17 May 2021

Red Tiles

Written by Published in Art & Culture

Grampus Heritage, in partnership with Sublime Magazine, runs one of Europe’s most successful vocational training programmes. Funded by the EU's ERASMUS PLUS grant, organisations all over Europe receive students and teachers for cultural projects. In the past there have been some great stories – here’s one

Ishbel Dickson was one of Grampus’s PEATS - "Placements in Environmental, Archaeological & Traditional Skills" students here last year in Cyprus with Kato Drys Community Council; quiet, hard-working, conscientious, inventive. Ishbel did some very good work.


These last days she told me about her graduate project, which grew out of photos she took in the Cypriot mountain villages where she was based for 32 days. In Ishbel’s own words:

"I’m making modular knitted textiles inspired by the clay roof tiles and how they fit together snugly. I chose modular textiles because of the sustainability element, that the textiles are customizable and in turn linked with longevity”.

What a great idea!

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Now, this struck a chord with me … Because …  I’m an absolute fan of clay rooftiles and Cyprus has some total gems. In-fact every place that was once in the Roman Empire has great tiles because they developed the technology to a high degree and fixed some habits that continue until today … such as using zoomorphic logos. Simage 6The interlocking tile was a Romanian invention by an entrepreneur called ‘Muschong’ over 150 years ago. Before Muschong’s brilliant idea, roofs had 3 overlapping layers and were very heavy. Roman roofs: there are a few round here in Cyprus, were very efficient but heavy … Fashion inspired by landscape is a novel way of linking culture together and helping in terms of cultural sustainability.  

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Modular knitting, as Ishbel says, is sustainable … Using small batches, leftovers, even unpicked jumpers, there’s also the chance to incorporate recycled fibres - even stripped fabric and plastic bags. Also, as Ishbel says, it’s interchangeable … you can assemble an outfit to fit an occasion or a mood.

To bring the story up to date, I discussed with Ishbel, a PEATS placement with Satul Verde Association, which means "Green Village", in Romania this summer ... great knitters, crochet-makers ... and ... roof tiles that are frankly FANTASTIC

This story illustrates what Grampus and ERASMUS PLUS are ALL ABOUT ... Linkages, learning, internationalization, creativity ... BRAVO!

Read more of Martin Clark's articles in Sublime Magazine 


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