Bothy Stores & Bothy Project co-founder and artist Bobby Niven talks to us about the inspiration behind his unique businesses and why he chose to partner with Kestin Hare for AW18.
What led you to doing the Bothy Project/Stores?
Bothy Project was inspired by trips to the mountain bothies and similar structures in France and Canada, taking my sketchbook to draw sculptures and develop ideas for exhibitions. The mountain bothies are amazing shelters but because you have to walk in your food and fuel you tend to only manage a night or two. So the idea of the Bothy Project was to capture the simplicity of being in an off-grid environment but to facilitate it in a different way, with a wood burning stove, firewood and bedding so that you could stay there for a week.
Bothy Stores was born from the amount of enquiries we were receiving from people who enjoyed our designs and wanted us to supply them with a bothy of their own. The flagship product of Bothy Stores is the Artist Bothy, inspired by Inshriach bothy in the Cairngorms and clad in corrugated corten steel. The profit from the sales of the Artist Bothy go directly back into Bothy Project to support artist residencies.
Best ever story from an artist at a Bothy?
I really like Jenny Brownrigg’s blog about the early women film-makers and photographers who were documenting Scottish Highlands & Islands life in the 1920s and 30s. Jenny stayed at Sweeney’s Bothy last year and revisited the sites in the photographs by MEM Donaldson taking a picture of her own from the same spot showing the changes in the landscape of the island.
What do you like about the Kestin Hare Brand?
There is a natural synergy between our brands and the inspiration for Kestin’s AW18 Shelter collection meant that the story and timing was perfect to collaborate. The simple, natural colours in the new collection appeal to me and I’m drawn to the knitwear – the rust coloured Fell Field Jacket is my favourite. I’m not good at separating work wear from my other clothes. I always seem to forget to wear my overalls so I inevitably end up putting my best clothes through the ringer at workshop and constructing bothies on site. The Kestin Hare clothes stand up to a beating, so I wear them to work and then wear them in town, and maybe wash them occasionally.
Bothy Essentials to take for one week at a remote bothy...
I would have to switch a book for my Moleskin Sketchbook. This has really heavy paper and a good strong cover so it doesn’t get squished in the backpack.
I dont think I would take a record. When I’m off-grid I like to tune into the radio and this wee wind up Sony ICF-B02 is amazing. It has a light, a whistle and you can charge your phone from it! I would take batteries too.
I love a Dalgetty Selkirk Bannock. It’s not very light but it gives you a tonne of energy.
4. Luxury item
It would have to be the Bothy Stores Trakke Camp Shower.
5. Survival item
Opinel no.8 penknife with a carbon blade. Not the stainless steel. The carbon keeps its edge better.
6. Kestin Hare AW18 product
The Fell Field Jacket in Rust
Bothy Stores products sold in the Cruiser Store Leith include:
Brain Rock Pot
Trakke Camp Shower Bag and Makers Ditty
Who Built Scotland book
Lloyd Kahn Shelters publications
For purchasing enquiries regarding the Artist Bothy BothyStores.com
Photos: Laura Meek & Johnny Barrington