On Monday this week, eight members of the Forth team from Scottish Natural Heritage joined me at The Steeple for a creative away-day. They swapped keyboards and screens for plants and beeswax, linen thread and needles and each went home with a unique stitched basket.
My heap of basket-making materials was supplemented by armfuls of useful bendy plants, harvested specially by SNH staff at Tentsmuir. I explained how these could be used, demonstrated the first stage of fiddly needle and thread work and the group got started. They picked up the process quickly, and we could see early on that there were going to be eight very different baskets.
I was very impressed with everyone’s willingness to experiment and improvise. By the afternoon there was a fine mess on the tables too, always a good sign. Here are the lovely finished baskets and their makers…
Here’s a list of the materials we used, collected with minimum (and some positive) impact on the environment:
Largo Bay is the big bite out of the south coast of Fife, between Methil and Elie. It is our nearest long beach with dunes, only 40 minutes drive from home over the Cults Hills. Last week I explored the east end of the Bay around Ruddons Point and enjoyed wild weather and big skies while on the hunt for interesting materials.
The dunes have been battered by high seas this winter, eroding a small sand cliff round the Bay. I picked up a tangle of washed-out lyme and marram grass roots from the tideline, strong stuff when I tried to pull it apart. It made six feet of rough rope. I stitched it into a small basket with a particular purpose in mind (more on that in a future post).