LOOKING for a scarf based on average summer temperatures or a shawl inspired by building work?
Data analyst-turned-handweaver Cally Booker has that and more.
The mathematics graduate worked in computing and statistical analysis before giving it up to start her Bonny Claith design label.
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Based in studio space in a former Dundee jute mill, Booker uses low-tech wooden hand looms similar to those that once fuelled the city’s textile trade.
Her luxury products, which start at £120 for a merino and silk scarf, take their multicolour designs and intricate lace patterns from the local landscape, architecture and conditions.
This includes temperature measurements or aspects of the ongoing Waterfront regeneration, with Booker interpreting raw data into a mass of interwoven threads.
The process can take months of preparation, with Booker sometimes spending one week just setting up the loom alone.
But once the machines are working, it can take just a couple of hours to turn out the high quality textiles.
The technicolour results, which are all unique, are sold at Concrete Wardrobe craft boutique in Edinburgh and have been exhibited around the US.
Booker, who will welcome the public into her workshop as part of an open studios event at Meadow Mill between noon and 5pm this weekend, says the career change came as a result of “emotional blackmail”.
When her mother had to back out of a paid-for weaving course, she convinced her daughter to go in her stead.
As the session finished, Booker drove home with a second-hand loom in her car.
She said: “It overturned my life. I loved it.
“The fact that you can take thread and make it into cloth in this low-tech way tickles me every time I do it and I don’t want to do anything else.”
She went on: “I like to work with different data sets. Quite often I think, ‘I wonder what that would look like if I weaved it?’ At the moment I’m using random numbers based on the toss of a coin.”
Booker, who also teaches weaving, moved to Dundee 25 years ago through her husband’s work and the couple returned to the city following a two-year stint in New York.
She said: “It’s just fantastic working in Dundee. When we came back from the States they had just started making the DCA and since then it’s just been one thing after another.
“I’m a small town person at heart – I like to be in a place where you can get to the edge. In Dundee you have the best of both worlds because you have a city that is vibrant but its on a smaller scale. You can be in it and enjoying the buzz but you can also step back and go to the other side and draw breath easily.”
Discussing her production methods, Booker said: “I make sure every piece is different because if someone is going to pay for a luxury product, they should know their’s is the only one of its kind, and because of my low boredom threshold.
“I like simplicity of handweaving. It’s relaxing. I weave complex patterns using quite simple technology – aside from the odd spring, there’s nothing in the looms that isn’t wood or string.”