My name is Cally Booker and every piece of Bonny Claith is designed and handwoven by me. My loom and I work together in a studio on the top floor of a converted jute mill, where we enjoy amazing views over the city of Dundee on Scotland’s east coast.
I have been an east coast girl all my life. My family come from east and north-east Scotland, but I grew up in East Anglia, on the edge of the fens. To this day I thrive under big, open skies. I am drawn to places at the edge, where land and water meet… river banks, cliff-top paths, urban waterfronts… and feel a strong connection to the landscape and history of the east coast of Scotland. Signposts to The North lift my spirit.
Books, cats and much-loved textiles
It’s more than 25 years since my husband and I first moved to this part of Scotland and now I am startled to realise that we have been settled in the same house on Dundee Law for two decades. Home to me is a place of books, cats and much-loved textiles. My mother’s handmade quilts and knitted jumpers keep us warm, while block-printed table linens and handwoven throws soften and colour our daily lives.
Every morning we wake up to the extraordinary view of the Tay that Dundee is rightly famous for. My studio is five minutes’ walk away, down the hill and through the park, and those five minutes invigorate my whole day. The life and landscape of the city have a profound influence on my designs, from the grandeur of our waterfront setting to the quirky details of everyday living.
I have a strong geeky streak. I get excited about an interesting set of data and depressed by the abuse of statistics in our public discourse. Sometimes I draw on statistical data as a design source and use the structure of the woven fabric to visualise the hidden patterns of our lives. But I am also a romantic, and at other times it is my emotional response – to a landscape, a story, a piece of music – which inspires me to create.
Sharing the Passion
I’m passionate about making things by hand. I share my love of weaving through workshops and classes in and out of the studio: you can find out more on my Weaving Space website.