Studio Tolsta is a design studio based between the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and Tamil Nadu in South India. Our collections are inspired by the rich heritage found in the craft traditions of both places. An affinity for modern, functional and considered design is as important to our approach as a respect for traditional techniques and processes. We like to combine and contrast elements in unexpected ways to create a dialogue between these different sensibilities.
Studio Tolsta was founded by Scottish designer Catriona Maciver, who set up the studio in a converted loom shed in her ancestral village of Tolsta, on the Isle of Lewis. After experimenting with ceramics and screen-printed textiles, she was drawn to Harris Tweed, a hand-woven, woolen fabric named after the Island’s southern region. Only produced in the Outer Hebrides, it is one of the last surviving testimonies to Scotland’s handloom weaving heritage. Inspired, she began to experiment with the fabric, enjoying the process of combining the traditional with the contemporary.
In 2014, Catriona travelled to India on a graphic design residency with Chennai based Tara Books. During her stay, she became increasingly interested in Indian craft processes and textiles, and formed relationships with various artisans. She also met and married her partner, establishing a more permanent base in India. This transformed her initial ideas into a more expansive and ambitious project. She started to experiment with juxtaposing materials and sensibilities by incorporating Indian textiles alongside Harris Tweed in her products. Along with her collaborators, Catriona would like to create products that bring two crafting cultures together while also celebrating what makes them unique.