Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 13 Northeast Scotland

Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre lies just a few miles from Inverness, the capital of the Highlands.  This famous battle lasted just 45 minutes and was the end of the Jacobite uprising. The visitor center tells the story of the years of political events leading up to the battle from both the government and the Jacobite viewpoints. The centre overlooks a flat field where on April 16, 1746, the Duke of Cumberland sent Bonnie Prince Charlie fleeing.
The battle field is marked with red flags showing the position of the government forces and blue flags for the Jacobite army.
Not only were the Jacobite forces massacred that day, after the battle, Cumberland, know as "The Butcher" ordered all Jacobite supporters in the Highlands hunted down and slaughtered after the battle.

For a musical interpretation, listen to the McKassons "Culloden" on their recording "Tripping Maggie"

Just a few miles off the A9 along the River Brora sits the studio of Joan Baxter, tapestry artist. Joan learned to weave tapestries from Archie Brennan in Edinburgh. She has been weaving tapestry commissions for over 30 years. She wove at the West Dean Tapestry studio and at the Victorian Tapestry Studio in Australia before opening her own studio. Her work can be seen in major tapestry exhibitions around the world.
Joan Baxter, tapestry artist and teacher
 Joan is inspired by the land and landscape. She and her husband live on a seven-acre nature preserve passed down from her family.  One can see the influence of the land in her traditional and mixed technique tapestries. 

Joan loves mixing colors, "Why use one colour when two will do?" 

She often works from a concept and digital photo.  She makes loose sketches and often draws and paints on top of a printout of the photo. She prefers not to use a detailed cartoon, so the work can develop as she weaves. Joan also enjoys teaching tapestry students.
This tapestry recently returned from an international exhibition and just sold! The individual bands of weaving were inspired by the folds of a kilt.
Current work on Joan's loom inspired by the past two harsh Scotland winters

Joan's husband, Steven Clark, is a blade smith, musician, and gardener. He apprenticed with a knifemaker and picked up the skill quite quickly. He told us “I’ve always been interested in doing grubby things in sheds!” 
Steven Clark, bladesmith, gardener, musician
 He likes giving old steel new life as a knife and believes knives should be functional, not just decorative. He made his own forge and uses  variety of materials for the handles including antler. 

Steven only makes knives for commission.  Between caring for the land and creating things with their hands, there is rarely a wasted moment or a missed opportunity for beauty at Ford House. 


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