McAnaraks is a small business run by me, Fran Harkes, from my workshop near Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland. It started off back in 1989 in my one-bedroomed flat in Aberdeen when I started making jackets from curtains and other fabrics that I found in charity shops and jumble sales. My living room became my sewing room and my kitchen was overwhelmed by shelves of fabric. At one point I thought my bike had been stolen, but I found it a year later under a pile of fabric in my bedroom.
I sold my jackets at craft fairs around Scotland. While attending one in Aviemore in 1995, I approached a fellow craft worker, Steve Cormack, who made dice from resin. I asked him if he could make me some buttons. He wasn’t keen on the idea, but was quite keen on me and romance blossomed. In 1997 I moved up to Dingwall where I proceeded to colonise Steve’s spacious 3 bedroom flat with my ever expanding fabric and sewing machine collection. I did eventually manage to persuade him to make me some buttons in resin and I used them on the jackets I made. People often asked “where do you get your buttons, can I buy some?” but I jealously guarded them for my own use.
However in 2007 I decided to have a go at decorating the buttons, and found that it was great fun. We tried putting a few on sale at one of our craft fairs, they were a hit and “Buttons by McAnaraks” was born. We developed a range to sell to the public at craft fairs, in various wool and gift shops and here online.
We now live in a lovely village called Tomatin, in a small house with a workshop each. The buttons are a joint venture, but we both also make our own crafts. I make customised clothing, textile art and accessories, Steve makes leather goods, trick dice and games. He sells his work on his own website : Highland Games.