Here are some of my recent projects. Each one has its own gallery - swipe along to see the project and its inspiration.
DAY - TIME PROGRESSION
Exploring the progression of day time (sunrise to sunset) through a full year in Blonduos, Iceland and Oban, Scotland.
Inspired by my experience of changing daylength at home in Oban on the west coast of Scotland, and while on extended Residency periods in Blonduos, Northwest Iceland.
I recorded sunrise and sunset times in the two places every day for a year, starting at the winter solstice.
I set up a large natural indigo dyeing vat and dyed Shetland wool 2-ply jumperweight yarn and Istex Einband Icelandic wool yarn. Some of each type of yarn was natural white and some was natural light grey. I deliberately dyed a range of shades of blue to add some variety to the piece.
Taking 12 o'clock midday as a fixed point I calculated the number of minutes between sunrise and sunset in each place for every day.
The scale is two rows per day, and one stitch per four minutes.
As I knitted I used double Shetland wool when the sun was only up in Oban, double Icelandic wool when the sun was only up in Blonduos, and one strand of each when the sun was up in both places. I inserted a vertical marker line indicating 12 o'clock midday and contrasting marker lines at sunrise and sunset times. For the 40-day period around mid summer when the sun sets after midnight in Blonduos I inserted a black vertical marker line indicating midnight.
CELTIC ALPHABET TREES IN THEIR TRUE COLOURS
Linking indigenous languages and natural colours, this project depicts the Celtic alphabet and the trees associated with it. The association comes from the Ogham language, a precursor of Gaelic, where (we believe) each of the 18 letters was named for a tree as a teaching aid.
I dyed wool fabric and yarn with part of each of the 18 trees. Some were not easy to find, and there is debate about the translation of some of the tree names, but eventually we had collected all 18. With a group of volunteers helping to cut and stitch leaf shapes we made around 90 large leaves. One side of each leaf has the Ogham character or letter, the other side was the stitcher's choice of design. We hung the leaves on a beautiful piece of ivy driftwood contributed by Sheila Quillin, one of the volunteers.
This piece was one part of the EcoCreatives: Nurturing Creativity project supported by The Rockfield Centre, Oban and funded by Creative Scotland. In parallel, artist Thomas Keyes led two community workshops where the Celtic alphabet was illuminated in Insular style using deer parchment and natural pigments. Curator Naoko Mabon facilitated a series of Artist Conversations on line with global artists using natural pigments (recordings available on The Rockfield Centre website).
After a two-month exhibition with explanatory texts, materials displays etc., the Celtic Alphabet Trees piece now has a permanent home hanging in The Rockfield Centre, Oban.
Inspired by Icelandic turf buildings. Constructed directly from the landscape since the time of the Settlement of Iceland, this was the main type of building until the mid 20th century. When they are abandoned, the buildings slowly return to the landscape leaving little or no trace.
I knitted individual blocks from unspun Icelandic wool, then lightly needlefelted them before joining them in patterns reminiscent of the ways the turf blocks are laid in traditional building styles. Intended as a wall piece, I wanted to see whether it could also be worn as a coat, complete with a hood echoing the grass roof.
The completed piece was photographed at Glaumbaer Turf Farm Museum in Skagafjordur, North West Iceland. Photos of the coat being modelled were taken beside The Icelandic Textile Centre in Blonduos.
Work compoleted during a Residency at Textilmidstod, (The Icelandic Textile Centre) in Blonduos, North West Iceland, November 2021.
NOVEMBER SKIES; BLONDUOS
Representing the changing colours of the sky over Blonduos throughout November. Every day I recorded the colours between 12 and 20 times, before translating them into this handknitted piece. One horizontal ridge represents each day.
Hunafloi is the name of the large bay in Northwest Iceland between Vatsnes and Skagi peninsulas. The studio in the Icelandic Textile Centre looks northwards over Hunafloi. I used 12 colours and a repeating wave motif to capture the colours of the sea.
Inspired by Icelandic columnar basalt rock formations as seen at Kalfshamarsvik, near the tip of the Skagi peninsula. Hand knitted in handspun undyed and naturally dyed Icelandic wool from a nearby farm.