Thursday, May 22, 2014

2014 Tour Day Thirteen

Joan Baxter is an internationally known tapestry artist and weaver. Joan trained in Edinburgh and Poland and has been weaving tapestry commissions for over 30 years. She is currently finishing a series of 24 small tapestries based on "The Weaver", a short story by Orkadian George Mackay Brown. Here is a link to a video clip  of the performance piece of a dancer and the 3 weavings Joan wove in 2012-2013 inspried by the story, "Between the Web and the Loom."

2014 Tour Day Twelve

Orkney is brimming with makers of jewelry, knitting, felting, weaving, ceramics, musical instruments, and chairs.  Jackie and Marlene Miller have run Scapa Crafts for 20 years. They make chairs of oatstraw, sisal, and wood.

2014 Tour Day Eleven

We go to the Kirbister Farm Museum on West Mainland on Orkney to see the rare breed North Ronaldsay sheep. However, one is drawn in by the lilt of caretaker Neil's Orkadian accent and the smell of the burning peat fire. The self-sufficient Orkadians fished, farmed, made rope, baskets, and chairs out of straw and lived with the animals in one end of house and the people in the other. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2014 Tour Day Ten

Smoo Cave
On Day 10 we travel up the NW coast from Ullapool, all the way accross to Tongue.  A stop at Smoo Cave near Durness to stretch our legs provides a big bang for just a short walk.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

2014 Tour Day Nine

You may have visited  a stone circle somewhere in the world. There is nothing like visiting a stone site with an archeolgist such as Margaret Curtis. She has lived in the area and worked on Callenish Isle of Lewis for over 30 years.  She has a new book just out with  discoveries made from aerial photographic examination of the site.  Despite what felt like gale force winds, we dutifully followed Margaret around the formation as she engaged and enlighted us with her enthusiastic and informative insight into the mysteries of the stones.

Monday, May 19, 2014

2014 Tour Day Eight

At an unlikey gallery, the upstairs of the An Clachan grocery store in Leverburgh on the southern tip of Harris, is displayed a wonderful labour of love. Gillian Scott-Forrest instigated the Harris Millenium Project. A series of hangings was designed, one for each part of the island.

The tweed fabric and the wool yarn used for the pictorial embroidery was hand dyed using plant dyes. Of the 1600 people living on Harris, 90 were involved in the project. The images on each hanging depict both history and current events from each area of the island. Each of the 8 panels are 5' x 2 1/2'.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

2014 Tour Day Seven

Today we travelled from Aberdeenshire all the way to the Isle of Skye. Along the way we saw lochs, waterfalls, mountains, hairy coos, sheep, gorse covered slopes, and most especially beautiful spring colors. 

Folks ask why I lead tours of Scotland in the spring. The glory of Highlands and Islands in springtime is one of the reasons.

Trish Norman performed a house concert for us last night. Enjoy her song about flax and linen as you watch today's video.

2014 Tour Day Six

The work of Elaine Lindsey
We take a break from travel for one day to work with our hands. Elaine Lindsey is a master straw artist from Inverurie. She teaches internationally and explores all facets of straw work in her art.  Elaine loves researching and reproducing traditional designs but also enjoys designing her own contemporary pieces.

I play the traditional Scottish tune, "Harvest Home" hornpipe  to accompany the "making" in the following video.