Three textile artisans from Tayside and Fife are keeping the wheels spinning in Dundee’s legacy of jute production.
And at upcoming event Jutefest, makers Alison Carrie, Zita Katona and Maïté Allwood are set to show off how the city’s “golden fibre” can weave its way out of the industrial revolution and into modern life.
Jutefest (beginning Saturday June 5) is a celebration of the material which makes up one of Dundee’s three heritage industries – jute, jam and journalism.
Honouring the textile’s legacy, it will take place near the Verdant Works, on West Henderson’s Wynd.
But at a time where creative initiatives in Dundee are thriving, the festival aims to show that jute belongs in the 21st Century. It will offer a market of sustainable jute jewellery, accessories and homewares, as well as a chance for customers to talk to the creators in person.
The new jute royalty
“Dundee’s 21st Century Jute Baroness” Alison Carrie, owner of Jist Jute, will be there with her range of jute bags, eco-scrubbies and handmade jewellery. And as well as displaying her products, Alison will be selling signed copies of her book on Dundee’s jute mills, If These Wa’s Cuid Talk.
Joining her will be Hungarian-born designer Zita Katona. Zita founded her interior design business Zitozza in 2020 during lockdown, combining her passion for graphics and textiles.
To make her products, she hand-prints coarse jute fabric with bold, geometric patterns using wooden blocks.
Zita said: “A lot of the research I undertook into jute – and the Scottish textile industry in general – relates right here to Fife and Dundee. It feels very natural and right to celebrate this material at these mills.
“I wasn’t brought up near here. To me, Jutefest is not about continuing traditions or nostalgia, but about looking at this utilitarian fabric with a fresh eye and reinterpreting it.
“And it’s about inviting locals to join us in that.”
Zitozza isn’t just modern in aesthetics, either. Zita’s business is meticulously sustainable, with a zero-waste policy for her textiles.
And the third featured artist, Maïté Allwood, has grown her hobby into one-woman business operation Knotty But Nice. From her home in Angus, she crochets whimsical bags and baskets made of jute.
Maïté sources her material locally, working exclusively with twine by Kingsmuir-based Nutscene.
Female-led, local, independent and sustainable – Jutefest looks set to be a very fashionable affair.
Jutefest dates: June 5, July 3, August 7, September 4.
Location: ArtAntics, Unit 2 Anchor Mill, West Henderson’s Wynd, Dundee.