We have to start somewhere, lets start and stay with integrity....

We have to start somewhere, lets start and stay with integrity....

Starting with a blank page or an empty loom.... this is our first entry into the rebel diaries, and you can be guaranteed we will make rebellious statements in each one!

With so many stories to tell, past, present and future, where do we start?  The problem is where was the begining of Prickly Thistle?  Was it in the lifetime of Clare, me, or is it the beginning of tartan itself?  Still working that one out....


For this entry I will start with today, today I am sitting in the original cabin that I built with my husband in October 2015.  It was built to start me off with my mission and obsession that was tartan and the meaning of identity.  Just a few metres from my family home, I have spent long hours here, excited, inspired and frustrated with all that I discovered.  That first two years probably more than anything tested my commitment to the tartan textile cause.  It shaped me into at times a stubborn and driven rebel leader, for every failure and closed door it pushed me harder.  Why did I not give up?  Because I believe in identity and my ever growing desire to shine a light on integrity.  But back to today....

It is the 16th of May and the world is scrambling to work out what the new normal is as we experience a surreal situation of where one little virus has turned everything as we knew it upside down.  We are no doubt all asking what our role in this is, how can we first and foremost help protect the lives of those we love and are yet to love and meet in our lifetimes.  At the same time questioning how has this happened?  What can we do as a global society to be better and never experience this again.  


The answers to these questions I believe all depends on your core values, purpose and passion.  We are all different, just like tartan designs themselves, some are more red and some are more blue.  Respecting those that are red and those that are blue is always important, and respect can be still be shown even when you disagree, it's how you say it.  But we should be allowed to say, as challenging can lead to a better solution, a fairer solution.

So my overall thought for today is integrity during a crisis, it's about doing the right thing for the crisis we are in and not to commercialise in an area you see so many desperate in need of.  This for me is cloth coverings or masks, as fabric manufacturers and product makers it would be very easy for us to join the 'fashion' mask frenzy. 

I respect that so many businesses are experiencing incredibly tough times, where your revenue streams have slowed or even disappeared and this is true for us, but if you were not an approved mask maker before then why charge for these products now?  Why not continue staying true to your craft, your passion products and continue sharing that with those that support you?  Producing products with no accreditation, no testing but look pretty to meet demand in a crisis to me questions integrity.  We will not survive this virus because we look pretty, but because we volunteer our time our ideas to create solutions that save lives for the long term, for everyone.  And that is what we have done, working with professors and academics across Scotland for two months now, looking at sustainable solutions, where the past might just unlock the present!

But we do have fabrics, we do have sewing machines and we do have time.  We have chosen to help like the army of sewers around the world, and this is why we have volunteered free masks since March through www.ukfreemasks.com as well as push for accredited and tested solutions.


A controversial topic I know, but for me it was important to share with you what side we stand on.  As rebels always stay true to their values after all.... and if the path becomes a bit tougher we will not look for a new easier path to another destination, we know it is important to stay on course, pay it forward and maintain our integrity....

Stay safe, tell those you love that you do, and do it more now than ever,

Clare x


  • Karen Eynon

    Integrity is and always has been a vital piece to my life’s puzzle. I suppose this is why I am so drawn to you! We can occasionally step off our own path but I believe that our health and well being as a person and a community depends on love and integrity.

  • SueAnn McDevitt

    totally brilliant, Clare! I just love (hah!) the $45.00 St. John fashion masks. As if I would trust the protection of a knit…

  • Brita

    Thank you Clare. It’s always great to participate in your thoughts. You are an extraordinary woman. I am very excited to see how the diary continues. Take care of yourself. Love Brita

  • Marci Ryan

    Well said! Loved it all! Stay the course, pay it forward, maintain our integrity.
    It’s about the greater good. Not ourselves! Stay well! Stay safe! ♥️

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