Fair Isle Straw Crafts
Proprietor Stewart Thomson
These straw-backed chairs are based on a traditional Fair Isle design, hand-crafted from selected hard-wood timbers and locally grown and harvested straw. The base is fully paneled and fitted with twin drawers, all fastened with wooden trenails. The back is made from Shetland Oats, grown and thrashed on the Isle. It is stitched in a manner particular to Fair Isle, thus making it unique.
Similar to, and probably originally based on Orkney chairs, the Fair Isle chairs have been
made on the island since the middle of last
century, and exported since the beginning
of this one. The design is variable,
depending on the skill of the maker, and on
the amount and quality of wood available.
The straw is Shetland Oats, which produce a
fine, long stemmed straw, ideal for working
and which grows very well on Fair Isle.
Because it has almost disappeared in
Shetland, I have to thrash enough seed from
my own crop to plant the following year.