Musings, Ruminations and personal debris

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Here are the latest and most beautiful additions to the croft. From a breeder in Dornoch, Sally Orr, two darling little shetland ewe lambs.
Very bright both of them, but with very different personalities, the white one's name is Greti and still haven't got the cafe au lait lambie's name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blackleg-of-bernera

 

 

 

 

A pic of one of our favorite sheep. He appeared one day, having broken into the croft, and wasn't for going out again.
He was masquerading as one of the croft ewes, until I clipped her only to discover at the last gasp that she was a boy and a strong delightful feisty one at that.

 

 

 

 i want to thank Suzanne Harris for the superb job she made of my website, apart from the opening picture on the home page which you'll - possibly - be disappointed to find out, was taken about 100 years ago. I'm much more crumpled-up looking now. Anyway, damns a haite, as they say nowhere else but N.W.Sutherland.

 

 

 

Here's a bit about my life, my work, and how I came to it........

 

"I'll take you down to see your knitting lady, if you want" said Jenny over her shoulder," It'll be a jaunt." She was making one of her whipped-up own- recipe cakes. Sitting on the kitchen chair balanced on its back legs, carefully, I smiled. What a friend.


Wanting to go to Muir of Ord in Ross-shire from wildest North-est, West-est Sutherland is a foolish proposition on public transport. In fact, you had to leave before you arrived if you wanted to get home the same day.


I didn't drive, but Jenny did, so we went a few days later to collect some hand knitted jumpers for my wee craft shop in Kinlochbervie, Sutherland and, of course, a crucial shopping raid. There was no warning .....that life would never be the same again.


Chrissie was a sweetheart, a large lady, in a small house, very fond of pink.... everywhere. We had pink blancmange, and pink jammy cakes for the extensive tea she had prepared. This lady was, unsuspectingly, about to change my life forever. "Sallie" she says, "next time you are down here, will you go up into the attic for me? I think what I've got is a little loom up there, you could have it...."
Well, that was it. I decided I would weave, and got a match funded grant from local funders for studying.


I never did go into Chrissie's' attic for the loom, but I went down the road to Argyll to Noelle Boise, and her teaching inside the tiny, tortuous loom made especially for her wee self, I'm 5'7½".
Then even further down to Cumbria to Joanna Somerville, An impressive weaver. She worked me hard and fed me well. And when she gave me a good hard slap, it was a shock but she didn't want or expect me to be obtuse. Joanna taught me all I wanted to know, no matter what nor when.
I walked the early summer dawns; by tender bluebell floored woods, by worn backdoor step of dairy and hawthorn crowned hill, then worked obsessively all day and night.


Next it was up the way to Caithness and Angie MacGregor in Wick. She taught me to look, to see, about Art (capital A) and gave me freedom to explore and permission to experiment. We did some groovy stuff together and eventually, with James Sutherland who designed a triangular frame loom, had my first exhibition in Eden Court, Inverness! Wow! It was such a brilliant learning, opening, sharing.
And it still is, never stops.......


Lots of exhibitions, looms and tapestries later, I'm living on my second croft with my second husband, and mostly sheep and Angora goats. This one is on the island of Great Bernera off Isle of Lewis. The first one was, funnily enough, in Muir of Ord, and we had fat cattle, thoughtful sheep, clever Angora goats, bees, hens, geese, cats, Guinea fowl and crops and scarcely time to do anything else, really. It was breath-taking, unbelievable, learning to live for and with animals. A whole other world opens before one's eyes, if you let it come to you.


Some of the most funny, moving and incredible times have been with and because of animals; We had a bit of an emergency last week with adopted Lambie, who choked on something that went the wrong way, he was blowing bubbles of snotters and really struggling to swallow/breathe so I ran back to the office and got John & asked him to do the same as he would to a human, whatever that was, sort of jerking the ribs/lungs suddenly from behind, anyway, not so easy with a fat lambie, he said "where are his ribs"? I ask you, what a silly question in an emergency. Anyway, I gave him Rescue Remedy and liquid paraffin,( just in case) John shook him upside down and we banged his ribs and out came a lump of moss (or was it food?) from his nose along with loads of snotters, which I wiped off his nose and mouth!! Then I thought "maybe he's got bloat", so I gave him cooking oil and bicarb, at which point he lurched out of our hands and made a run for it. Seems ok now, at least he's bleating and eating which is fairly normal for him!
I had to go and have some comforting porridge with golden syrup.


Now the Angoras, the Shetland and Hebridean sheep share my life with my tapestries. We're on earth together. Sheila Roderick on Scalpay, Isle of Harris hand spins the lustrous mohair and the fluffy soft wool and now I sell it in my studio as well as locally made drop spindles and the tapestries.

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Visitors all want photos of my twin Angoras, Poppy and Lily, who are definitely a USP(unique selling point)!
If they saw Adam and me warm water washing and blow-drying the "Wriggly Sisters", they might not be so enamoured!

 

Walking the hills, the shore, one is overcome by the intensity of nature and gifted by its astounding exquisiteness to try and create some little piece of beauty.


I weave on a James Lockie 4 shaft and an old, upright 2 shaft Dryad loom.


Thank you.

Leonardo Da Vinci painting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I have learned from an early age to abjure the use of meat,

            and the time will come when men such as I

                 will look upon the murder of animals

             as they now look upon the murder of men"

Leonardo da Vinci (April 15, 1452 - May 02, 1519)

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 February 2014 15:28