Tree projects

At the end of April I’m an invited artist at the Centre for Stewardship Falkland for this year’s Open Studios North Fife. My friend Tess Darwin is joining me, we’ll be based in the Stables Information Hub on Sat 29th April and in the Stables Craft Hub on Sun 30th and Mon 1st May. 

Over the winter we’ve both been working on personal projects inspired by the woodlands and plants of Falkland Estate and we are looking forward to showing some of our finished work. We’ll also be demonstrating how we use our materials and will be happy to talk about our processes – and all things woodland of course. Tess is a City and Guilds qualified textile artist and dedicated journal-keeper. I’m hoping she might bring some of her journals and experimental pieces with her, they are beautiful artworks in their own right.

Here are some examples of Tess’s work-in-progress…


My baskets/pods are dark and wintery in comparison. Between us I think we have four seasons!

            

I’m still working on some interesting construction challenges with those Monkey Puzzle leaves…


www.openstudiosfife.co.uk

Folk arts in Fife


At the end of January I started a new contract with the Fife Folk Museum in Ceres. I’m co-ordinating their Heritage Arts Hub activities over the next ten months, a programme funded by Young Start and the Robertson Trust. So I get to immerse myself in the Museum’s collection and work with its dedicated volunteer team and Trustees to invent events! Fab.

I’ve been visiting the Museum for many years and last year curated an exhibition with the Woolly Tree Gang, showcasing their project work since their origins in 2012. We did quite a bit of research in the Museum for the Living Lomonds Crafts of the Hills project in 2014 and the Gang made some lovely work inspired by the collection – including several rag-rugs. This theme continues, as Museum volunteers Sue and Alison found another five rag-rugs for me to look at on Monday.


I had a closer look at this ‘half-moon’ rug, a very shaggy, slightly wonky design containing lots of tartan fabric. The Museum record card describes it as ‘a “d” shaped rag rug for in front of the fire’, donated in 2003 by Jennie Simmons of Cambo. We’d love to know more. Did she make it? If not, who did? How old is it? What were the pieces of fabric before they were cut and hooked into the hessian? Old kilts? Ladies country-dancing skirts? 


Here are some close-ups:


We’ll carry on with the ‘fabric forensics’ and see what else we can find out. Offers of help welcome. 

I’m planning rag-rug related activities for later in the season, keep an eye on my blog, the Museum’s website and social media for information about these and other Heritage Arts Hub events. The Museum opens on 1st April, the Cafe is open all year, every day except Mondays.

www.fifefolkmuseum.org

Alder-wrestling

The Falkland alder basket is nearly finished and I can’t say it’s been a pleasure. The twigs twist and turn, the little purple buds snag the thread and ping off without warning. But what beautiful colours in the bark and the scent is nearly as sweet as birch.