Sunday, 28 November 2010

Tapestries to die for.....

Every so often I find something textiley here that takes my breath away.  A couple of weeks ago I went over to Great Bernera on the West Side of Lewis to meet a weaver - Sallie Tyszko who has a studio "Driftwater Weaves". .  Sallie moved to Tobson from the Highlands a couple of years ago and brought her skills in tapestry weaving.

To start with, she has these amazing Angora goats - gorgeous and curly, they look right at home in the rocky landscape and their fibre is shiny and smooth, like short silk.  Sallie is also a hand-spinner but is busy making new tapestries so she asked me if I could do a bit of Angora for her.  In past years I've spun cashmere from goats, but this is something quite, quite different.  Will post up some piccies when I've really got going.

Above is one of Sallie's looms - this one an upright tapestry loom which is more comfortable to work with as the weaver doesn't have to bend down all the time.  There is a work in progress of some shilisdair (flags).  Sallie is a talented artist too, and makes sketches and paintings to base here tapestries on.  She dyes up all the colours she needs and is trying to use as much hand-spuns as is possible - which is great for me!

The tapestry above is a finished work based on a scene where she once lived on the Black Isle.  the driftwood framing is charming and so well-suited to the work.  You need to see the tapestries up close to appreciate the variety of textures and shades used.

The work below is simply stunning.  It's woven on transparent fishing line for warp and is sparkly and very dramatic.  The beads really do look like air bubbles.

I would advise adding Sallie to your itinerary if you are heading towards the Western Isles next year - her studio is a treasure trove of colour and texture, works in progress and finished pieces decorating the walls.

Meantime, we, like the rest of the UK are experiencing unseasonal snowy and very cold conditions.  Looks great but is proving a bit of a problem to get around.  For once I had stocked up early on road salt, de-icer and screenwash so have been congratulating myself since. 

If you are going out this weekend, please take care.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Spotted in Tokyo...

Well, after two weeks scouring the shopping malls of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka (yes, a tough job but someone has to do it!), when I got back to Scalpay on Friday I had seen only one item of Harris Tweed.  That was a natty pea-green jacket worn by a Japanese gentleman who was in the queue with us waiting to get into the annual exhibition at Nara. 
However, my spy in the east has sent me the photo below of a display in a shop called Beautiful and Young United Arrows.

Lots on the agenda now I'm back.  Some hand-looms to set up, some special spinning, some new linen..
Today we packed up the wool clip ready to be collected by lorry tomorrow, so its good to see the back of all that!