March 22 2011
The phrase “Made in Scotland” might conjure up images of tartan scarves, tartan kilts or tartan-wrapped shortbread, but online boutique Papa Stour confounds preconceptions with its perfectly chic mix of contemporary craft, accessories and homewares, all handmade by a host of Scottish artists and designers. Taking its name from a small Shetland island, Papa Stour was founded by Rosie Brown, a textile designer and interior stylist who formerly worked as a regular contributor to Elle Decoration and who has run the website since 2005, first from the remote rural Ayrshire cottage in which she grew up, now from her home in Pittenweem in Fife.
Her shop operates with a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to Scottish kitsch (no bagpipe-adorned teddies here), and even Papa Stour’s “Traditional Scotland” section eschews the more obvious Celtic clichés and instead features a range of original gift ideas – from the hammered-silver Qaich cup with Glenmorangie cask oak handles (a traditional wedding gift, third picture, £150), to personalised handbound leather journals (£95) and deerskin hip flasks (first picture, £32) embossed with the outline of a stag’s head.
Even more unusual is the range of “convoluted” bowls (from £25), whose delicate honeycomb structure is achieved through a process of wrapping clay-soaked Arran wool around plaster moulds before firing, and the chunky hand-knitted chain-link necklace (£60) and felted-wool corsage in vibrant blue or orange (£22).
Also worth a click is the series of witty takes on popular slogans, such as the “Eat Haggis and Ceilidh On” print (£42) – a cheeky retort to the recently revived and now ubiquitous “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster – and the “Drop Scones Not Bombs” tea towel (£10; drop scones are a particularly delicious Scottish pancake). In a similar vein is Allistair’s Ship’s Crew Russian Dolls, a set of seven hand-painted dolls, which range in size from the ship’s rotund captain to the ship’s dog, ending with a charmingly Lilliputian seagull doll (£138).