A ONE-OFF tartan has been commissioned for the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home inspired by its first manager, a veterinary surgeon who helmed the animal welfare organisation for the first 20 years of its existence.
The design of the green tartan with white and red overlays was based on John Kirk’s family tartan, Clan Maxwell.
Designed by leading tartan designer Brian Wilton, the new tartan draws upon the ethos of the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home (EDCH), weaving in elements that represent what the charity stands for.
Two dark green squares memorialise the year the home was established, with 18 and 84 threads respectively. The bright green is taken from the home’s branding and the grey band represents the Edinburgh and Lothians streets where many of the animals have been saved.
The red symbolises the warmth, comfort and safety that greets the animal residents when they are taken to their new home.
Brian, who has designed more than 200 personal and corporate tartans, was asked to create a bespoke tartan for a fundraising auction. The highest bidder on the night gifted the prize to ECDH, and as soon as Brian found out who the recipient was, his creative process began.
He said: “Every tartan is tailored to the client. I ask them questions and I go and do research and see what the corporate colours are to start to get the design elements. Then I look to see if there’s any connection between the organisation and a historical tartan.”
Using design software, Brian manipulates the base tartan to introduce new design aspects and colours that change its structure and it becomes a new fabric, but one that is “rooted in the past.”
The uniqueness of the new design, is “down to the little details”, he says. “I try to get my head round the purpose of the tartan.”
He hopes that one day the tartan will be used on collars and clothing for the animals, making rescue animals and supporters of the home recognisable.
Brian said: “I’m looking forward to seeing people get to know it and associate it with what it was designed it for. Hopefully, after a while the tartan will become synonymous with the dog and cat home.”
For Brian, who has designed for Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Alzheimer Scotland, every tartan has “something special about them”.
The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home’s CEO Howard Bridges said: “We have been part of the fabric of Edinburgh since 1883, so it’s very fitting that our story has now been woven into its very own tartan.
“From the recognisable green of the home, to the thread count symbolising the number of whiskers on dogs and cats, to the grey streets of the city from where we’ve rescued and rehomed so many animals, Brian’s thoughtful design wholeheartedly embodies everything we stand for.”