Category Archives: Education

The price of fish!

As part of Scotland’s Festival of Museums, the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther showcased work by Fife artists and craft makers on Saturday 16th May 2015. The event ‘Silver in the Shadows’ invited visitors to explore the museum following a treasure trail of artists work inspired by the fishing villages and coast line of East Neuk.

I was invited to show a small collection of shawls and scarves. These were wrapped around the shoulders of the ‘herring lassies’ and on a washing line above a window.

See what you think! It was great fun and lovely to meet so many people. It’s a fascinating museum and one I highly recommend you should visit.

Click on the images below to enlarge.

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‘Meet Your Maker’ Event – Cambo Estate, Fife.


I am taking part in the Craft Scotland / Cambo Estate, ‘Meet Your Maker’ event this Sunday, (22nd March 2015), along with 5 other craft makers. See the link –

Come along if you can. I’ll be demonstrating weaving on a 4 shaft table loom and you can have a go for yourself. Also includes pop-in weaving activities for children.

It should be lots of fun. Why not come along and say hello!

Meet Your Maker at the Haining, Selkirk, Scottish Borders. 8th – 11th August 2014.

Thank you to every body who came to visit me at the Meet Your Maker Event at the Haining, over the weekend. It was lovely to see so many enthusiastic people wanting to learn to weave! The youngest was 2 years and 9 months ( helped by her aunt!) and the oldest used to work in the Selkirk woollen mills many years ago. It was lovely to meet you all. Here are a few memories of the weekend.


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Craft Scotland: Meet Your Maker 2014

Submissions open for Meet Your Maker Venues

I am taking part in the 2014 -15 Craft Scotland series of ‘Meet Your Maker events around Scotland. This year you can come and visit me at the Haining, near Selkirk in the Scottish Borders this weekend, between Friday 8th and Monday 11st August.

Do come along if you can and I will look forward to meeting you.

Textures Conference, St Andrews University.

I was recently asked to run a weaving workshop as part of a one day conference on Texture. This was run by two PHD students in the English Department at St Andrews University.

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Several academics from different universities around the UK were invited to give talks about how texture crosses boundaries and weaves people together. The conference explored the relationship between the written word (or text), poetry, film, textiles and how the digital world conveys texture. It was a fascinating day and made me consider my own design work from a completely different perspective.

There were many inspiring talks, but these are a few that stood out for me:

Dr Frank Ferguson (University of Ulster), gave a talk about the poet John Hewitt who wrote poetry about the rhyming weavers of Antrim and County Down. He described how words have texture to them, that can ‘make things better’. They have an honesty to them, weaving peoples lives together.

Dr Rachel Dickinson (Manchester Metropolitan University), talked about ‘The Eternal Harmony of Warp & Woof: Ruskin, Weaving & Social Harmony. Ruskin’s ethical aesthetics of textiles which talked of educating the mill weavers, giving them proper housing and fair wages, which in turn would result in beautiful products that gave the weaver a sense of pride, pleasure and moral lesson.  Ruskin felt that people needed to be entwined to learn from each other.

Dr Lucy Donaldson (University of Bristol), gave a talk about how the film industry creates texture in sound and image.

Lucie Hazelgrove-Planel (University of St Andrews) gave a talk entitled ‘Pacific Island weaving knowledge in the digital age’. She explained how an online museum had been set up to record woven patterns used by weavers who made mats from plants.  This included a description of pattern and texture and how they related to different festivals. A fascinating record of information, but most islanders did not have access to the internet.

My workshop, introduced the physical texture of textiles. I demonstrated weaving on a 4 shaft table loom and encouraged participants to have a go for themselves. I talked about how texture can be made by chose of yarn, pattern and how the cloth is finished.

It was an absorbing day and we all learnt something new from each other, just as Ruskin had said we needed to do to develop further.

So much food for thought!

Weaving a school community together.

During January and early February this year I went into Tayport Primary School in Fife to carry out a whole school weaving project. Each class wove something different from primary 1 to primary 7. This included 11 classes with children aged between 5 and 11 years old. Each pupil also had the opportunity to weave on a four shaft table loom contributing to 2 school scarves. We all had so much fun. The children learnt a little about the history of weaving in Fife, about child labour in the Dundee jute mills and how children are still employed in the textile industry around the world today. We had some fascinating conversations! Each class activity included using as many recycled materials as possible, including cardboard looms, old clothes and household fabrics, ribbons, wrapping paper, plastic bags and even cutting up an old leather handbag! It was a real joy to work with such enthusiastic children.

Here are some photographs of some of the things we made.

'Weaving our school community together'.

‘Weaving our school community together’.

Willow flowers.

Willow flowers.

First scarf woven on the table loom.

First scarf woven on the table loom.

Second scarf woven on the table loom.

Second scarf woven on the table loom.

Dancing figures

Dancing figures

Woven shields linking in with the class project on Magic Castles.

Woven shields linking in with the class project on Magic Castles.

Kilted teddies going for a picnic in the woods!

Kilted teddies going for a picnic in the woods!

Clothes on a washing line.

Clothes on a washing line.

Weaving clothes and a rag rug.

Weaving clothes and a rag rug.

Countryside Crafts: Teacher’s Resource Pack

Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) and the Heritage Crafts Association have come together to produce a teachers resource pack on six different countryside crafts. My woven clothes project for children between 7-12 years was chosen to represent weaving. (I blogged about this back in June when Simon Chaplan came up to take photographs). This resource is about to be launched on the FACE website, and will I understand, be accessible on the schools pages. There will be lots of information about each of the crafts and their connections to farming and the countryside, as well as a profile of each maker. Individual activities include step by step instructions, with lots of photographs of each stage. Links are also shown to different areas of the national curriculum.

My activity is called ‘How clothes are made’. I talk about the different fibres from the British countryside and how these have been used historically in making fabrics in the UK, as well as new future resources, such as yarns made from milk! If you are a teacher or someone just interested in weaving, I recommend the FACE website for lots of information and inspiring ideas that link children to the countryside around them.

Photograph by Simon Chaplan

Photograph by Simon Chaplan

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Photographs of weaving activities for 7 -12 year olds.


‘Meet Your Maker’ event photographs.

I have just completed the Craft Scotland’s ‘ Meet Your Maker ‘ weekend in St Andrews Museum. It was great fun meeting people of all ages and showing them how to weave on a table loom. I shared the space with Sean and Christine from Butter Wynd Pottery who make beautiful pots and plates from local Fife clay. I learnt a thing or two about pottery making as well! It was a great opportunity to share our craft skills. Here are a few photographs of the weekend’s events.

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