THE VOICES OF EKA
Morag - Class of 2018/19
"After speaking to a kilt maker at a friend's wedding and even though I had never done any sort of dressmaking I thought that it sounded like a good idea to learn. After an Internet search I found EKA.
Unfortunately I had missed the open day for finding out more about the course and the skills test. However Kirsty asked if I could come in that weekend for the chat & skills test, and if so she was willing to accommodate me. The following Friday I started the course.
I'm not the easiest person to teach as some things stick straight away & some thing just don't! So on a few occasions I end up asking the same question multiple times. Kirsty was patient with me & I never felt rushed or that I was a bother for asking for help, even if it was something that had already been covered.
I loved the course & was happy to be able to continue to make kilts after the course was finished. I like the social aspect of sewing with others on a weekly basis on the drop in days and hope that it will be something that will restart after the pandemic."
Rachel - Class of 2018/19
"I was still working in the finance industry when I first saw the article in the Scotsman that a kiltmaking course was about to start.
I kept the newspaper cutting and after I retired I started the course in September 2018 and it has been the best thing I've ever done. The course was well structured and although there was only 3 of us on the Tuesday session we soon formed a team and had fun whilst learning from Kirsty, our patient and supportive teacher.
The course didn't just stop when I qualified though as there has always been ongoing help especially when trying to pleat up a difficult tartan!
I've continued to make kilts for Gordon Nicolson and have been so thankful to have learned this skill which has seen me through not just the pandemic but also a personal health issue.
Thank you EKA!"
Jennifer - Class of 2019/20
"I was introduced to EKA by 2 friends who had attended previous courses and were so enthusiastic about the course that I wanted to find out more about it. The kilt has always amazed me with regards to its history, the variety of tartans available and its complex design. After attending an Open Day and passing the skills tests, I was delighted to be accepted onto the full time course. Kirsty is so enthusiastic about her trade and is a fabulous teacher, and is available to help and offer advice outwith the standard class times too. It is an intense course not least because of the high standard each student must attain before they can pass and be qualified Kiltmakers, but it’s most enjoyable and rewarding. The feeling I got when I finished my first kilt was just amazing and so satisfying that I just wanted to get on to the next one! The support from Kirsty and Emma doesn’t end when the course finishes either."
Liz - Class of 2019/20
"Kiltmaking wasn’t a career I had thought about prior to undertaking the course but I’m so glad I did now. Due to personal circumstances I was looking for a change of career and wanted something flexible that I could do from home.
GNK’s kiltmaking course Open Day kept popping up on Facebook and I decided to attend. It was serendipitous! That was over two years ago now and I’ve LOVED every minute. Our teacher Kirsty was very patient, the course was well structured and we, as students, had good fun whilst learning. Since qualifying I’ve made lots of kilts and it has been an honour to see some of them swinging in action! Support from GNK has been ongoing and Kirsty is always on hand for extra advice and support if needed.
Now, whenever I’m asked the question, “...and what do you do for a living?” the subsequent conversation is always interesting!
It’s cool being a kiltmaker!"
Audrey - Class of 2019/20
"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at EKA. It was well worth the money and I gained more than learning how to make a kilt! I made so many friends as well.
Kirsty is a first class tutor and Emma was only too willing to share her own expertise as well. The whole GNK family are a great bunch of people.
I now use my skills in making kilts for teddy bears and dolls!"
Zhenya - Class of 2019/20
"The time I spent at the EKA was most exciting, enjoyable and rewarding. Kirsty is indeed a very good teacher, who is patient, gentle and at the same time thorough and even strict at times: she'll make you undo all those pleats if they fall short of the dreaded EKA standard!
The atmosphere during the lessons was very relaxed and everyone could work at their own pace. We still got there in the end! The fun, chats and cups of tea were all a part of this experience, which taught me a great traditional craft and gave me a bunch of new friends, who are passionate about Scottish history and heritage.
Thank you so much for all you do, guys!"
Mathilde - Class of 2020/21
“When I moved to Scotland back in 2018, I was dreaming of learning to make kilts, which have always fascinated me. I love the complexity and endless possibilities of it, while still being a traditional garment with its own codes and History, as well as the fact that it is deeply rooted in traditional craftsmanship and tightly linked with the Scottish textile industry. I am very grateful and proud to be part of the Edinburgh Kiltmakers Academy and it is already exceeding my expectations (which were really high!) We are learning so much every week, and being filled with the joy of learning something really special and precious. I cannot wait to keep learning and seeing my kiltmaking skills grow and hopefully reach the high standards of Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers.”
Rachel - Class of 2020/21
"During a long career in science, I began to realise that what made me truly happy was making things, using my hands. I started to think about kiltmaking after a conversation, about 10 years ago, with an older kiltmaker. It was only when I realised that it was time to leave my job, that I started looking for somewhere to learn how to make kilts: and I found Gordon Nicholson and the Edinburgh Kiltmakers Academy. It’s taken some time, but here’s hoping I might have finally found my thing."
Rose - Class of 2020/21
"As a weaver, I've always been kept busy with how to design and construct cloth. So much so, I've never really explored what happens off the loom! I've been working with the talented GNK family as a fashion model for almost 2 years, and the Kiltmakers academy has always been a dream. I'm delighted I did decide to take on this new role and push myself to learn this valued, historical skill. I aspire to become one of (hopefully) many in the next generation of Kiltmakers, dedicated to upholding tradition today."
Rose - Class of 2019/20
"After attending the Wild and Majestic exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland back in 2019, I was fascinated by the longevity of the outfits on display. The idea of having a bespoke piece of clothing to represent your family ties, that can grow with you as you get older was something I wanted to be able to make for my sons as they approached adulthood.
My research brought me to EKA, and by a huge stroke of luck, a spot on the course had become available for a quick start.
I initially struggled with the process and lacked confidence. Kirsty was kind and patient, time after time, making sure I was completely comfortable in all aspects of Kiltmaking before I completed the course and became a Kiltmaker.
The icing on the cake is the social aspect of Kiltmaking EKA fosters, with weekly drop-in days for all EKA attendees to sit and sew, problem solve and keep our skills as fine-tuned and up to date as possible, which I am really looking forward to attending post-pandemic.
It was and continues to be inspiring learning from Kirsty, Emma, and Gordon who are passionate about their craft and continue to share their wealth of knowledge even after the course has been completed."
Jonathan - Class of 2020/21
“I have grown a strong interest in tartans and kilts since I moved to Scotland. I am fascinated by the engineering of the kilt and how we can fashion such a beautiful garment out of a single long piece of cloth.
As I am curious by nature, I decided to join the Academy to learn more about this valuable and precious craftsmanship and, hopefully, be part of the young generation who dedicates their time and energy to save and nurture this legacy. Learning kiltmaking fulfills me in many aspects, as I use both my hands and mind to create a wonderful and sustainable garment made out of natural fibers that will last a lifetime. These aspects mean a lot to me and I can't be more enchanted by the character of it. I am delighted to be part of this amazing adventure: my journey as a kiltmaker has just started and I have learnt and achieved so much already!”
Aurora - Class of 2020/21
“After graduating university last year with a degree in Sound and Music for Video Games, I've had a real calling to return to working with my hands. Ever since I was a wee girl I've loved learning all kinds of crafts; beading, embroidery, crochet, knitting and dressmaking. I decided to join the course because I have a long family history of working with textiles, and a love for hand sewing. So far, I'm loving the course and I'm looking forward to making many more kilts in the future!”
Alex - Class of 2020/21
"I moved to Edinburgh two years ago to move in with my partner.
I'm doing the course because I couldn't think of a better way to make some Scottish roots in my new hometown and meet some like minded women.
Rob (my partner) served in the Black Watch for over twenty years and wore a kilt nearly every day so I want to make him a special handsewn kilt with love one for our wedding..... after covid!
I have loved every minute of the course so far."