The 20TH anniversary edition of Orkney’s unique craft trail brochure, which highlights the workshops, studios and shops of local artisans, is set to be launched this week at a major tourism event in Edinburgh.
Twenty-one businesses – covering everything from jewellery, ceramics and artwork, to textiles, tapestry and traditional Orkney chair making – are participating in this year’s trail.
The trail was set up by Orkney Crafts Association (OCA) in a bid to showcase the work of its members and give visitors the opportunity to see crafts being made first hand.
Special roadside signposts mark the trail throughout Orkney, with the accompanying brochure acting as guidebook.
To celebrate the trail’s 20th anniversary, the 2016 brochure is being launched on Wednesday (20 April) at the VisitScotland Expo – Scotland’s premier business-to-business travel trade event.
OCA chair Heather Croy, said: “The original vision for the Orkney Craft Trail was to create an authentic and enjoyable experience that connected our crafts people with new and existing customers, while showing off some of our wonderful landscape in the process. Over the past 20 years the trail has become one of the most popular activities for visitors to the islands, but it’s also something that local people greatly enjoy.”
“Anyone following the trail is promised a real insight into Orkney’s tremendously diverse crafts industry,” added OCA vice chair Michael Gardens, who is launching the brochure in Edinburgh. “Meeting individual makers, and talking to them about their work at source, undoubtedly adds a special quality to any purchases made and creates some great memories to take home. Our craftspeople also benefit from these interactions and love seeing the enjoyment visitors get from watching them work.”
Edgar Balfour, development manager for Orkney food, drink and crafts, said: “Over the past two decades, Orkney’s crafts industry has grown to become a hugely important element of the local economy, attracting thousands of visitors, creating skilled jobs and enhancing the islands’ reputation as a producer of high quality goods. The craft trail brochure is a fantastic marketing tool for the businesses involved and we’re delighted to see even more makers than ever sign up to be part of it this year.
“With this being the 20th anniversary of the trail, we thought it was appropriate to launch the new brochure at the VisitScotland Expo in Edinburgh and tell as many people as possible about this unique Orcadian success story.”
The brochure, which is available widely throughout Orkney and downloadable from the OCA website, also contains details of a number of OCA crafts businesses not involved in this year’s trail.