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Material gains: Banff-born designer Donna Wilson creates new Aberdeenshire tartan

Knitwear designer Donna Wilson is nowadays known better for her collections of odd handmade creatures and covetable home furnishings than her Banff roots, but that might be about to change as the rising star has collaborated with Aberdeenshire school children to create an exclusive tartan. 

Aberdeenshire Provost Jill Webster (left) and designer Donna Wilson (right)

The Aberdeenshire Tartan: Home Colours is the product of a partnership between Wilson and youngsters from local including Aboyne, Dales Park, Kintore, Lochpots, Meldrum and Mill O'Forest., who were tasked to create a design inspired by Aberdeenshire's natural beauty.

With its attractive blend of colours the tartan is now being gifted to the people of Aberdeenshire and will also form the central theme in a range of new products designed to promote the area both at home and abroad. 

Wilson, who is now based in London and who secured the title of Designers of the Year at the 2010 Elle Decoration British Design Awards, spent a week working with children from each of Aberdeenshire's six areas in order to select a Home Colour that best represented the area they lived.

She also spoke to pupils about her work as a professional designer, selling knitted products and furnishings in 30 countries worldwide, giving them a chance to hear from a creative professional from the local area who has risen to global success in her chosen career.

Aberdeenshire Provost Jill Webster, who formally unveiled the design at Haddo House, said: "A new tartan is an exciting project and I am delighted with the final design. The pupils involved can be proud of what they've helped Donna create and I know it will serve Aberdeenshire well for years to come."

Chair of Education and Children's Services, Cllr Isobel Davidson said: "We are proud of Aberdeenshire's reputation as one of the most skilled and diverse craft regions in the country and this new, contemporary tartan will help reinforce and enhance that standing.

"We are grateful to Donna for her work on the tartan but also for the work she did with our young people to help inspire their imaginations and foster their creativity during the project."

Donna said: "It was an honour for me to have been chosen for this project and I'm thrilled with the positive feedback we've received so far.

"To be a true Aberdeenshire tartan, the design needed to have input from local people to find out what colours really represented the area and who better to do that than our young people? I loved working with them and I hope that being part of a process like this will inspire them to think about the possibilities of a career in the creative industries."

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