Where does a girl inspired by the Highlands and Islands of Scotland go on holiday?
The Highlands and Islands of course!
Well actually we usually go to the west of Ireland but this year we went to the Isle of Harris via Arisaig and Skye.
We pitched our tent here at Horgabost on the stunning west side of Harris.
A few steps over the dunes from the door of the tent brought me to this spot where I loved to sit and drink my coffee first thing.
You know you have come to the right place on holiday when the sea is your favourite shade of turquoise.....
... and the flowers and shells are your favourite shade of mauvey purple!
I read one guide book describe this place as paradise refrigerated .... they were not wrong! I still went in the sea though. It wasn't as cold as it looked and wasn't the coldest water I've ever swum in either. I loved it. So clear and fresh.
As you can imagine I was very excited about the prospect of buying some Harris Tweed to include in my work.
These are cones of Harris wool in the weavers shed at Carloway on Lewis.
Norman Mackenzie weaves his tweed in the traditional manner on a Hattersley single width loom. There are only a handful of these particular looms still working on the Island producing this famous cloth.
I bought a metre of this glorious purple from Norman's sister Margaret who was holding the fort the day we visited. She kindly gave me a few labels to use on any bigger finished pieces. Not sure what I'll do with this piece but it will have to be something special!
There are SO many different colours and patterns of tweed to choose from and I nearly passed out with excitement when we walked into an enormous shed full of tweed next to The Tweed Shop at Tarbert.
I managed to get my hands on various bits and pieces on our travels around the Island and have already started playing around with it.
These bird brooches are a mixture of tweed and felt. The felt areas are hand dyed merino with hand dyed silk fibres and I feel that they compliment the tweeds well.
The pendants are again a combination of tweed and felt with a little bit of stitch for added detail.
I added some beads to this heart as I felt it needed just that little bit extra silver across the middle. This magenta tweed is extra thick and fuzzy and looks a bit like felt already.
On one of our days out we visited this brand new Gallery and Shop at Seilebost.
I happened to be wearing one of my square textile and resin pendants which caught the eye of Artist owner Lesley Wiseman. Although all the paintings in the gallery are by Artists living on the Islands, the crafts and gifts are by artists from further afield, inspired by the area. My textile sea pendants are certainly inspired by the beautiful turquoise hebridean sea and so Lesley bought some from me there and then to sell in this fabulous new venue! Lesley bought some sheep pendants too and I hope to send some cards soon as well.
Just look at the location!
That's the gallery, the bigger of the two white buildings on the left.
Harris Huts and Houses.
The east side of Harris is a total contrast to the machair and endless beaches on the west. It is a coastline of little coves and a landscape that puts you in mind of the what the moon must be like. All rugged and barren. This side of the island is well populated though with lots of interesting artists and makers to visit. We took a drive up what is locally known as The Golden Road (because it cost so much to build) and I was enthralled by all the cute little huts and houses dotted about.
If you thought those red roofed cottages so prevalent in my work only existed in my imagination think again!
I'll be getting on with lots of new work now that our children are back to school and I am so enthused with new inspiration.
Don't forget that if you are local to Fife you can find me and my work at Muddy Boots Farm Shop and Cafe, Balmalcolm this Saturday 20th August.
As well as all my usual textile art and craft I will have these new cards for sale.
They are all prints of some of my favourite felt pieces. There are nine designs to choose from and cost £2.50 each or 5 for £10. They have been selling so well already that I am out of one or two designs already. I have ordered more which should be here by next Wednesday. If you would like to order some just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org