I originally started working at McKernans as an intern and jumped at the opportunity when I was offered a job afterwards.
When I come into work in the morning, the first thing I do is open the shop and put the sign outside the front of the building. Then I get a cup of coffee and go to the weaving workshop.
I mainly do weaving here although I didn’t know very much about it before my internship, and while I was learning to weave I got interested in the history of the machines. The looms that we use were invented in the 1860s by George Hattersley, in a town called Keighley in West Yorkshire only 25 miles from my hometown in Leeds. They were originally made to weave skirt lengths and can weave up to 90cm in width. We can also change the design, or use any colour or material, so we have lots of variety and can make beautiful scarves on these amazing machines.
Weaving is a very physical job, and I love using my hands to work.
Sometimes the looms aren’t working perfectly, I think they all have personalities and get mood-swings, during which they decide to throw the shuttle out or a leather strap will break. While this is annoying and I hate when it happens, I don’t mind the challenge and I love it when I fix the issue and the looms runs smoothly again.
I especially love summertime here because that’s when we get to meet the most people from all over the world. I really like taking them on tours of the building and showing them the weaving workshop and I always tell them that the looms come from Yorkshire, just like me.