Archive for November, 2012

On the Easel – Mon 26th Nov 2012

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Dying the Wool - Frottee

This is the start of the second painting in my Harris Tweed Heritage project. The objective is to create a series of paintings capturing the heritage processes used in the creation of Harris Tweed. This painting is called “Dyeing the Wool“, it’s oil on canvas, 28 x 22 inches – Work in Progress.

This painting will be part on my next solo exhibition at the Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh (June 1st to June 8th 2013). I’m also working on a couple of private portrait commissions at the moment so posting may be a little sporadic for the next couple of months.

Background Info

Once the sheep had been sheared, the first process in producing Harris Tweed was to dye the wool. The fleeces were dyed using an variety of natural materials from the surrounding land depending on what colour was sought for the wool. Flowers and roots such as Iris, Water Lilly, Nettles, Heather and Ferns;  Yellow, Black and White Crotal (course Lichen) scrapped from the rocks, Old Man’s Beard, Seaweed, Peat Soot kept from the chimneys in the croft. The wool would be dyed in a big cast iron pot over a peat fire kept boiling continuously until the desired colour was achieved. Some of the old recipes are fascinating and the dyes truly put the colour of the land into the wool.

The backdrop for the painting is Loch Plockropool on the Isle of Harris. This is the same spot where Marion Campbell used to do her dyeing and in fact that is Marion’s old dye pot in the painting. Thanks to Catherine Campbell for allowing the use of her aunt Marion’s artefacts, you can find out more about Marion here http://harristweedandknitwear.co.uk/family.html and there is a lovely little book about her life written by Gisela Vogler called “A Harris Way of Life”.

The models is Kim. Costume is by Nicola Ellis.

Thanks to Kathy and the staff at the Carloway Mills for supplying Tweed and Wool.

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On the Easel – Sun 18th Nov 2012

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

The Waulking - Frottee

This is the start of the first painting in my Harris Tweed Heritage project. The ojective is to create a series of paintings capturing the heritage processes used in the creation of Harris Tweed. This painting is called “The Waulking“, it’s oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches – Work in Progress.

This painting will be part on my next solo exhibition at the Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh (June 1st to June 8th 2013). I’m also working on a couple of private portrait commissions at the moment so posting may be a little sporadic for the next couple of months.

Background Info

Waulking was the final stage in producing the Harris Tweed. When the weaving was completed the web taken from the loom was greasy, tough and hard, so it had to be softened and thickened by “waulking” (working the cloth). During this process the tweed tightens and shrinks by a couple of inches. The girls of a village would help each other with the job and although the work was arduous, it was a great social event. The tweed would be cleaned in warm soapy water and the door of a house would often be used as a waulking board with the girls seated on either side working the cloth back and forward. Waulking songs were used to maintain a rhythmic process and as a measure of time. A leader would sing songs in Gaelic with the chorus sung by the waulking team. The process for a length of tweed would normally take a couple of hours to get the required shrinkage and thickening of the cloth.

The backdrop for the painting is the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village at Carloway, Isle of Lewis. A beautiful and fascinating place to stay and visit, many thanks to Mairi and all the staff there. (You can find more information about this unique place here;
http://www.gearrannan.com/)

The models are; the Harris Girls (Shona, Kayleigh, Nanan & Kirsten), the amazing Amy from Lewis who orchestrated the girls waulking and singing and Tracey & Kim. Costume research and design is by Nicola Ellis.

Thanks to Kathy and the staff at the Carloway Mills for supplying Tweed, Wool and access to the mill and Lorna from the Harris Tweed Authority.

Thanks also to Catherine Campbell for all her help and support with the project and access to her aunt Marion Campbell’s artefacts, such as dye pot, spinning wheel etc, you can find out more about Marion here http://harristweedandknitwear.co.uk/family.html and there is a lovely little book about her life written by Gisela Vogler called “A Harris Way of Life”.

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Postcards for Sick Kids 2012

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Herring Lassie Postcard

This is the little 8 x 6 inch oil painting I donated for the Sick Kids fundraiser. I’m delighted to say it sold last night (the first one to sell I believe!) Thanks to whoever bought it for such a good cause. There are still many lovely paintings available and the exhibition runs at Lyon & Turnbull until Sunday. There are 248 works by different artists anonymously on display.

You can find more about this fund raising exhibition here:

http://www.edinburghsickkids.org/press-and-news/news-archive/postcards-for-sick-kids-2012.html

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