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Television Documentary Weaves Scotland and China Together

“The Scottish Brocade” charts the production of bespoke garment in Nanjing and the Scottish highlands.

Nanjing, China, August 15, 2016 --( A TV entitled “The Scottish Brocade” documentary was released today, ten months after the start of the project that aims to help preserve the ancient intangible cultural heritage that is Nanjing brocade.

Nanjing Brocade, like much of the world's ancient crafts, faces the challenge of raising interest among future generations in the skills required to maintain it. With the aim of safeguarding brocade for the long term, the Nanjing municipal government and the Nanjing Brocade Research Institute joined forces in 2015 with Nanjing based Scottish company SinoConnexion Ltd., to create a bespoke garment that could capture the imagination of people around the world, along with an accompanying documentary style video.

Viewers of the documentary will join the participants on their voyage of discovery, that starts in the remote villages of the Highlands of Scotland and brings them to Nanjing where they face the challenge of bringing two very different weaving cultures together into one piece of fabric.

In the first phase of the project, Scottish weaver Sam Goates spent a week in Nanjing working with the Brocade Institute on the design for the material. Only after coming to a better understanding of the highly complex methods that comprise brocade production was Goates able to finalise her Scottish influenced design that resembles shoals of herring reflected in colours reminiscent of the seas around Scotland.

In the second stage, the Brocade Institute prepped one of its traditional brocade looms for production of the fabric, a process that took 6 weeks in all. Another 3 months were required to weave the fabric, at the painstaking rate of 5cm per day.

Finally, in April of this year, the finished fabric was taken to Inverness in the highlands of Scotland, and placed into the hands of couturier Sandra Murray M.B.E. In her unique method of working that involves only designing the garment after she has felt the material to be used in her own two hands, Murray spent the better part of a month to complete the final dress.

Frank Hossack, the documentary's director who has lived in China for 23 years, said of his inspiration to the project, “I started thinking about connections between Nanjing and my home in the Highlands of Scotland. Remembering that brocade was initially reserved only for royalty, I was reminded that my friend Sandra Murray had previously designed a dress worn by the Queen. What a marvellous link between Nanjing and the Highlands of Scotland, I thought!”

Vice Director of the Research Institute, Ms. Wu Ying, said “We are excited by the project, not just because it will help people all over the world know about Nanjing brocade, but also in it being a great way to create a new modern material that has cross-cultural appeal, to people of all ages.”

Through this innovative two pronged approach that produced the garment and documentary concurrently, organisers hope to bring understanding of the craft to a world wide audience and inspire future generations to take up the mantle that is the preservation of Nanjing Brocade.

The documentary can be viewed online at:- /

About the Nanjing Brocade Research Institute: Ancient Chinese silk production and traditional brocade weaving techniques are presented by the Nanjing Brocade Research Institute that also traces the history of silk, through the investigation of archaeological textile fragments.

About Sam Goates: With over 25 years experience of textile design and production, Buckie-based artisan cloth weaver Sam Goates is dedicated to preserving traditional skills and craftsmanship in the cloth trade.

About Sandra Murray: As a designer/couturier/artisan driven by a passion for hand stitching, designer Sandra Murray M.B.E. is based in Inverness and has, among her prior clients, Queen Elizabeth II, for whom she designed a dress worn by the monarch to the opening of the Scottish parliament in 1999.

About SinoConnexion: As the city's leading English language media provider, SinoConnexion specialises in video production with a cross-cultural and educational focus, while also operating The Nanjinger magazine in addition to numerous other media platforms that serve Nanjing's foreign community.
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SinoConnexion Ltd.
Frank Hossack

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