Emma Wilkinson

Pulling History into the Future

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I have a real passion for pulling endangered crafts into the 21st century.  Kilts and tartan are recognised throughout the world as respected traditions and symbols of Scotland. Yet, as current kilt makers age, there is a huge deficit in those trained and skilled in these artisan crafts. At the same time, the demand for kilts continues to boom worldwide – it has been dubbed the ‘Outlander Effect’.

I have re-calibrated my skills to create intricate, hand-sewn kilts in a bid to be a small part of the future of heritage crafts in Scotland.  I consider myself extremely lucky to have been selected as an Embroiderers’ Guild Graduate and Scholar.

This gave me the opportunity to continue telling my story.

My Scholar collection ‘Am ri Teachd’ (Scots Gaelic for ‘Future’) looks specifically at historical figures whose lives and ambitions are just as relevant today. 

Using iconic Scottish dress and classic hand-embroidery techniques, I have paired traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design thinking.

Material is hugely important to me and I create my own embellishments from metals, wood and even coins.

A piece from my Am ri Teachd collection won first place in the Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery in 2018. 

I plan to keep working hard in a bid to forge a career in the textiles industry and help to ensure the future of British craftsmanship, in particular the kiltmaking industry.

Emma Wilkinson, Embroiderer and Kiltmaker

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