The early days...
After being taught basic sewing skills from an early age by her dressmaker Grandmother, Lesley spent four years studying Textile Design at the Scottish College of Textiles in Galashiels. Here she was immersed in the very heart of the Scottish textile industry. She learned how the fabrics we use to create our garments are created - dyeing , spinning, weaving, knitting, printing - the innumerable actions that form the fabrics of our lives.
A Jill of all trades...
Dabbling over the years in knitwear design, hat and bag making, tailoring and a spell working in theatre wardrobe in Scotland and London's West End, Lesley finally returned home to Scotland to learn the craft of traditional Scottish kilt-making.
Becoming an artisan...
This journey began in 1998 in a local kilt factory workshop where Lesley started as a machinist. Over the next eight years she was trained in each stage of the craft by skilled kiltmakers, women with a lifetime of kilting experience behind them. Lesley has spent the time since, honing and developing her skills, often unmaking and remaking ancient kilts, revealing and incorporating age old techniques, all but lost to the contemporary trade. More recently she took a short course at Askival of Strathearn Kilt College, further refining her kilting skills and the knowledge she's gathered and practised over the past twenty years.
Artisan (n.) - Made in a traditional way by someone who is skilled with their hands
Lesley Thornton - Kiltsmith
"I love making kilts. Each tartan requires different treatment and every customer is unique. I take great pride in transforming eight yards of pure wool twill into a bespoke kilt, worthy of being a future family heirloom."