Naked Craft examines craft practice through the four main themes: New Positions; Down and Dirty: politics and materials; DIY; and Tooling up: new technologies and economies.

Exhibition Dates:
Art Gallery of Burlington: June 20 – September 6, 2015
Centre Materia (Quebec City): September 26 – November 28, 2015
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia: January 14 – April 10, 2016

NOVEMBER 2015
“The Argyle”

The Argyle

The word ‘naked’ means without clothes, defenceless, unconcealed. The very nature of exhibiting a work which has grown from the soul to be judged by others as good or bad, intensifies the feeling of naked vulnerability.

The process of making ‘The Argyle’ evolved in stages. I embroidered the red silk with black cotton muslin and blue silk. These fabrics were cut away, peeled back and unstitched to reveal the red silk. The base surface is now scared by the sharp needle point and tensioned threads that punctured the smooth original surface of the silk.

I embroider the waistcoat again, leaving some areas exposed to the memory of stitch which once decorated the surface. The tendrils grow downward organically, displaying a sense of coverage.

NOVEMBER 2015
“Art to Wear” Commission

“Art to Wear” Commission

Tartan and leather embroidered bustle, 2015 private collection.

NOVEMBER 2015
Double Cloth Wraps Commissioned

Double Cloth Wraps Commissioned

Hand dyed, silk and wool double cloth wraps, hand woven on my 16 shaft harris loom.
Commissioned in 2015, private collections.

NOVEMBER 2015
“The Tait” - 2015 Private Collection

“The Tait” - 2015 Private Collection

There is an amusing story attached to “ The Tait", it is too long and involved to speak about on my news page. I include this story in my lecturers and presentations.

NOVEMBER 2015
Studio Fun with the Family

Studio Fun with the Family

Having fun in the studio with two of my daughters, Jacquetta is a fine art and fashion photographer and Romey a first year student, reading History of Art, and Naomi, my third daughter, is out of shot but looking on. She is a bit of a media wiz with a law background. Romey kindly wore “The Tait”, for this impromptu fashion shoot.

( Photograph taken on my phone, it’s a bit grainy. It was only for my records).

OCTOBER 2015
“The Big Pink” - 2015 Private Collection

“The Big Pink” - 2015 Private Collection

One of a series of printed artworks on silk inspired by the hand intensively embroidered and woven wall hangings and designs.

JULY 2015
Meet the Makers: Designers of Glasgow's Games

Meet the Makers: Designers of Glasgow's Games

Celebrating one year on from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Riverside Museum hosted a day of presentations by the creative talents behind the ‘Best Games Ever’. Jilli Blackwood, designer of Team Scotland’s parade costume for the Opening Ceremony and costumes for Delhi 2010 Flag Handover, discussed how her statement designs brought a contemporary aesthetic to traditional use of tartan.

NOVEMBER 2014
Free Talk: Jilli Blackwood The Yellow Brick Road

Jilli Blackwood: The Yellow Brick Road takes place at the Riverside Museum, Glasgow, on November 24, 4.30pm-5.30pm. Entry is free. The event coincides with the museum’s Commonwealth Games display, The Road From Delhi, which features Blackwood’s costumes.

Read More >

Free Talk: Jilli Blackwood The Yellow Brick Road

JULY 2014
Team Scotland at the Opening Ceremony

Team Scotland at the Opening Ceremony
Photo courtesy of Team Scotland
Team Scotland at the Opening Ceremony
Photo courtesy of Team Scotland
Team Scotland at the Opening Ceremony
Photo courtesy of Team Scotland
Team Scotland at the Opening Ceremony
Photo courtesy of Team Scotland
Team Scotland at the Opening Ceremony
Photo courtesy of Jacquetta Clark
Team Scotland at the Opening Ceremony
Photo courtesy of Jacquetta Clark

The Scottish Team entered last at the Opening Ceremony on 23rd of July 2014 to a standing ovation and huge roars of appreciation. The parade uniform made the high impact statement which the team were looking for. The river of blue which appeared dominant was contrasted with the warm colours of the tartan and the whole procession was joyful. The feedback from the members of the Scottish Team has been tremendous as has feedback from the viewers in the UK and overseas.

Below is a video of the Scotland team cheered into Celtic Park during the opening ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Video courtesy of BBC. Available to UK users only.

Host nation Scotland get rapturous welcome

Watch Video >

JULY 2014
Contemporary Tartan Commissioned by WADA

Contemporary Tartan Commissioned by WADA Contemporary Tartan Commissioned by WADA

The World Anti Doping Agency commissioned a contemporary tartan using their corporate colours green and black, for the interior and exterior of their stand in the Athletes’ Village at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014.

Testimonial from WADA:
Jilli Blackwood came highly recommended to WADA as we sought a unique look and feel in the lead up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Valuing unique Scottish traditions in her design, Jilli was able to compliment WADA’s brand by delivering an excellent and modern ‘WADA tartan’. This is a tartan we have been able to effectively weave into all our branded activities in Glasgow, driving even greater awareness to the Play True message. We would highly recommend Jilli for her professionalism and creative flair, and for her knowledge of all things tartan.

JULY 2014
Jilli Blackwood Shop

The shop is now open! Featuring beautiful embroidered scarfs meticulously crafted by hand by Jilli Blackwood. Vibrant, versatile and completely unique; each woven scarf is a one in a kind work of art to be wore and cherished for a lifetime.

Buy Online Now >

Jilli Blackwood Store

JULY 2014
Glasgow Commonwealth Parade Uniforms

Glasgow Commonwealth Parade Uniform
Photo courtesy of Team Scotland

I am very proud of my contribution to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. The outfit is a celebration of traditional Scottish embroidery, tartan weaving and textile design. I hope all will come to love the costumes when they are presented in the context of a colourful and spectacular opening ceremony.

View Complete Project >

Contact me
If you are interested in any of my work or would like to discuss a commission please get in touch via phone 0141 334 8322, email info@jilliblackwood.com or fill out my online Enquiry Form.

Background Photography by Alistair Devine