Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Second-Hand Harris Tweed Coat.

Since completing the workshop on Vancouver Island last weekend, I have been thinking a lot about the 'herringbone' pattern. I have a second-'hand' jacket that I have started wearing on occasion when Im walling and actually wore it teaching this course. It is an old, but still fairly good-looking Harris tweed coat.

Why do I work in it? It is comfortable, warm, and in many ways weather resistant. And, it has several pockets; pockets both inside and out. These are handy spots for putting things in, and nice places for the hands to hang-out in when they're cold or not too busy.I think a sports coat looks 'classy' and brings an academic mood to the job site and/or the 'class'room. It's much easier than a sweatshirt, pullover, or a hoodie, for taking on and off.

I have seen lots of old black-and-white photos taken of banker masons and stoneworkers in the old country, wearing jackets and ties while they are working.

The first time I saw a sports coat actually being worn by someone working in stone was in Ventura California last January at the 2010 Symposium. Katsumi Ida an amazing Japanese stone sculptor and carver teaching students how to split stone with just 4 chisels (called points) and stubby wedges, wore a brown tweed jacket on the first day of the Symposium and a tidy looking navy sports coat on the next. He introduced a very academic 'look' to the dry stone building project.

I though to myself why not encourage some of that look to come back into fashion. People often wear jackets and ties to maintain a certain formality and to show respect. It is all part of a raising or maintaining of the standard. Wouldn't wearing more formal clothes at our work encourage a raising of the walling standard? Why should we wallers always dress down?

Anyway, tomorrow I shall be looking at the 'herringbone pattern' more carefully and exploring some other ways 'hand'-woven wool and 'hand'-woven walls (of herringbone) are connected.


  1. I have been enjoying your posts and finding many of your comments both funny and interesting. I myself have at times worn an old Harris tweed jacket with an Irish flannel shirt. It did actually cause a stir but some thieving B###### lifted it one day and l haven't managed to come across another. They do make a statement and add a touch of gravitas to the craft.

  2. It wasnt me!

    J S-R

  3. Huge selection of rare and unusual gents Harris Tweed jackets @

  4. We still stack peat in the herring bone style.
    The lack of verticals and horizontals in the jacket effects the eye. Good way not to be seen.
    "KEEP IT REEL" with Harris Tweed.
    Cheers Kenneth Murdo Macdonald