Forty years ago this month Lachlan Stewart and I walked along the river Ness in Inverness. We had committed to living and working together and our conversation centred around our shared ideals and principles. We met as students at Edinburgh College of Art, utilising the skills we had learnt there, we vowed to design for architecture and home furnishings in the Scottish vernacular. We would source the skills and materials we needed locally. It was then that ANTA was born. 


Ballone Carpet Rug


I was trained as a painter, by great teachers, who in turn were brought up in the school of Scottish colourists, to use colour. In 1984 tartan was still generally woven in Scotland using traditional colours, mostly black, green, blue and red. At art school black was virtually banned, certainly not to be used mixed with other colours. Tartans were given family names and tweeds named after places. Working within these constraints, but bending the rules slightly I started to recolour tartans and tweeds, always without black and renaming them after people and places I knew. One of the first was ‘Ballone’, based upon the traditional Hunting Stewart set. I replaced the black with blue and softened the green, blue, red and yellow overchecks. Using the rough Kempy Harris yarn grown in Scotland we wove it first as flat weave carpet and upholstery cloth and named it after Ballone Castle which Lachie had started to restore and where we now live. This formed part of the original Castle Carpet collection.


Donina Stewart Baking Dish Set


Four decades later in 2023 using the same design principles, removing the black and softening the other colours, Elaine, our head decorator and I developed a version of Hunting Stewart tartan and applied it to of range for pottery in the King’s Coronation year and named it Donina Stewart after Lachie’s mother who celebrated her centenary last year. Elaine, who has been with us nearly three of the four decades of ANTA’s life said that of the thousands of ANTA pieces that have been through her hands her favourite is the Donina Stewart side plate.

As we look forward to the future with excitement, we are reminded that it is the people, our loyal customers and talented staff who make ANTA what it is today. Here's to many more years of innovation, creativity, and shared success. 

Thanks to you all for being a part of our story.

Annie Stewart

Designer and Co founder 

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