It all starts…

…with the sheep and the grass (Yarn, 2016) (or the goats, cotton, flax, silk… or any fiber that can be spun into a yarn.)

The story of textiles really begins with the fiber that makes the yarn or thread to then knit, crochet, weave or construct with. I am starting to understand the deeper meaning of the process and story behind textiles and where it all starts. Specifically and importantly to link in with my own roots and identify where it all starts in Scotland. During a conversation about textiles and the history, Chris a textile designer based on the  Island of Lewis said… ‘using fiber to create yarn is how we survive’. Expressing the importance of textiles in everyday life and its deep routed history in the survival of humans.

‘Most of us are very distant from its (textiles) production, and the magic of cloth making has thus, for the most part, become invisible; few who have not witnessed the laborious processes and multiple steps that go into making even the simplest of cloth realise what treasures they may be wearing or holding in their hands.’ from ‘Textiles the whole Story’ by Beverly Gordon.

I a currently on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides as part of a SGSAH PhD Internship with An Lanntair, the local arts center here. An Lanntair (the Lantern in English) is a great space in the heart of the community engaging many of the residents and visitors in making and appreciation of all kinds of art forms from music, to weaving to the theatre.

Within my internship, I am looking at how making through my PhD in Sonic Textiles can integrate into some of the activities within An Lanntair and their Arora (Dementia Friendly Community) project. This project is very special as it works across the Outer Hebrides with those living with dementia, artists, makers, musicians, carers, and volunteers.

I have the privilege of working with all of those involved in the project, learning from their craft, the island culture and how they engage with the wider community.

So far I have been inspired by An Lanntairs Exhibition showcasing the work of Lois Walpole, the beautiful scenes of Stornoway and Lewis and the rich making traditions/skills of the creative people all over the island.

Read more on the An Lanntair Dementia Friendly Community blog here: 

You can follow along with the photos from my trip here:





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