The head of an innovative weaving project at The Pitstop in Forfar is about to embark on an educational trip of a lifetime to India.
Youth leader Dawn Mullady - the driving force behind the project - is carrying out some last minute research before she travels to Kolkata (formrly Calcutta) on a trip sponsored by the Weaver Craft and Nine Incorporated Trades of Dundee.
For me, this trip is a once in a lifetime experience.Dawn Mullady
Dawn has been awarded a travel scholarship to look at the Dundee-Calcutta links created during the heyday of the jute trade.
She has led two major weaving and heritage projects at the Pitstop Youth Centre which have re-introduced the skill to the younger generation.
An initial grant of £1,000 to buy three table-top looms paved the way for a £23,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery fund. The Pitstop now has its own weaving shed and last October hosted demonstrations and exhibition which told the story of Forfar’s once-thriving industry. The Weaver Craft was so impressed Dawn’s research into weaving in Forfar that there was no hesitation in sponsoring the trip.
Dawn said: “I am so very grateful to the Weaver Craft and the Nine Trades for their generosity and support over the past two years. For me, this trip is a once in a lifetime experience.”
The fact-finding tour will include visits to one of the world’s biggest jute mills on the Houglie River, a large Hindu temple for a ‘puja’ or prayer festival and a visit to the Scots Cemetery to lay flowers on the grave of a Black Watch soldier.
There is also a visit to one of Kolkata’s poorer schools and Dawn hopes to establish a link between the local youth project and an Indian school or women’s refuge.
She continued: “From what I have already learned about India, there is still a huge amount of work needing to be done to provide basic comfort and daily necessities for so many people.”
The trip will be led by Dundee weaver Sandra Thomson, who was born in Kolkata and they will be accompanied by Ron Scrimgeour, Nine Trades liaison officer for Pitstop.